Terrified of bathing rambunctious always-trying-to-stand baby--help, please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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(My 7 1/2-month-old daughter is not technically a toddler though she is standing/cruising, but I'm posting this here as I'm hoping most of you have already solved this problem!)


Lately my daughter jumps up and down and squirms and kicks and tries to stand and pulls herself up on the edge of the tub so much that giving her a bath terrifies me and leaves me in tears. She has ALMOST slipped under the water or hit her head numerous times, and I'm lucky if I can get her barely clean, never mind wash her hair (which is really important, since she has terrible eczema and cradle cap and needs a special shampoo that is the only thing that keeps it at bay). She is extremely strong and quite a big girl--over 20 lbs.


She sits just fine without any support or help (and has been doing so for a long time now) but although she frequently pulls to standing on her own, cruises around the living room furniture and can stand unsupported she is very wobbly and often falls... which is fine when playing on her soft quilts and rugs where Mommy and Daddy are there to catch her, but very dangerous in the big hard tub.


We use to bathe her inside a plastic baby bathtub placed in the big tub. She outgrew it a month or so ago (and was always trying to stand in it, eek!), and I was bathing her by holding her in place with one arm and using the other to wash her and wash her hair. But now she squirms and jumps and moves all over the place so much I am just terrified. I've been tempted to just give her sponge baths but I really need to wash her hair! 


I started to look at baby bath seats and rings but have read in numerous places that they are extremely dangerous and have resulted in many baby deaths--Consumer Reports says to avoid them completely. 


I tried having my husband help me by holding her while I washed her hair but there really isn't room for both of us to reach her near our tub in our tiny bathroom.


I also thought about trying to take a bath with her in the tub with me, but I'm worried that if I'm all wet and we're both slippery it'll be difficult to keep her from jumping or climbing out of the tub and hitting her head... 


I know this sounds ridiculous--I'm being defeated by a 7-month-old!--but I'm really freaking out here. Any help or advice would be great!

Sewing, knitting, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering + working mama to baby Zora (born 6/22/10)
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#2 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:46 AM
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My DS is pretty active but perhaps not quite as rambunctious as your DD seems to be!  But however rowdy, it can be tricky to have a bump-free bath time!  Here are my suggestions:


Go ahead and try getting in the tub with her.  Sure you'll be a little slippery too, but if she falls she's more likely to fall on you rather than the hard tub and it's easier to help her when you're able to hold her better rather than leaning over the tub.


If you don't already have one, get one of those faucet covers to help protect against bumps. 


And... is it really that big a deal if her face goes under water for a moment?  I mean, that's why you stay right by the tub - you'll pick her up immediately.

DS1 born 12-31-09, DS2 born 2-18-12

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#3 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:53 AM
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Two things that helped us.


1 - Get in the tub with her.  Grown up skin isn't nearly as slippery as baby skin when wet.  :)  I haven't found that to be a problem at all.  It's much easier to trap her between your legs for washing with both hands than to do so from outside the tub.


2 - Keep reinforcing with her that we sit down in the tub.  Every time she stands up tell that it's dangerous and that we sit on our bottom in the tub and then put her back on her bottom.  It will seem like a lost cause at first, but by using the same language each time and reinforcing what you mean, she will eventually get it.  Of course then she will reach the age when she gets it but chooses not to do it anyway, but that's for a later age.  lol.gif

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#4 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:54 AM
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With moving babies, I definitely found it easier personally to take baths together. Also I made sure to have things they could hold/chew on/watch (like a toy that drips water in an interesting way, a mini teapot to pour on us, etc. She's a little young I imagine for bath books and most toys, but that should get easier as she gets just a little older. For now I would bathe together, just think about a safe place to put her when you are ready to get out. Ideally DH can take her, but if not a blanket on the floor with a towel or something just for while you climb out and dry off.

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#5 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 09:01 AM
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Laundry basket in the tub. The plastic heavy kind.... not the kind that bends over.. the rigid ones.


Kid stands in basket... everything gets clean. If baby slips they are still in basket.

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#6 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 09:17 AM
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Inflatable baby tub inside the big tub!  That way if she falls, she lands on the squishy side of the inflatable.  Check out one step ahead catalogue... there is an ugly white one with fish playing instruments, that's the one we have.  The duckie tub at babies r us was too small.

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#7 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 11:38 AM
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Sounds like mine a few months ago!  Yep, bathing with him was easier, was easiest if DH was there to help get him in and get him out.  But mostly, I took him in the shower with me.  
The easiest way was:  I get in the shower and do everything I need to get done.  The, DH hands me DS and he plays and gets washed.  He loves showers, maybe more than baths, and it is not as scary.  Plus we have a stand-up only shower (no tub), so he can sit on the floor sometimes (although he usually wont)  and there isnt really anything for him to climb on except me,,,,in which case I just pick him up.


FWIW, the wildness in the tub went away after awhile and now he hangs out in the tub, he will crawl around and splash and not try to stand on everything.
I just kept reinforcing the "no standing" rule.

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#8 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 12:40 PM
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with dd1 i used an inflateable bath tub for her at my feet while i took a shower

with dd2, once she could sit i just plopped her on down in the shower with me, she wouldn't stay in the tub

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#9 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 12:46 PM
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What about bathing her in the kitchen sink?  She'd be more at your height to deal with and you could still reinforce the 'sit during baths' rule.  You just wouldn't have to chase a slippery squirmy baby around the big tub, just around the sink.

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#10 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 02:23 PM
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We only have a big shower stall (no bath, boo) and our guy hated the shower and out grew/out squirmed his waist high baby bath. We went to an animal feed store and bought a 70 QT muck tub (rigid, not flexible, large and sturdy) and some of those old fashioned non-slip decals that we stuck to the bottom. Viola! His own personal Japanese-style bathing tub (deep but not wide). I'm jealous every time I see him lounging in there (papa does the bathing duties). It's actually easier to clean him while he's standing, but these days he prefers to sit. Something to think about if the co-bathing doesn't work.




edited to add that maybe it is the 40 QT size

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#11 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 03:50 PM
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Another one for getting in with her. It's not really a lot more slippery - I mean right now she's wet & so are your hands & that will be the same with you in the tub. Plus if you're in with her, with her between your legs it's just easier to control her & catch her. You could also try putting a non-slip mat at the bottom so she's less likely to slip. And just keep reinforcing that "we sit in the tub" - although this does take awhile for her to get.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#12 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:19 PM
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DD also started standing around then and she only started sitting in the tub some of the time a couple of months ago. So that was a solid year of standing in the tub. What we did was buy a good bathmat and never let go of her while bathing her. 

Wig wearing mommy to (06/12/09) 
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#13 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:26 PM
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We use a rope tub, similar to the pp's muck tub. We got ours at Target for $8 or something. It's perfect because it has high sides for standing babies, is plastic so they won't crack their heads if they do fall, and is easily removable from the bathroom when need be. And a nice green thing is that it requires much less water than a bath tub, and less hot water in the colder months because the tub isn't already chilly, like the ceramic bathtubs are.

Our oldest is nearly seven and still loves it....the water level goes nice and high for bigger kids so they get a personal hot tub bath, all the way up to the shoulders!

I'm totally jealous!
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#14 of 19 Old 02-07-2011, 08:44 PM
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Another to say get in with her.  We always bathe babies that way and find it MUCH easier.  Especially if you have a dry parent to hand out to when she's done.



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#15 of 19 Old 02-08-2011, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your great responses! So last night I did indeed get in the tub with her and it was much better, if still quite difficult. She still kept standing up every minute or so (and I'd have to make her sit back down again of course), and I still had a really hard time washing her hair (she wouldn't tilt her head back, and I was struggling to keep her seated and keep the water and medicated shampoo out of her eyes). I handed her to my husband when we were done. So--still stressful and difficult, but much less scary!


Sink isn't an option--it's too small and we can't bathe her up high anymore since she's so jumpy/high-spirited, she nearly jumped off the counter back when she DID fit in the sink.


I'll also look at some of those other tubs within tubs mentioned... Thanks again!

Sewing, knitting, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering + working mama to baby Zora (born 6/22/10)
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#16 of 19 Old 02-09-2011, 08:25 AM
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Hop in there with her.  Saves everyone a huge headache (literally or not).

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#17 of 19 Old 02-09-2011, 01:53 PM
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Why is it that you don't want her to stand up?  Because she might fall?  What if you padded the tub, like with a heavy bath mat, and covered the faucet; put like 2 inches of water in the tub...then she could sort of toddle along the edge of the tub while you kept one hand on her....  I don't know if this is really dangerous or not, but with my DD, there was no way she was going to sit down.  It just wasn't going to happen.  For me, the battle wasn't worth it.

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#18 of 19 Old 02-09-2011, 04:17 PM
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We just got a bigger bucket-tub. Getting a little toddler in a full bath seems such a waist of water.


Kids hit their head. There was no day without a bump, a scratch, and tears because our child was set to explore the world and walk. We can keep them relatively safe, but there will be bumps and scratches. I'd get a nonslip mat for the tub and we put a little sand bucket around the faucet to prevent the worst things. And getting under the water is just going to happen. That's why parents should always watch their kids, when they bath.

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#19 of 19 Old 02-09-2011, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Lirazel View Post



And... is it really that big a deal if her face goes under water for a moment?  I mean, that's why you stay right by the tub - you'll pick her up immediately.

I agree with this! My 16 month old likes to stand at times too. She has gotten to where she understands "no" really well at this point and knows when she is doing something wrong, so she always sits right back down again. I'm there beside her at the tub the whole time so it's okay anyway. If she does start to fall then I would catch her or she might cry for a few seconds out of fear of falling down, even though it doesn't hurt her a bit. ;)

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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