Yesterday, your baby didn’t want to get out of the bath.
He splashed around, giggling and having a wonderful time. Today, he doesn’t want to get in the bath. He screams, writhes and clings to you. You frantically search the room. Nothing’s changed. It’s the same bath, same time of day, same routine. But, for some reason your baby seems to think you want to drown him.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
It’s common for babies to develop a fear of water. They might not like getting water on their face, or soap in their eyes. They could be afraid of the drain, and worried that they’ll be sucked down along with the water. The water might be too hot, or too cold. Or it could be just because they don’t like it.
Regardless of the reason, you can help put the joy back into bath time for your bub. Try to resist forcing them into the water. Instead be patient, encourage small steps and be sure to reward their efforts.
What’s spooked them?
You might not find a reason, but it’s worth thinking about what might have caused the fear. Was there an accident in the bath? Did they slip under the water? Did they get shampoo in their eyes?
Pinpointing where the fear is coming from will help you combat it. For example:
- Fear of the drain: try taking them out of the bath before pulling the plug.
- Shampoo in the eyes: try changing brands, letting them wear goggles or putting a picture on the ceiling to encourage them to look up.
- Fear of slipping under the water: try a non-slip mat or a baby bath seat.
Take Time Out
Let’s face it, babies don’t really get dirty so a few days away from the bath won’t hurt them. A short break might be all your baby needs to feel comfortable again. If not, try easing them back into bath time fun.
Start by putting your baby into the bath while it’s empty. Fill some cups and bowls with water and let your child play with them. Once bub is comfortable, put the plug in and add a tiny bit of water.
If your partner is available, hop into the bath with your baby. You’ll get your bath time chores out of the way, and your baby will feel secure on your lap.
If help is not on hand, put your baby bath into the tub. The smaller space might be all your baby needs to feel more comfortable.