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Help! Why does my Baby Hate Baths?
“I check my watch and it’s 7:00 pm so I walk home a little faster. I can already feel my breasts leaking.”
“Oh gosh Christian must be so hungry by now. By the time I get home I’m famished as well and I’m just thinking to myself I just need to get through bathing him, dressing him and feeding him then I can lie down. The minute I walk in the door and Christian sets his eyes in me, my carefully orchestrated plan goes out the window. He last saw me 7 hours ago so he stretches out his arms asking for me. I’m happy so see him but those screams and cries signaling hunger, I did not miss. So now, forget bathing him first, I have to feed him.”
“We settle down into our usual chair and he’s soon sucking away. As soon as we’re done I hand him to his father who keeps him entertained as I set up the bath. He’s no longer as fussy by the time I put him into the bath. I get out my Johnson’s Bedtime Bath and the minute I’m done washing him I hear a sound that can only mean disaster. Coupled with that boy’s cheeky smile I know I’m in trouble. Christian is only 5 months old but sometimes he can wreak havoc like a 10 year old. The boy just pooped in the bath. Has a mother ever been so frustrated? Bath time can be such drama between Christian and I, especially since it comes at the end of the day when I’m exhausted from work.”
Babies seem to live in a little world of their own where 90% of the things they do don’t make sense. Therefore it’s no wonder you don’t understand why your baby hates baths.
You may have everything right, from the temperature of the water to the right products but she/he still screams the minute they catch sight of that tub. You’ve read that bath time is supposed to a fun time and opportunity to bond with your baby but so far all it’s been is a traumatic experience for both you and your baby.
So why does your baby hate baths?
Sadly, there is no single perfect answer to that question. However, there are a few things you can change around bath time to make bath time the bonding experience you’ve heard all about. Some babies just don’t like the sight of water, they’re possibly afraid of it. Therefore you can trick them into forgetting about it by using distractions.
The human brain can only focus effectively on one thing at a time. Only 2% of the human race can actually multitask. Therefore, if you arm yourself with just the right tool, your baby won’t even realize you’ve been bathing him by the time you’re done. You could sing him a song or even play him his favorite tunes and sing along. This should ease your baby and make them relax. Your baby loves to hear your voice so they will feel closer to you if you sing or talk to them. And what place is safer than with mama? Nowhere! Thus all that fear and tension goes down the drain. Employ the use of toys such a ducks particularly toys that make sounds. This will help engage all of your baby’s senses.
Timing is everything when it comes to babies. Your baby will be more comfortable with a routine. They like a predictable world. Familiar patterns help smooth babies in stressful situations, in this case your baby may consider bathing a stressful situation. Therefore set a time when you will be washing your baby everyday so they can get used to a routine. Babies take comfort in a schedule and with time you may find that if you’re late to start bath time they may even get restless or uneasy.
Select a time when the baby is more likely to be calm and less energetic. Evenings are recommended as a bath will serve as a relaxing way for them to wind down.
Ensure that the baby is fed and not restless when you bath him/her. But also don’t do it right after feeding to avoid your baby throwing up in his/her bath. Another chance you could make is how you start the bath. Some babies are not terrified of the bath itself but being immersed in water. Therefore instead of filling the tub then dipping your baby into to the water try putting your baby in the tub first then filling the tub. Chances are, their curiosity will peak and they’ll be captured by the wonder of flowing water. Be cautious however, to hold your baby to prevent slipping.
Finally, check that the products you are using are not irritating your baby’s skin. You could run them by your doctor or simply opt for a brand that is known for its gentleness and kindness towards babies’ skin. To make your baby fall in love with you (if he/she isn’t already), massage him/her with baby oil right after drying them. (Ensure the towel you’re using is right for your baby). Harris Poll who was commissioned by the JOHNSON’S® Brand, to survey parents of 0-3 year-old, found out that only 23% of parents understand that baby massage is important for brain development. While 14% believe it’s not important at all.
To make bath time the perfect bonding experience it ought to be, use the right products, ensure the water is at a good temperature as well as heat the room before and simply shower your baby with love.
Don’t panic if it’s not always a great experience, it will get better in the end and if it doesn’t then it’s not the end.
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