Friday, June 4, 2010

A Guide to TummyTub® Across the Ages

We often chuckle when parents tell us their 6 month old is too big for the TummyTub®.  It's not that the concern isn't valid, it's just that we know firsthand that it is simply impossible!  Some may look at the TummyTub® and not believe it could hold a preemie and still fit a toddler, but the design was created to grow with the child.

Here's a look at how TummyTub can be used at different ages:

Preemie/Newborn:  TummyTub is highly recommend for premature babies and is used in NICUs worldwide! The therapeutic benefits are undisputed in that it mimics the womb and recreates that experience which is soothing and a great stress reliever for preemies and newborns.  The TummyTub is used in many hospitals as the first bath a baby ever receives because it is proven to be a better alternative to the standard hospital bath which raises heart rate and breathing patterns.  The goal is to relax the newborn and eliminate stress and only the TummyTub can accomplish this!  Because newborns do not get dirty, bathing is mainly for relaxation, calming, and also bonding with the parents.  Babies of this age often fall asleep while in the TummyTub.  Experts tell us that it is safe to bathe the baby even when the umbilical cord is still attached. Some midwives recommend using an herbal bath tea or a blend of almond oil and sea salt to promote healing of the umbilical cord and/or circumcision.  Pictures & Video of this age group.

Infant (up to 6 months):  The therapeutic benefits of the TummyTub are applicable from birth to 6 months.  These include easing colic and indigestion, relieving nighttime fussiness, and calming baby by recreating the womb environment.  Babies absolutely adore it and often suck on their parents finger and drift off into space remembering their previous watery home!  By 12-16 weeks, babies have more neck control and can support themselves better against the sides of the tub.  This gives parents two hands free for washing.  As babies grow they have plenty of room to splash and play while being bathed. Some babies as young as 2-3 months try to stand in the TummyTub due to the buoyancy of the water.  This is normal and not a bad thing--studies in the Netherlands show that TummyTub babies often develop early motor skills.  Babies can gently be seated when serious bath time needs to begin. Pictures & Video of this age group.

Older Baby (6-12 months) :  Here the real fun begins!  Memories of the womb have faded, and at this age babies are learning new skills.  At this time the standard flat infant tubs need to be stored away because the baby will not lie down anymore....not so with the TummyTub!  Because babies are learning to sit, being upright is a happy experience for them.  The support of the walls keeps babies secure, but they are also able to maintain their new posture.  You'll get lots of giggles and splashing at this age.  Bathing is fun because baby keeps warm for longer and can enjoy bath time instead of it being a dreaded chore parents rush through.  We encourage play time for about 10-15 minutes followed by washing.  The only protest will come in the form of not wanting to get out of the tub!  No need to buy one of those cheap bath rings (more accidents occur in the bath ring than any other type of tub), TummyTub will work the entire first year. Pictures & Video of this age group.

1 Year Olds: Although most one year olds can safely go in the adult tub with supervision, it can be overwhelming and scary to some.  Oftentimes toddlers will really enjoy transitioning to the big tub, but then all of a sudden develop a fear of the bath. The TummyTub is small and cozy, not big and scary.  It is very calming to little tykes.  They may not use it for every bath, but it can be a great relief during sickness (try some eucalyptus or lavender oil), diaper rash, or frightening moments.  Toddlers can sit and stand for washing, so there is plenty of room to get clean.  They can splash and play and stay warm, just like an adult in a hot tub!  You are also using such a small amount of water that it's a wonderful green choice.  Parents can put the TummyTub in the shower and get clean at the same time their tot is or put it in the big tub with older siblings. Just because your baby turns 1, does not mean you need to get rid of the TummyTub!  Pictures & Video of this age group.

2 Year Olds: Amazing, but true...TummyTub can hold 2 year olds safely up to 35 pounds!  At this age, children may become attached to their tub, just like a beloved blanket or pacifier. You may see them carrying it around the house and playing with it.  They enjoy getting in and out by themselves and like to practice washing  in their tub.  There are many toddler games little ones can play at this age.  Just give them a rubber toy or some bath toys and see what they come up with!  You can take the tub outside for some water play time as well.  Pictures & Video of this age group.

Ages 3+ : Although we have seen older children actually wedge themselves into the TummyTub (my 4 & 6 year old sons for example!), by this age bathing in it is pretty impractical.  However, the TummyTub can be used for water games and imaginary play.  Many a child has played astronaut with it!  It can also be used to store toys.

Adults: There are many secondary uses for the TummyTub around the house.  We have seen so many interesting ways to use it, that we'll have to have a contest for most creative some day!  Here are some great ideas: planter, ice bucket, herbal foot soak, bucket to wash your car, bath toy storage, other types of storage, use to water your garden, flip it upside down and use as a pedestal for your drink, toddler water games, imaginary play, and the list goes on!  The value of the TummyTub is incredible and it is one baby tub that won't end up in storage or a landfill!

Moral of the story- Just because you think your child may be too big for the TummyTub, doesn't necessarily mean it's true.  Take your child's lead and go by his reaction to being in the tub.  If your toddler does not enjoy the TummyTub, put it away and see what he does with it in a few weeks. You might be very surprised!

Warning: Babies and toddlers require alert adult supervision at all times in the TummyTub and every other tub...regardless of age!


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