Baby bath time can be one of the best moments you experience with your newborn.
It’s when you make some of your first memories together, many of which usually end up in the baby book.
Let’s be honest though — bath time can also be pretty difficult as a parent. While some babies enjoy being rinsed with the warm water and getting their daily bath, other babies will kick and cry.
If your baby isn’t fond of bath time, it’s important to know that it is completely normal.
Getting a bath isn’t something that a newborn baby is used to, and it will take time. This unfamiliarity can produce challenges along the way.
Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can start using today to help you and your baby overcome the challenges of baby bath time, together.
Why Some Babies Don’t Enjoy Bath Time
Not only are there ways to fix the challenges that bath time can bring, but there are also a handful of logical explanations as to why your baby is wailing when they enter the tub.
As a new parent, the first image that typically comes to mind when you think of “baby bath time” is your little one splash away in the water playing happily with the cute toys you bought her.
In reality, that picture hardly ever turns out that way. Why do so many babies not enjoy the bath, even if it means they get to play?
Your Baby Hasn’t Been in the Water Before
We’re all a bit nervous when we try something new, and the same concept applies to babies.
Your baby hasn’t taken a bath before, and this fact in itself can cause loads of your baby bath time challenges.
If your baby cries when they get in the bath, it might not be because they’re hurt, and it doesn’t always mean that something is wrong.
When the fear of change is the case, it’s simply something your baby will have to outgrow. After all, they’ll get used to taking a bath eventually.
Sensory Issues Caused by the Water
Another reason why your baby might not be enjoying bath time is because of new feelings the water brings them.
Because your baby hasn’t ever been in the bath before, being in the water brings on new sensory interactions.
For example, up until the moment of bath time, your baby hasn’t experienced feeling wet before. Therefore, having parts of their body soaking in water can be a new experience and rather scary for them.
Another sensory issue the water can cause is sound.
The sound of running water can be quite loud. It’s also loud when you pour the water over them. These are again new things your baby hasn’t ever experienced before, so it’s a bit shocking and confusing.
Finally, the temperature of the water could be causing sensory issues your baby doesn’t like.
Fear of Slipping and Sliding
Whether bathing is done in a regular size bathtub or the kitchen sink, it’s going to be a bit slippery, especially with your baby’s soft skin.
Since babies don’t have control of their positioning in the tub, they rely on you to do it for them.
Even if you have a protective hand on your baby, a few little slips are still possible, and they will scare your baby.
How to Overcome Baby Bath Time Challenges
You now know a few of the common causes of your baby’s fear of the bath, you might even have an idea of which one is causing you trouble.
Unfortunately, most of the reasons behind a baby’s crying can’t be immediately overcome or removed.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your baby knows and feels that they’re safe. But you can’t just tell them that because they don’t understand.
It’s one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of being a new parent.
But just because you aren’t able to tell your baby they’re safe doesn’t mean you can’t show them.
Here are some helpful baby bath time tips to help you overcome these challenges, resulting in your baby feeling happy and safe.
1. Sing A Few Baby Bath Time Songs
It’s how we get them to sleep, how we get them to calm down, and even how we entertain them.
What if we used it to get them to enjoy taking baths, too? Babies might not understand words, but many love the sweet tune of a comforting song.
Whether it’s a new song you’ve just come up with, a song you sing to your baby during other times of the day, or even just a classic nursery rhyme, sing some baby bath time songs with your newborn.
The bath might be new, and a bit scary, but the sound of mama’s voice is familiar and dear to your baby’s heart.
2. Baby Bath Time Temperature Adjustments
If it’s a tad bit too hot, your baby will let you know. If it’s a tad bit too cold, your baby will let you know.
Babies are extremely picky, and their bathwater temperature is no exception.
Since the feeling of being in the water is new, it’s important that your baby is as comfortable as possible when taking a bath.
If your baby is crying, try adjusting the temperature of the water. Even if you think it’s just right, your baby could be thinking — and feeling — otherwise. Crying is the only tool babies have to communicate, so it’s the only way he or she can tell you if the water’s too hot or cold.
3. Schedule A Bath for the Baby Before or After Feeding
A question that many new parents ask is “do I give my baby a bath before or after feeding?”
According to RaisingChildren.net, it’s best to bathe your baby any time of the day except for when she’s hungry or straight after she’s eaten.
Babies already cry when they’re hungry, so trying to make them take a bath when all they want to do is eat isn’t the best way to make them enjoy it.
On the other hand, babies can get stomach aches or have to burp after being fed, so putting them in the bath during that time can cause them pain.
Instead, it’s important to fit bath time somewhere perfectly in between — before they get too hungry, or a while after they’ve eaten.
4. Try Different Baby Bath Time Products
Instead of doing something wrong, you could just be using the wrong tools during baby bath time.
Everything is new to babies, which is why they feel safest when they’re in a small, cuddled up space next to you. So, if you’re using a big space such as the bathtub, they might be feeling intimidated by the amount of open space.
Or, if you’re using a tub or sink that has a slippery surface, your baby could also be afraid of slipping. If this is the case, then try using bath products, such as small baby tubs specifically made for bathing infants, or anti-slip products that make surfaces feel more stable.
5. Run the Water When Your Baby Isn’t in the Room
Babies are afraid of loud noises and running bath water can get pretty loud.
If your baby starts crying before she even gets into the tub, odds are she’s afraid because of the loud sounds produced by the running water.
The best solution for this challenge is to start the bath while your baby is in a separate room — somewhere she can’t hear it.
You can leave her in the crib, in a high chair, or a playpen with another adult supervising while you attend to your baby bath time prep duties.
All of Your Baby Bath Time Challenges Solved
If your baby cries during bath time, don’t get discouraged — there’s likely a reason behind it, and a solution to solve it.
Baby bath time doesn’t have to be difficult for you or your baby, and nonverbal communication as well as understanding your baby is the key to fixing it.
Are there any baby bath time tips we left out?
Share with us in the comments below!