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Why does my baby hate taking a bath???

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello, mamas!

My DD is 3 months and ever since she has been a newborn, she has HATED bath time. She just screams and wants to get out. We've tried doing it when she was more alert, and that helps a little bit, but not much. We've tried getting in with her to make it better, but she still screams. We've tried distracting her with toys, but that hasn't worked either. We sing to her, play with her, and make silly faces. But no. She still hates bath time.

I'm so confused about what to do. I can't stand that she just screams every time we give her a bath.

Do any experienced mamas have any advice for me?
post #2 of 19
is the water warm enough? we made the water too cold when we first started and he HATED it!!!
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
yeah the water is really warm actually... sometimes i think TOO warm, but when we first put her in it, she doesn't react (flinch or show any signs that the water is too warm or too cold)
post #4 of 19
My ds stopped crying as soon as we pre-steamed the bathroom up. Maybe it's too cold outside the water? Wash and dry her head and face before totally undressing her to wash the rest of her?
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah we have a space heater and warm up the room before we put her in. sigh... hasn't worked.

Why do you suggest washing her head first? (we usually do it last because it makes her the most mad).
post #6 of 19
2 out of my 3 have hated baths, I just don't bathe them. When their hair gets really gross then I just rinse it with a washcloth. Eventually they do like baths!
post #7 of 19
She might not like the feeling of being "lost in space." I'm assuming you are bathing her on her back in some fashion? Lots of babies prefer the feeling of being contained a bit, (womb-like) so bath time can really leave some babies feeling a little stressed (as if they are falling) and it triggers the moro reflex. Have you tried holding her tummy-to-tummy when you bathe with her? You can also try holding her arms in close to her body, holding her close to you and then slowly easing her into the tub as you pull away slowly. I've never tried them, but lots of people swear by the Tummy Tub for babies who otherwise cry for baths. Good Luck!
post #8 of 19
Is it the whole bath experience or just certain parts upsetting her? My girl hates when I have to clean her neck between the fat folds, so I wait until the end to do it and try to clean her neck everyday randomly. A lot of babies don't like their faces washed, so you can do that not during bathtime. It sounds like you may have tried this, but have you just put her in the bath and talked/sung to her and not tried to wash her, just to get her hopefully enjoying a bath again?
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mamas, for all the advice

Peony- believe me, our baths are few and far in between. I use a wet washcloth to do daily spotchecks between fatfolds and such, but other than that... bath time is not by any means a frequent occurrence for us Glad I'm not the only one who does this!

MamieCole- I think you are right on actually. DD has a very strong moro reflex... it's getting less and less, but, perhaps it's the most strong during bath time. I don't know if she's too big for the Tummy Tub, but it's definitely worth looking into. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Quinalla- yes, I think that she gets the most stressed when washing her neck, face, and head. Perhaps I'll do those at a separate time. Thanks for this tip.
post #10 of 19
Are you bathing with her? I find Bella is most comfortable when she bathes with me in the big tub as opposed to getting bathed in her own little baby tub. So much so in fact that I have to admit I've kid of abandoned the baby tub lol...

I hold her tummy to tummy if she looks like she's getting worried. I also nurse her in the bath, and only when we've been in there for a bit do I start washing her. Then, toward the and we play "swimmy swimmy" and she gets to kind of mostly immerse in the water and be nice and warm. All the while I bathe her, I sing her made up songs about what we're doing, too, and which part of her body I'm washing. This way we usually avoid much crying, if any, and I think every time she has a bath she's getting happier about it.

With the nursing in the bath you always risk getting pooped on, but it's worth it - and as long as you have a shower attachment it's not that much of a big deal! Xx
post #11 of 19
Have you tried showering with her as opposed to the tub? DS loves to shower with DH!
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by Path2Felicity View Post
Why do you suggest washing her head first? (we usually do it last because it makes her the most mad).
We do it first so that our ds can remain totally clothed and warm, and his whole body isn't wet the entire bath...kind of breaks things up a bit. So after we completely dry off his head on my lap i proceed to undress him so that only his neck down gets wet. It might make bath time a little less annoying for you LO.
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by MaddieMay View Post
Have you tried showering with her as opposed to the tub? DS loves to shower with DH!
I was going to suggest this, too. DD went through a very LONG phase of hating baths, but she LOVED showers.
post #14 of 19
Get in with her and nurse in there?

Some positive associations might help.
post #15 of 19
Sometimes I think they just don't like water. My DS #1 loved water from early on and still does. The baby tolerates it but I wouldn't say he likes it. My DD...

My DD hated the bath/water under all circumstances for her 1st year. Loved, loved, loved them most of her 2nd year, to the point of having more than 1 some days. Then out of the blue she went back to hating them. She also does not like to swim in pools or lakes. She does not like water on her face. I wash her hair in the sink (salon-style) and she enjoys that but no other aspect of the bath. I always wanted to try a Tummy Tub.

My mother said she'll learn to like the bath if I keep forcing her to have one every night. I just can't handle the screaming and I don't really care. So she gets one when she stinks or once a week (or so). I wash her hair more often because she gets food in it.

Just know you aren't alone.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice, mamas

I think I will definitely try getting in there with her again, tummy to tummy, and nursing. She is a super nurser and it's her only source of comfort most of the time (she doesn't take a pacifier and constantly wants to suck on me instead). We've tried showers before but it was hard for me to control how much water actually got in her face, and she hated it even more unfortunately.

Alisse- DD definitely gets most upset when we touch her head or face so maybe just doing that separately would help. Or just saving it all till the very end while I'm in there with her.

Stephanie- I have a feeling my DD will be following in your DD's footsteps.
post #17 of 19
Some kids just do not enjoy water. My youngest dd was like that as an infant/toddler. She hates her face and head to get wet. I think I mostly sponge bathed her as a small baby, then as she got older and could sit up I'd put the smallest amount of water in the big tub and quickly bathe her. Now, she'll take a bath every other day, but I cannot help her in any way. She washes her own hair and it's not always the cleanest but it beats hearing her scream because she isn't controlling the wetness of her head.
post #18 of 19
Take heart! My LO screamed bloody murder when I would bathe her for the longest time. So I had to just give her a "kitty-cat wash" - basically lay her on a blanket or towel, wet a wash cloth and put some baby wash on it, and clean her that way.

Now she is almost 11 months old and LOVES the bath. She tries to JUMP into the tub while I am waiting on the water temperature to even out. She has loved it now since about 8-9 months. We give her bath toys, but she mostly just splashes her hands in it and talks to the water. She has a blast!

It could be that you just have a sensitive baby like mine, and that once she is old enough to grasp the concept of splashing and playing in the water, she may love it!

Make sure you have the water warm enough, too. I think that may have been part of why my DD hated it. I was so paranoid about it being too hot that I didn't make it warm enough and she got cold. Just make sure you use a thermometer or some kind of toy that senses temperature, or at the very least test it on your WRIST and don't make it quite as hot as you would for yourself.
post #19 of 19
My second baby hated baths, too. He screamed through literally every bath he had up until his second birthday. I tried everything, but he just hated the water - so I limited baths to only when they were absolutely necessary and did "spot-cleaning" most of the time. He loves bathtime now, of course!
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