How Can I Get My Baby to Like Baths?

June 14, 2019 0 Comments

How Can I Get My Baby to Like Baths?

The bath time can be challenging because of the baby’s fear of the water. It’s especially the case with newborns because they feel the environment and experience is out of control. It’s all a new experience and full of uncertainty which is why they’re afraid of the bath.

Good news is that you can help your baby overcome that fear and make the transition smooth and easy. Below we’ll discuss proven tips on how to accomplish that and discuss other things about hygiene. The key here is to make your child feel safe and make the transition smooth and natural.

Help your child feel safe

The feeling of floating could be really scary to your newborn. It’s similar to the experience of teenagers and adults being taught how to swim for the first time. It’s a new environment and experience but fear often comes along with that. When it’s bath time, your baby’s brain and body might instantly recognise that the tub filled with water is “not safe so it’s best to stay away.”

To help your child get rid of that fear and feel some level of safety, it’s best to stay gentle and help him/her feel calm and safe (e.g. keeping your hand on your child’s tummy). This way your newborn will feel secure because he/she feels that you’re always there and you won’t let him/her go. Another way to help your child feel safe and secure is to establish a routine. This routine may include singing a bath song or reciting a popular rhyme while drying your child in a towel. Setting expectations and making it predictable often result to a better level of security.

For newborns

To help your child feel safer during bath time and make the transition a bit smoother, here are some practical tips being used by mums:

  • Maintain eye contact with your newborn (this is important for his/her feeling of safety and assurance)
  • Talk to your baby and explain what’s happening (and what will happen) during bath time to help him/her feel at ease
  • Check the water whether it’s close to body temperature (huge and sudden changes in temperature might frighten your child)
  • Use a small baby bath (small tub meant for younger babies, could be contoured or with a removable mesh or sling)

For older babies and toddlers

Older babies and toddlers can still get scared of the baths. Here are some ways to help them get used to bath time (and perhaps make the experience an enjoyable and pleasurable one):

  • Start with letting your child sit in the empty tub (slowly add water if you notice that he/she already gets used to this new setup)
  • In the big bath you can put your child on your lap or between your legs so he/she feels safe and secure with you
  • Put a nonslip mat on the bottom of the bath to get rid of your child’s fear of sliding
  • Take your child out of the bathroom first before draining the tub (the sound and appearance of draining water might scare your child)
  • You can also try showering with your child (the water should be spraying away from her) if baths don’t just work

About safety during bath time

While your baby or toddler is having a bath, it’s important to be there with him/her always to help ensure your child’s safety. Everything should be prepared already (towel, soap, shampoo, diaper) before the actual bath time so that there’s no need to leave him/her even for just a bit. Never leave your baby for a moment and if you must leave the bathroom (the doorbell rings or there’s a phone call), you must put your baby in a towel and take your baby with you.

For more information about safety during bath time, you can read this article.

Making bath time a fun experience

One sure way to get rid of the fear is to make the experience a fun one. Bath time is not just a task to be done but also a unique experience (you won’t do this forever) that you can treasure for a lifetime. Some ways to make bath time fun are:

  • Use special and colourful toys for bath time
  • Let the older siblings set an example by putting the younger one and the older one/s together during bath time (i.e. the younger one will see that his/her older brother/sister is enjoying the bath)
  • Bath time can also be a time for playing games, reading stories and singing songs (it’s also a great way to distract your baby)

If everything above still doesn’t work, perhaps you can just change the time of day you bath your child. The morning might work because babies still feel fresh (they’re not yet tired or feeling cranky). A small shift in schedule or routine might just do the trick.

Bath time should not always be that challenging. You can transform it into an enjoyable experience (and perhaps make it worth your Instagram stories). You won’t do this forever with your child so it’s just important to make it count.