How to make bath time enjoyable for my 13-month-old?

Dianne - posted on 01/24/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My daughter Laura is 13 months old and she has always hated taking baths. At first I thought it was just because the sound of running water scared her (and it did) so I make sure to fill the bath to the appropriate level and then shut it off before setting her in it. But even so, she still screams and tries to scramble out of the tub. She knows full well how to sit up like any 13-month-old would, but when I set her down in the water, she bends forward at the waist until she's practically parallel to the water....in fact, during her last bath she did this and actually got a bit of water up her nose, poor baby. Background info: Firstly, Laura is very small for her age and exhibited a couple preemie characteristics at birth; although she hasn't shown herself to be behind in any of her milestones....not sure that would have anything to do with hating bath time, lol, but thought I'd mention it. Secondly, she has eczema and has since she was three months old; she has multiple food allergies (which we try hard to avoid) and a cat allergy (we have no cats but know people who do) that contribute to this, and also, since it's winter right now, the eczema tends to be a little worse. (We slather her every day with Cetaphil moisturizer and we treat her "bad" spots with a Rx steroid cream when needed.) Anyway I don't know if her itchy skin has something to do with hating the bath? I don't put anything in the bath--no soap, no bubble bath, nothing....and I test the temp with the inside of my wrist to make sure it's nice and warm but not hot. It's just about impossible to bathe her because she's constantly trying to get out and just screaming and flopping around because she hates it so much. And she REALLY screams when I get her head wet!! I guess the only thing I haven't tried yet is interesting her in a bath toy; I don't know if that would help or not; I could try it. Any other suggestions??

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Teri - posted on 01/26/2012

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My son used to hate the bath too. One day we tried playing with bubbles in the bath, actually blowing bubbles. And that did the trick! He was so happy he forgot he was taking a bath. And ever since then, he asks to take a bath. Try the bubbles!!

Liliane - posted on 01/26/2012

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My 2 year old daughter loves her bath but also hates any water on her head, which makes shampooing a challenge. We got her a few bath dolls for her to play with in the bath. We pour a cup of water on the doll, we pour a cup of water on her head... we put a drop of shampoo on the dolls hair, a drop of shampoo on her.... and so on and so forth. This seems to have solved the problem! She now has minimal problems getting her hair washed if her doll is also getting her hair washed. We made sure the one we got had hair she could also wash. Seems to have helped tremendously.

Joanne - posted on 01/25/2012

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Try the foam shape bath toys that sick to the wall, my children both loved them. You can get people shaped ones where you stick other sarapes on the to make clothes. If she is interested in something on the wall up beside he it might encourage her to sit up straighter too. Good luck.

Keri - posted on 01/25/2012

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I'm sure you don't want to know that my son (5 years) loves bath time, and often wants to take baths just to take a bath an be in the water, but he does. For a long time he did not like being WASHED. He didn't like soap/shampoo and will still scramble to the back of the tub so I can't reach him. I'll get upset and give him a "Mom" look and he comes forward. He has lots of bath toys, but he seems to be most interested in the bath crayons he got for his birthday recently.



We also changed from a "puff" to a bath mitt. We found a really cute pink elephant at the dollar store. Since then, we've had a "puppet show", but only after washing. He talks to "Puppet" - we talk about his day, what he did (especially if he went to preschool that day) and Puppet will tell stories or allow my son to dunk him underwater. It's made bathtime more fun and special - and now that I work overnight, "puppet show" doesn't happen as much as it used to.



Hope some of this helps.

Suzie - posted on 01/24/2012

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with my son we use epsonsalts in his bath it helps with the itchy skin he to has had skin issues from the time he was little. and we use dove free soap on him or it gets worse. we also just went through a long stage were we had hime screaming in the water and it is a stage. how about trying to shower with her some kids seam to like that as well but it was a pile of ruber duckies for my son that finaly worked.

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Janet - posted on 01/30/2012

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ok first the ecezma - try not to use steriods on a child unless its really bad - my son has eczema and i use qv infrequently, natural soaps and i recommend trying moogoo products - their website is www.moogoo.com.au



There are products out on the market for kids that don't seem interested in having a bath. I have used bath crayons (they wipe off with a facewasher); bath colours (these are good cause u can mix and match the colours and they do not leave any rings or colours on either ur child or the bath); food colouring and jelly bath.



Also sudocrem is good for eczema on the sensitive spots as it acts like a barrier cream



good luck

Laura - posted on 01/26/2012

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what about getting a very special toy or two that are only for bath time? Take her to the store and get her involved in choosing and make it very clear that these are only for the bath???

Jennifer - posted on 01/26/2012

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"California Baby" products are great for kids with eczema and they have a bubble bath so you can make bathtime fun... Put one of her favorite "water resistant" toys in there with her. As far as her head getting wet, they have shampoo rise cups out there (Walmart, Target, etc.) that pour water to rise, but doesn't get in their eyes, so maybe that will help.



Description: Keep shampoo and water out of your child's sensitive eyes with the Garanimals Shampoo Rinse Cup. Its soft, flexible edge forms a watertight bond against the forehead, preventing water and soap from flowing down the face. Make bath time easier for everyone with this conveniently designed rinse cup.

Trudi - posted on 01/26/2012

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I would try getting in the bath with her. Wear a swimsuit if you feel uncomfortable but at that age she wont know whats what. Hold her securely so she feels safe, do some splashing with your hand and laugh, show her it is fun. If she is calm hold her hand and get her to splash too. If she is upset then just hold her and relax as much as possible til she clams down (even hold her out of the water). Take it slow, gradually put her in or play with a toy on your knee. If there is a squirt toy you could do little squirts on her hand and laugh. Make it fun.



Don't worry the first time if she gets washed and dont put water over her head. you might need to get in with her a few times till she is happy to play and then you can sit beside the bath and play with her - extend her a little each time.



When you do get to the washing or head wetting stage give her a verbal cue such as "ready, go" before gently pouring some water over her tummy and arms and back and just do more as she gets more confident.



Lots of splashing and fun in the water and you will soon get squeals of delight I hope!

Dianne - posted on 01/26/2012

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These are all really great suggestions; thanks everyone! I will try it soon.

Jodi - posted on 01/25/2012

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I know some people are comfortable with this...but I bathed with my daughter for a while. She HATED the bath, I think just the whole bath scene scared her. But after I bathed with her for a few weeks and played with her (at that age and even now still at almost 3 yr, cups and an animal toy.) and splashed about she started loving bath. Now, she ASKS to take baths...in the middle of the day! I have a hard time getting her out of the tub and she still hates getting water on her face and hates having her hair washed or rinsed, but we get that out of the way first thing and then she gets to play for a bit. Good luck!

Cassie - posted on 01/25/2012

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My daughter is also one of those who loves to take a bath and play, but hates being washed! Once she sees the soap and washcloth come out, she starts crying immediately. And she's 14 months. She likes the water itself, but hates the washing, especially her hair and face. Any time water gets on her face she freaks out. I'm gonna try the one suggestion by Keri Rozansky about getting an interesting (to a toddler) bath mitt, and do like a puppet show with her while we are washing. Hopefully that will help. But all it took for her to be okay with the water was a few toys, and to know that someone is right there close to her so she is safe. But then, I also bathed with her for quite a while before she ever took a bath by herself. So she was comfortable in the bath because she knew mommy was there with her. Tho, even then she hated being washed.

Elfrieda - posted on 01/24/2012

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Bath toy, absolutely! My son has had short periods where he hates the bath but he just can't resist the toys. Right now his favourite ones are three magnetic tugboats that stick together until he splashes really hard right beside them. At your daughters age he liked the cups (we just took some plastic tumblers from the kitchen) for pouring and for hiding the rubber ducky in.



Also, if you put some baking soda in the water it should help with the itchiness. My sister had mastocytosis when she was little, basically a sensitivity to almost everything that would manifest in enormous blisters, and my mom was constantly patting her down with baking soda mixed with water. It helps soothe the skin, I think. It is also fun to play with in the bath because it's so goopy. :) I think a quarter cup in a shallow bath is the right amount.

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