How can we get our baby to like baths?

She is 19 months old, and bathing her is agony. She cries, wails, tries to escape. If I crawl in the tub, it makes it tolerable, but she still cries nonstop until the bath is over. Tips, tricks, suggestions?

Too bad on that. It’s not something you can cut out of the routine. Maybe try putting her in the tub for a few days and “don’t” bathe her. Just let her hang out and play, get used to the sensation, and don’t stress her out with the actual bathing process. The “important” parts will get clean just by virtue of sitting in the water. Try turning on a radio or something. Once she feels more comfortable, she may dislike the washing part less. Good luck! Nothing worse than a smelly baby!

Is she just sitting in the bath with no support unless you are in there? We had our kids sit in a bath chair until they were big enough to feel secure sitting by themselves. It was like this one:

There are suction cups on the bottom to hold it steady, and you can swivel it a bit to help make shampooing easier.

Is it the immersion itself or the washing up? Maybe continue getting into the tub with her, but as happy happy play time. She can get plenty clean by just washing her up while she lays on a towel in the living room.

My son suddenly clicked from hating to liking bathtime about 2 and a half, he had some dry skin and I dumped powdered milk into the tub and came up with the bright idea of adding a drop or two of food coloring. Blue baths! Pink baths! Brilliant turquoise baths with toys, whee!

I can’t tell any more. She cries from the moment we put her in the bath, but that could just be b/c she knows the washing is coming. But the washing does elicit particularly outraged howls (particularly the hair!).

We put a few inches of water in the tub, and I climb in. cher3, She can stand in the tub (she is old enough to stand/walk/run), so she doesn’t have any trouble supporting herself. It’s weird. We’ve tried just filling her baby bath, letting her play with that (which she likes) before getting down to business, but she still starts to complain once the bathing starts.

Have you tried a shower?

I don’t know if it will help, but when I was a little one, I HATED baths. What worked was when I was at my Grandma’s house, she would give me a washcloth folded over several times to put over my eyes and face while she washed my hair. It must have been the possibility of soap or water in my eyes that freaked me out so. I can remember pressing it against my eyes until I saw stars, but I didn’t scream or carry on any more.

I’d skip the washing, then, for a few days. Honestly, I don’t scrub my kids’ skin, I figure the soapy water & agitation of them playing is plenty good enough. I just rinse them off quite a bit.

Or maybe just rinse the hair & that’s all? When I rinse my kids’ hair, I use a small bowl - dump w/my right hand, shield their faces w/my left.

Mine have had spells when they didn’t like bath time, but it didn’t last. Right now they adore Mr. Bubble (there’s a gentle version that seems to be OK).

Holy…wow, thank for the flashback! I’d probably never thought of that again in my life without a reminder, but now I vividly remember mom handing me that folded up washcloth when it was hair-washing time.

Okay, I know this is gonna sound weird, but bear with me for a minute.

I don’t have kids, but I do have three dogs. Many people say that raising a puppy is a lot like raising a small baby, in terms of how you teach them. So, in light of this, I’ll give you a suggestion of what worked when my puppy used to scream during baths:

Try giving her a yummy treat when you put her in the tub, and another afterwards. Give her something that will take a while to consume. (I smeared peanut butter on the walls of the shower, but that might not work in your case. :smiley: )You’re washing her anyway, so it doesn’t matter if it’s gooey, and it might make her start to see bathtime as something pleasant.

Is she old enough to “wash” you? Maybe if she has some control in the situation she won’t be so nervous.

When I was little, my mother bathed me in the kitchen sink. It’s a little easier to control than a grown-up sized bathtub, and maybe she’d feel more in control than in the big echoey slidey bathtub? You’d have to move the dirty dishes out, though.

Although it might be genius - wash the baby, wash the dishes, pop them both on the drying rack and go watch some TV. :slight_smile:

Our kidlet went through a period of hating baths at about the same age, but we just didn’t stress it. We, I guess sponge-bath is the best phrase. Didn’t get her near the bath, but got her clean through other methods. After a few weeks, she jumped back in, and never looked back. I think it’s good to let her know she can decide not too, as long as there is a good alternative. And not traumatizing her about baths is good too.

I did this with Kid Kalhoun. He loved it and I felt like I had much more control. Slippery babies and all…

How about giving your baby her very own baby to bath during this time? Great distraction and she can be a mommy to it.
Given the fact that my kids could live in the bathtub, I’ve never had this issue, but the peanut butter on the wall is the best I’ve ever heard :slight_smile:
Are there any possibilities that she is allergic to the soap?

Are you using PH balanced baby shampoo ( which is very drying to baby hair but ok for the eyes.)

How often do you bathe her. How often do you wash her hair…

Like kids don’t stink like grown ups. They really don’t need baths every day unless they are playing in dirt. Sponge them down most days and they’ll do fine.

If you are washing her hair every bath, stop. Perhaps her anxiety is over the hair washing. We washed our kids hair “beauty parlour style” with the sprayer attachment while they laid on the counter. Kept the soap out of the eyes and they thought that was a much better deal. Only wash hair when it is needed until she gets over the anxiety.

Also, swim lessons were AMAZINGLY helpful to get my kids to relax about water in the face. But it took six solid months of swim lessons.

Can you get some kind of shiny nifty toy that can be played with both in and out of the bath tub? Maybe part of it some days is that she’s taken away from her toys, and she’d rather be playing with them? Or, does she like to color? Maybe get some of those soap crayons and let her color on herself to help get herself clean? (Making it clear to her that these are special crayons only to be used at bath time.) Let her do that after washing her hair, tell her that she can color after her hair is done? She probably doesn’t need her hair shampooed every day as it is, but maybe not. Recipe for home made soap crayons. I can remember I hated the water on my face as a child too. The washcloth over the face while rinsing worked for me as well. Just be careful not to let it become a wick. I tilted my head back and mom made sure I didn’t have the wash cloth too high up before she rinsed. Good luck, hope some of the suggestions in this thread help you.

Oh, the other thing that occurred to me was diaper rash. If she has diaper rash, it probably hurts to sit in the tub. Make sure the diaper rash gets resolved and then you may have a more pleasant bathtime.

And as long as I’m editing - at that age my kids loved to play with shaving cream. We also discovered foaming shampoo was far more popular. Both will act enough like soap to get them clean enough. Foaming shampoo and shaving cream don’t tend to be cheap (and foaming shampoo can be hard to find, too), but the foaming shampoo was really helpful at shampoo time as well.

Another point on Dangerosa’s thought train. AFAIK, it’s possible for very young girls (and boys, but less so) to get yeast infections from being in the bath too long. Adults can also grow yeast infections this way. Bubble bath can irritate things and help it to grow. If she’s had a diaper rash that doesn’t quite want to heal, you might let her pediatrician have a look at it and mention that she takes frequent tub baths. (Or bubble baths if you do them.) IANAD though, so go by your Pediatrician’s knowledge base over mine.

Speaking of bubbles, do you know how to blow bubbles with your hand? Curl your hand like you’re making an OK sign, except curl all your fingers together. Smooth a soap film over the circle formed by your thumb and fingers. Gently blow, and you should get a bubble coming out by your pinkie finger.

You could also give her bubbles to play with in the tub.