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Like most parents, when I first bathed my son I was very nervous and worried that he would slip out of my hands as I was all fingers and thumbs. My Health Visitor told me about the Tummy Tub as she had used it to bathe her children when they were young babies. Bathing a young baby can be very fiddly and I just didn't seem to have enough hands, so I ordered the Tummy Tub from Mothercare and it cost £19.99.
The Tummy Tub looks like a bucket and is a unique womb shaped clear tub, which helps your baby to relax and be calm in the familiar foetal position. As the surface area of the bath is small, the surrounding water keeps your baby warmer for longer. The Tummy Tub can also help to make your baby feel confident and secure.
The Tummy Tub has a 13cm / 5inch water mark and the water should come up to your baby's chest. If your baby is very young, for the first few weeks it is recommended that you increase the level of water so that your baby's shoulders are covered. All you need to do is adjust the level of water depending on the weight of your baby. If you baby is bigger, reduced the amount of water in the Tummy Tub.
I started using the Tummy Tub when my son was 6 weeks old and initially found the bath to be very useful. At first my son didn't know what to make of it and kept on straightening his legs and trying to stand when he first when in the bath, but after a few days he started to lift his legs before going in. I felt confident bathing my son and at no time did I feel that he was going to slip under the water. As he was sitting in the foetal position with water up to his chest he was very contented and relaxed in his bath and would often start sucking his fingers as soon as he got in. I suppose it reminded him of being in the womb and he felt safe! Washing him was easy - I had one hand under his armpit and as he was sitting upright it allowed me to wash him with my other hand.
I find leaning over the bath can be uncomfortable when bathing my son, however using the Tummy Tub isn't a strain on your back as there is no bending involved. There is a plastic stand available to buy which lifts the Tummy Tub about 0.5 meters above the floor if you prefer you baby to be higher up
The Tummy Tub was originally designed to be used from birth to 6 months old, with some people using it for a longer period, but unfortunately when my son turned 4 months old he became too big for his Tummy Tub. He is average size for his age and not a big baby and at 4 months he was around 14lb. When in the bath he liked to lift his legs up and kick about a lot and the Tummy Tub became was too restrictive. He would end up getting his legs up in front of him and I would constantly have to put him back in the 'sitting' position otherwise he would sink to the water level and end up swallowing a mouthful of bath water.
Also, babies love to play in the bath but as there is restricted space there isn't even room for a small rubber duck in the bath! Bath time is supposed to be fun, but it is boring with the Tummy Tub as there is no room to play and splash.
In my opinion, I would say that the Tummy Tub is not an essential item that's needed, however it does make bathing a very young baby a lot easier. It enables you to wash your baby with one hand; the baby will stay warmer for longer as the water surrounds the baby's chest and babies like the Tummy Tub, as they feel relaxed sitting in the foetal position. The biggest disappointment is that my son outgrew the bath at 4 months old and he was a little cramped in the bath and unable to kick his legs. At £19.99 it is not expensive and even though he is no longer in his bath, I do find it useful as a storage box and store most of his little toys in it.
For more information, please visit www.tummytub.co.uk