Does your baby hate bath time?
If you answered yes, know that you are not alone.
Getting an infant to enjoy a bath seems like an impossible endeavor for many parents. The daily kicking and screaming session is known as bath time should be a positive experience, right?
… Your baby might disagree.
What is supposed to be a soothing nightly ritual often devolves into chaos. Although your child will likely grow out of this phase in early toddlerhood, there are ways to improve the experience in the meantime – for both parent and child.
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Grumpy babies are far more likely to have a meltdown during bathtime. From your child’s perspective, bathing can be an uncomfortable experience. Imagine being dunked in the bath while water is repeatedly poured over your head. For someone who doesn’t understand exactly what’s going on, this can be a distressing experience. To make things worse, you are hungry and sleepy.
This is why it is crucial to bathe when your baby is feeling their best. For most parents, this is right after dinner and before bedtime.
That means making sure the bathwater is warm – not too cold and not too hot. Test the water out on yourself first, dipping a hand in to be sure it is just right.
The right temperature also means keeping the bathroom climate at a comfortable level.
When the air is warm as well, there won’t be a big difference between the water and the environment. This allows for your baby to adapt well to the feeling of the water. If you have a space heater, try switching it on before bath time to warm up the air a bit.
The ideal baby’s bath temperature should be 37°C to 38° C (100°F to 102°F), which matchs to our body temperature.
Some babies have issues with being immersed in water. If this is the case for your little one, we recommend starting by placing your child in the baby tub first, before adding any water. Then gently begin pouring warm water over the baby’s toes and working your way up.
The loudness of the rushing water can be a bit jarring for some infants as well, so try filling the tub before bringing your baby into the bathroom.
Bathtime is filled with repetitive kneeling and reaching for the parent. These actions can be hard on the back and joints – especially at the knees and elbows. Plain bath mats can be uncomfortable to kneel on, and resting elbows on the side of the tub is hardly a pleasant feeling.
Using a bath kneeler and elbow rest pad that is specifically designed for baby bath time can be a real game-changer.
This one from our brand NeoLittle is made from a water-friendly neoprene material with a thick layer of supportive foam underneath.
An added bonus, the pad has side pockets for storage of baby wash, shampoo, toys, and other bath accessories. And it comes with a carrying bag for easy pickup.
To keep the water and soap out of your baby’s eyes and away from their face, invest in a baby bath hat. These visor-like caps surround your baby’s head, redirecting the water away from the face while you wash their hair.
Babies are more preoccupied when they have toys to focus on.
Don’t overthink it – the classic rubber ducky is always a winner!
Store bath toys in the side pockets of your kneeling mat to use each time you bathe your baby.
The sound of your voice can be a soothing, welcome distraction from bathtime. If your baby starts to get fussy, grab their attention by singing a favorite song.
Having bath time at the same time every night will help prepare your baby to expect it.
Changing up the time at which you bathe your child may confuse them and throw off their rhythm.
Most parents prefer to do bath time right after dinner, to wash off all that spaghetti sauce from the baby’s face and get the child ready for bed.
Swaddle your baby in a warm, soft towel after a bath. The shock of leaving the warm tub after a bath can be upsetting.
Prevent the post-bath cry by choosing a microfiber towel. You can even try throwing the towel in the dryer for a few moments to make it extra warm and cozy.
Many parents find their child responds better to bath time when they go through it with them.
To ease your baby into bath time, try sitting with them in the tub. Some parents prefer to bathe at the same time as their child as well.
There are many soap and shampoo products that are made just for babies. Tear-free, mild formulas like Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo are great all-in-one products that are ideal for bath time.
If your baby has sensitive skin, look for products that are fragrance-free and moisturizing. Look for products with aloe vera if your baby has eczema.
If you are looking for a way to relax and bond with your baby, a massage might be the perfect addition to bath time.
Massages during bath time (and before bed) can help your baby to relax and fall asleep easier.
Apply gentle rolling pressure to each part of your baby’s body, but try to avoid tickling.
Your soothing words are sometimes all your baby needs to have a positive experience during bath time. Babies respond positively to the calm voices of their parents.
Use a low, quiet tone to create a calm environment for your baby.
With great baby accessories like the bath kneeler and elbow rest pad, bath time can be a positive bonding experience rather than a battle. Remember to maintain a calm demeanor and a soothing bathroom environment.
Follow these tips to help you keep your child clean, calm, and happy during bath time.
About the AuthorBarbara is a full-time mom of 3 children and a part-time blogger since 2018. She likes to write on various topics about motherhood. She drinks a lot of coffee, loves French pastries, reads a lot, also enjoys crafts and Montessori activities.