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Baby bath-time blues

Updated: Jan 4

IBU members chat about anything under the sun, truly a way to make parenting less lonely for everyone- in the virtual world as well as in real life.

We asked our members to share their stories about bathing the little ones, and their experiences.

Here are two such stories. Jennifer Doyle and Ravpreet Kaur, thank you for taking the time out to share this with us all.

Bath time blues- Jen Doyle

Books, magazines, websites, parents, friends. There is an abundance of equipment, sources and resources you can refer to for hints, tips and advice when it comes to all things baby. When my husband and I brought our son home at 6 days old, to say we were not prepared was an understatement; equipped with baby wipes, diapers and not much else, we embarked upon one of the most life changing yet incredibly rewarding chapters of our lives.

The first bath

The day after our boy came home with us, amidst the chaos of Ikea bags and baby gear brought to us by friends and family, we began to plan out the first day and what we needed to do, which included bath time. How do we hold him? When do we bathe him? How many times a day, week? So many questions ran through our minds, until we decided to take the plunge so to speak and just do it. My brother in law calmly and confidently came to the rescue, expertly showing us how to gently bathe this tiny fragile little human. He enjoyed it! Well, that was easy, I think I can remember that for tomorrow!

Then it was our turn. That first bath time was not how I ever imagined it to be. Such a little person and oh baby, how much noise you make! My son cried so deeply that I cried with him and we were at a loss what to do next. Thinking the water was too hot, I cooled it down for the next day, but his screams persisted and his little face looked traumatised by the ordeal.

Night after night, I would quickly get him in and out of the water to avoid the stress it so clearly was causing my precious little boy. I tried switching it to morning time, once in the evening instead of twice a day, I even resorted to every other day with a bed bath inbetween, yet nothing seemed to be working. At a loss what to do next, I revisited books, websites, and reached out to friends and family who came to the rescue to help out.

No matter what you are told, the success of advice, hints, tricks and tips hang on the temperament of your child. Every single little one is special, unique and some things will work, some things won’t, so here are a few of my bathtime blues beaters that you can try for your little one to once and for all rid bathtime of those pesky woes.

Tried and tested bathtime blues beaters

For infants

  • Use a small bathtub with an infant insert or chair to keep baby secure and safe.

  • Babies are used to being wrapped up warm and cosy, first in the womb, then in their diapers, sleepsuits and swaddles, so removing all that comfort is quite the shock to their little bodies. Try placing a warm cloth over them whilst bathing to give a sense of comfort. You might even get a smile with this one!

  • Use a soft cloth to let them hold while you bathe them. Being able to clutch on to something that feels soothing will calm baby and reassure them that everything is okay.

  • Sing to baby, play soothing music or simply talk to them about what you are doing. Your voice is a huge comfort and will reassure baby that they are safe, secure and protected.

  • Keep bathtime as brief as possible but don’t rush it; you want baby to get used to the bath and as they get older, be comfortable in the water.

For toddlers

  • Bubble making toys and bubble bath in different colours work wonders as a visual and tactile stimulant and distraction to hair washing, and allow baby to explore whilst you focus on getting them squeaky clean.

  • Bathsafe toys in bright colours or their favourite characters and giving them some time to play with them before bundling them up into their robes for bedtime.

  • Take baby to swimming lessons. Not only will they learn amazing life saving skills in floating and swimming, but it will elevate potential fears of water, whether it’s at the beach or in the bath.

For mommy

  • Plan and organise bathtime so that everything is ready. Have your partner on stand by just in case you need a pair of extra hands.

  • Be kind to yourself. You won’t always get it right, and some days, baby will just not be in the mood, so don’t force it. Ask your partner to take over, or look to tomorrow, a new day, and start over.

Although we didn’t always get it right, and some days were a disaster, we’ve moved on in leaps and bounds since those first baby bathtime blues moments. My son is almost two years old now and I cannot get him out of the bath; his water friends are the highlight of his day and bubbles are his best friend! When I eventually do get him out, dinosaur bathrobe at the rescue, it’s a chase to get him settled for bedtime! But that’s a story for another day…

About the writer: Hi, my name is Jen and I am the very proud mommy of a little boy called Liam. My husband and I became parents out of the blue one sunny April afternoon, back in 2021 and we have had the most rewarding, on occasion, overwhelming, 2 years with our beautiful son.

Bath time blues- Ravpreet Kaur

‘Time to wash your hair ladies!’, the most dreaded words for my 3 young daughters at one time. I couldn’t quite figure out which part of the hair washing regime truly terrified them until my second child. How can such a clam, relaxing shower make another person so distressed?

Trust, firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone.

My child must put the world's trust in my hands to allow me to shampoo her hair, bearing in mind there is a chance some soap might get into her eye. As hard as I tell myself to shampoo as carefully as I can, I sometimes get alittle soap in(her eye). This usually is the starter to the thunderous cries of panic.

At this point, all I want to do is cry too however there is only one other thing to do. KEEP CALM. Slowly work my way to rinsing my daughters eyes without any force. Failure to maintain composure (on my part), can result in way louder thunderous cries.

Towards the tail-end of my misery, I faintly hear my husbands voice approaching. This suddenly, is the most angelic voice ever. The rest is a blur as I zone out and handover my crying babies to an exhausted husband, just home from work.

This lasted a few weeks with each child. These types of weeks were the biggest tests of my mental calm.

Through the cries and practice, I perfected my art of shampooing hair and eventually became quite the genius at it. I became so good that my daughters only wanted me to wash their hair.

My daughters began to love how I style their hair and began to trust me with their style. This major shift came when I decided to take care of myself and start looking like a human again. I started combing my own hair at least once a day, and made an effort to shower no matter how little time I had. The more I took care of myself, the more they seemed to trust me. This also gave me the confidence to be myself again. The happier I got, the easier the shower process was getting. It is all related (somehow)!

At the end of it all, we all came out looking fresher, happier and more groomed than ever. Husband included.

About the writer: While I attempt to set up a mess proof messy play station for my toddlers, I hear my husband’s whispers, “Are you sure you want to do this?” “ It’s so messy!’. For a split second I questioned my intention of this whole set up, and then I ignored it all and set up as I had initially planned. My kids made the most marvelous mess. There was no inch of my kitchen that did not have the beads they were playing with.

Oddly, I enjoyed seeing them testing these beads, transferring from one cup to another, scooping and more. Their looks of pure glee when experimenting with these beads, without instruction from any adult, is priceless. This newfound love for mess grew and became this other baby I now call Play0clock.

I am Rav, mom to 3 beautiful angels, accountant by profession, author and passionate early childhood educator and founder of PlayOClock by choice.

Dear Jen and Rav,

Thank you for sharing. You both get a goodie bag from Original Sprouts, the makers of pure skin and hair care products, for babies and up. For IBU members, there is a cash back for your purchase, do use the code while making your purchases

Team IBU

Read our article on the benefits of using a pacifier here


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