It was as if my child’s personality had changed over night. Did the babysitter drop him in the tub? My baby stopped liking baths almost overnight. I did a little research and discovered the reason he cried at the prospect of going in the tub had more to do with his own decisions and experiences than anything that we had done. It turns out that a scared baby is also a smart baby, newly cautious as he learns to fear that which may hurt him.
Bath time can be a joyful experience, a time of discovery and play for both parents and their child. Experience tells us that babies are capricious, changing their opinions and attitudes as frequently as the diapers we put on them. But it can be off putting to find something that brought a baby such joy only days before has suddenly become the devil to them. What we can’t do is force them back into it and expect them to “get over” their fears using rationality. Instead, here’s a few tips and tricks for those whose baby stopped liking baths:
- Don’t dismiss their fears as silly or ridiculous; instead, reassure them that you’ll be there and everything is safe
- Use the sink or a bucket instead of the tub
- Use bubbles
- Change the color of the bath water to blue or red using specially designed bath tablets
- Get into the bath first, then invite your baby or toddler to join you
- Let them bond with bath teddy bears that are really sponges, then introduce them to the bath.
- Try a bath visor to keep the water out of their face.
- If all else fails, sponge baths from a bucket can still get your child clean.
- Turn up the music and integrate their favorite songs to help them enjoy the experience.
Sometimes even the most avid parent can’t change a baby’s attitude toward baths. It’s best to wait it out until they’ve changed their mind again. Remember, most every “new” problem your baby experiences will pass as quickly as it comes. It’s always something new!