I am sad to even be writing this post, yet it’s a subject which does, apparently, need to be discussed: is it wrong for dads to share a bath with their baby?
When our daughters were tiny, I loved nothing more than to get in the tub with them. I’d strip them off and settle them against my chest, and my hubby and I would marvel at how tiny they were. I’d look in the mirror and be in awe of how perfectly they’d fit in the hollow between my breasts, their little head laid against my sternum and their legs splayed across my middle. Those squishy little baby bottoms are divine peachiness.
Any parent who has held their newborn, naked and tucked up under their chin, will know this wonder and deliciousness.
We have a few treasured photos of these exquisite occasions: special, private memories just for us, captured from those beautifully novel days.
Of course, it was only natural for me to suggest my husband may enjoy taking part, rather than simply being the photographer/a bystander – I wouldn’t attempt this without him for fear of dropping our delicate newborns when entering or exiting the water!
But on each of the many times I asked him, he declined.
And I still find it overwhelmingly sad that he missed out on this precious rite of passage. Not least because of his reason.
Is It Weird for Dads to Bathe With Their Babies?
If you’ve not already guessed, my husband chose to forgo these lovely bonding moments with both his baby girls because of perceived connotations. The prevalence of child abuse in our society gave rise to him deeming it inappropriate; or made him uncomfortable at least.
I am still incredibly wistful, for his sake, of the magic he didn’t get to share in the same way I did. Sure, he cooed over their perfect naked forms with me, and took his turn holding their little bodies on his own chest. He was very up for indulging in skin to skin in those first weeks too.
He just wouldn’t share a bath with them.
In the privacy of our own home, away from prying eyes and judgements – still he felt it wasn’t right.
So, Is It Wrong for Dads to Share a Bath With Their Baby?
Child abuse is an abhorrent scourge on humanity, of course it is. But am I alone in feeling that this level of permeation is robbing some overly-sensitive fathers of one of the most cherishable experiences they could share with their child?
Don’t they have just as much right as us mums to rejoice in the profound beauty of their newborn’s nakedness, and immerse themselves in that moving experience? Why should they stop short of taking their adored baby into the tub? What difference does it make?
For me, there’s actually an irony to this tragedy: in avoiding the merest suggestion of wrongdoing, the innocence is removed from an otherwise pure intention. Those doting fathers who prove no threat are some of the very ones forfeiting a privilege of parenthood – in the name of wicked, immoral monsters.
What a great pity that is.
Dads, do you/have you/would you share a bath with your newborn? At what age do you feel it becomes inappropriate? And mums, have your husbands/partners also shown reluctance?