Baby Blogging

4 months 025

When she chews on a teething ring she makes a noise like “gneng-gneng-gneng.” It’s hilarious.

Hey, I have a question for the hivemind. What do you do for a baby that hates baths? Like, with the heat of a thousand suns hates baths?

Seriously, it was easier to bathe the cat. I’ve been putting it off but she’s starting to look a little unwashed. And I don’t want my mom to sic social workers on me or anything.


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28 Responses to Baby Blogging

  1. La Lubu says:

    Even with rubber duckies, she hates baths? Does she hate wet washcloths too?

    I’d try encouraging her to splash you. Seriously. Maybe she’d like that; giving mama a taste of her own medicine. Maybe she’d giggle long enough, and slosh enough water around to make it like a real bath. Have you tried any of that pump-type soap that looks like shaving cream—or does she just not like the feel of any of that stuff on her body?

    I’m just brainstorming here. Mine was very sensitive to touch, which goes with being a micro-preemie; baths were the one thing she actually did tolerate without fuss.

  2. JackGoff says:

    Toys? Like, lots of them. That’s what me and my sister did for our cousins who we babysat a lot. They were older though, so it might not work for Abbie.

  3. pdrydia says:

    Honestly I have no idea on the bath issue, given inexperience, but I wanted to comment that the given picture is crazy adorable. She looks quite determined to fit the entire ring into her mouth (good thing it’s not working!)

  4. Julie says:

    My answer is pretty boring, but my daughter hated baths more than anything and we just bathed her in the sink and made it as quick as possible. I got the disposable washcloths, started with her hair and worked my way down. She outgrew outright hatred around 6 months and actually started to like them around 9 months. My only suggestion that might actually help is this- have you tried taking a bath with her? My son is big for his age, so he doesn’t fit in normal baby tubs and I put him in the tub with me, keep his head above water and let him kick and splash to his hearts content. He thinks it’s hysterical. Also, your daughter is gorgeous and she just gets cuter with every picture!

  5. Jeff Fecke says:

    You give ’em a bath and ignore the crying the best you can, telling yourself repeatedly, “I am not a bad parent. I can’t let mold grow on my child. Just because it sounds like I’m torturing her doesn’t mean that I am. Though it feels like I am. Oh, damn it, okay, we’re done!”

    That’s what I did. My daughter doesn’t seem any worse for wear.

    I might have aged a few years, but that’s what parenthood is all about.

  6. Kat says:

    Do a google for “sensory integration disorder”. A lot of kids have trouble with certain sensations, often water. There are lots of good ways to minimize their aversion to this, mostly dealing with a comprehensive approach to desensitizing them by slowly exposing them. Sensory kids often need extra sensations of some sorts and have an aversion to others. So, you may find a kid, for example, that loves hugs and skin-on-skin contact, who also hate the water or loud noises. The folks who deal the best with hoping you figure out what to do about SID are occupational therapists. They are masters of the “simple solution”. See if your pediatrician will give you a consult/referral to an OT about this issue. Be careful though, some insurance companies wiill cover OT but not Sensory Integration Therapy, so make sure you are going for an OT consult.

    Good luck!

  7. La Lubu says:

    And can I just say right now that I love the picture of Cute Little Feeties over on your blog?! I miss that—the cute little feeties. Do you have footprints yet?

  8. puellasolis says:

    Never been a mother, but assuming there isn’t a SID going on, I’m going to throw my hat in with the commenter who suggested taking a bath with her. At least that way you can try to determine if it’s something about being alone and scared in the water, or something about the water (or soap?) itself.

  9. Momo says:

    Well, it sounds like everyone has touched on the most feasible suggestions.

    When I had my son, my mom told me “Babies who are bathed are babies who like baths.” That being said, I have been giving him a bath everyday since he came home (there have been exceptions). He was collicky, fussy, a demon, whatever, until his was about 4 or 5 months old and the ONLY thing that would tame him was a bath. Sometimes three a day. My pediatrician called him a Jacuzzi Man. Weird.

    The point: Maybe like Jeffe Feck above, just suck it up and bath her every night before bed. Maybe she will just get used to it and it will get better.

    Know this though – this too shall pass. In a year or two, she may not want to get out of the bathtub and will throw full, body-hurling tantrums in the tub when you try to let the water out. Nothing like that happens here… EVER!

  10. Alexandra Lynch says:

    At four months, mine didn’t like baths either. We either adopted the “sorry, kid, this isn’t the first time you’re going to have to do something for your own good” or did sponge baths.

    About time they could sit up quite firmly and had a bit more motor control, they discovered how funny it is to splash.

    Now the eldest has discovered the family tradition, at thirteen, of getting time alone by taking a bath with a book.

  11. Jeff Fecke says:

    Know this though – this too shall pass. In a year or two, she may not want to get out of the bathtub and will throw full, body-hurling tantrums in the tub when you try to let the water out.

    Of course, my precious four-year-old daughter would never do such a thing. *rolls eyes*

  12. Ledasmom says:

    Sponge-bathe if she will tolerate that, wash only what’s dirty when dirty, and don’t sweat it. They don’t need bath-baths as long as the yuck gets cleaned off regularly. Climbing in the tub with the baby can work; so can letting her play in the tub without water in it, if she’s willing, and you could then add a small pan of water and sorta slowly work up to bath-baths. I had one who disliked baths when small, and now you can’t pry him out with a crowbar. As Momo says, this shall pass.
    Gad, I miss those gummy noises.

  13. anon says:

    Sponge baths?

  14. leslie says:

    I agree with the suggestion about taking a bath with her – my kids all liked that when they were babies and weren’t big fans of being in the tub alone. The key thing they didn’t like was water on their heads so being able to wash their heads while supporting them against my body made all the difference. Also, if you’re nursing her that can solve the not liking where she is instantly.

    I don’t know but I’m guessing that six months is pretty early to make guesses about SID.

  15. Sailorman says:

    “Hey, I have a question for the hivemind. What do you do for a baby that hates baths? Like, with the heat of a thousand suns hates baths?”

    Get in the bath with her. Works like a charm, usually.

  16. proud to swim home says:

    ditto what ledasmom and what jeff said. little babies are usually given far more baths than needed in this society. it dries out their skin. i gave my two girls a bath a week. (but they’d’ve gladly taken 3 a day each! they love the water.)

    and what jeff said is right. when that week is over and wipie or sponge baths won’t work anymore, into the tub they go. if necessary to hold the slipery demon-child your sweet baby transforms into, call on a 2nd pair of hands to keep her from slipping out of the tub.

    my girls hate having their nails clipped. but without it, their toenails curl straight down and grow into the tops of their toes. it took both mom & me to hold them down and even then i wish we’d had a 3rd set of hands. i’ve finally gotten them to calm down for it. it only took two years for one and three years for the other one. but no lasting damage done. neither is ‘paw shy’ and both are quite willing now to let daddy give them “pretty fingers” and “pretty toes.”

    so fret not. this too shall pass. for all you know your bath shy darling will turn into an olympic swimmer. :)

  17. car says:

    Proud to swim home – you’re braver than I. I cut my boys’ nails when they were asleep to avoid the fights. :) Maybe a wipedown with a warm washcloth while the baby is sleeping? Otherwise I’ll just go in with the others and say bathe together. Get a few inches of warm water, sit in it with your knees up and sit the baby on you, her butt on your stomach and her back against your thighs. Might work. If you’re worried about slipping, you could sit on one of those big sponge baby bathers.
    My younger son has SID – it’s something to keep an eye out for, but might not show up this early. “Raising your spirited child” is a good book for if those things show up – not sensory-specific, but good tips on kids who know their own minds and how to work with them without driving either of you crazy.

  18. Starfoxy says:

    Have you tired making the room really really warm when she has her bath? I still forget sometimes how cold my son can be during baths because the water used for his baths isn’t really ‘hot’ and I’m normally fully clothed so I’m comfortably warm even though he’s buck naked in lukewarm water. My poor son.
    The only other suggestion I have is to try showering with her, especially if she can crawl. My son didn’t like it the first time, but he loved it every time after that. If she can’t crawl or sit up on her own you might try just holding her in the shower and if she likes that then it might be worth buying a water baby sling to make it easier. (I’ve never tried one, I just know they exist).

  19. Dianne says:

    I third or fourth or whatever the idea of getting in the bath with the critter. Also remember that it is very, very unlikely that this is a permanent aversion. In another couple of months she may love the bath…of course, she may go back to hating it later on…my little has gone from one extreme to the other four or five times now. She’s currently on bathing-good, shampoo-bad. I’d do the “ignore the screams” method only if all else fails. Which, unfortunately, it might. But try other tricks first.

  20. Broce says:

    Definitely try the sink. My son hated the tub…I think he didnt feel as safe there as in the sink, which of course is more confined. Keep the water shallow, and as close to body temperature as you can.I found this helped, especially keeping the water level low, just enough to the hips when seated. To wash his hair, when there got to be enough of it to need more than a wet washcloth, I’d lie him on the counter and just put his head over the sink with my hand holding it up, and use the sprayer. I’d do this before the bath, usually.

  21. Jenni says:

    We used the sink for our daughter for about eight months, until she could reliably sit up, and then put her in the big tub, but when we moved (she was 18 months) she started having a fit about the tub – not just getting in herself, but seeing US in the tub or shower. Screamed bloody murder. Luckily we had a big sink in the new house and she was willing to get in there, and after about six weeks would tolerate the tub again, but she became afraid of water. For three years she refused to go a pool, but now her freestyle is neater than mine and she’s learning to dive (at nearly 7).

    And even now she still doesn’t get a bath much more often than once a week, in part because she has swim lessons regularly and dry skin, and in part because we just don’t have time once we get home and do homework (don’t get me started on homework in first grade) and eat something and have a conversation, and I’ll take a vaguely grimy but well-rested child over a tired clean one any day.

    Jenni

  22. Betsy says:

    I am not a mother, but I was a baby (and small child) who HATED having her head get wet. I didn’t mind the baths, it was the shampoos that made me scream like an unholy demon child. I’m sorry to say, nothing anyone did made me stop hating it – until I outgrew it, around 5 or 6 years old, when I discovered that other children seemed to actually ENJOY getting their heads wet in the pool.
    So, although this offers you exactly zero helpful advice, I can say that I was not scarred for life by either hating the water or being forced to endure shampoos.

  23. pram in the hall says:

    My youngest had a case of full-body cradle cap (I know–eeewww). We were told not to let a drop of water touch his body. We rubbed him down with lotion. He loved the full body massage, and he was never grubby enough to invite comment. Elphaba in the book Wicked used oil to clean herself, since she couldn’t let water touch her. Not that I’m comparing Abbie to Elphaba.

  24. exlitigator says:

    After my son’s first bath I really understood those who believe in demonic possesion. There was no other explanation to the rage demonstrated by a month old sweet baby. Otherwise, toys and patience, he grew to love them.

  25. cutepuppynose says:

    Have you tried taking her in the shower with you? I did this with both of my babies and they loved it. Something about being warm and in your arms. They still want to take showers with me sometimes (and they are 2 and 4 1/2 now).

  26. Vanessa says:

    Hmm…taking the bath with her helped a little. I was able to show her how to splash the water and I think she was distracted for a minute. But then it was back to the screaming.

    It was, at least, easier to hold and handle her. I guess I should feel glad this is one of her few quirks!

  27. Penny says:

    I’m glad taking her in the bath with you helped a bit. This works for us, so does the warm room. If you’re breastfeeding, including that in the tub might be comforting to her. How our 2 month old gets into the water makes a difference – not tipped backward but feet first forward so he can see where he’s going. There’s something called the “Tummy Tub” that allows the baby to bathe upright squatting – my son found this comforting after hating the regular baby bath. The shape of the tub is supposed to remind them of the womb. Good luck!

  28. geminimama says:

    Blow bubbles (you know, the kind with the little wand)…it was the only way I could get my firstborn to bathe from about age 12-18 months. I blew bubbles, he soaked most the goo off, and we didn’t worry too much about soap. Also bathed him in the kiddie pool outside (in summer) a time or two. He’s five and still has to be dragged into the tub (can’t get him out once we get him in) and has recently discovered showers which is surprising.

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