Baths are essential to maintaining your baby’s hygiene, as well as calming them and soothing them. Babies seem to cry either in the bath or at the sight of a bath. You are not alone in trying to calm them down. There are various reasons why your baby may be distressed in the shower. Read on to find out how you can avoid crying in the bath.
10 Reasons that your babies cry while bathing
Baby skin is more sensitive than adults. You have to be careful about the water in the bath. The temperature should not be too cold or too hot. It is recommended that the water you use for the baby’s bath is lukewarm.
The right temperature is about 37 to 38 degrees centigrade. This range is the normal body temperature. To the touch, it will be just warm. Parents should use their elbow or inner wrist to check the body temperature rather than the palm, as these areas are more sensitive to temperature than the palm. If you are unsure about the temperature, you can also get a thermometer to check the temperature before bathing your baby.
Babies are prone to nappy rash. Eczema can also develop in the inner thighs and arms, along the creases where the limbs join the body. Eczema in these places may be hard for you to notice. Your baby’s skin irritation or rash may be causing the water to sting when it hits that part of their body. The sting is even more enhanced with soap. There may also be small spots like mosquito bites that sting when water or soap touches the spot.
Check your baby thoroughly for soreness or rashes before you start bathing them. If you find any, apply some ointment to it to ease the irritation, and make sure that you do not soap that area.
The most common reason for a baby to cry is hunger. Your baby may be hungry, even though it may seem like you fed the baby only some time ago. Baby stomachs are small, and they can get hungry quite quickly.
To avoid this, try bathing your baby after giving your little one something to eat. Wait for about half an hour after the feed, though, as your baby will need this time to digest the food.
Sometimes, your baby seems to want to sleep, which could also be a reason to cry during bath time. Your baby may seem tired by the time you set up the bath and check the temperature and so on and might just want to go to sleep.
If you think this is the case, try moving the bath time earlier, or just after your baby has woken up from a nap.
Ambient temperature in the surroundings
Another commonly overlooked factor that comes into play is ambient temperatures in the bathroom. The temperature should be comfortable, so your baby does not feel cold as soon as clothes come off. The air conditioner and cooler vents should be turned away from the baby.
You should check to see if any drafts are coming through the vents in the bathroom. To make sure that your hands are not cold, it helps if you warm your hands lightly before you undress your baby. Rubbing your hands together a few times will suffice.
The flow of water
Sometimes, babies fuss or cry because of the water falling on them. They do not like a torrent of water on their bodies all of a sudden. Babies cannot deal with lots of water at once and scare them into crying. This is easily remedied. Make sure that you are pouring the water very slowly. Even if you are using a bathtub, make sure that you place your baby in the tub before filling it up slowly with water. Remember to check the water temperature before you pour it into the tub.
Soap or shampoo gets into the baby’s eyes
Another reason your baby cries during bath time is soap or shampoo getting into their eyes. This can cause a burning sensation in their eyes and make them uncomfortable. Your baby’s reflexes are not developed enough for them to shut their eyes to prevent water and suds from going into their eyes.
There are mild baby soaps and shampoos that do not cause the stinging sensation in their eyes that are available in the market. If your baby is still crying, try wiping the head with a wet washcloth or sponge to rinse the suds. There are also shampoo shields or hair-washing visors available on the market. These fit on your baby’s head like a cap or a visor and prevent the shampoo suds from going into their eyes. You could also try washing your baby’s face and hair separately from bath time.
Safety in the bath
Your baby can remember things, and a slip or fall or any other frightening experience in the bath before can lead to it being anxious during bath time. Seeing the bath can invoke a memory of the previous trauma. If you have changed your baby’s bathtub recently, like a bigger tub, this could also be a reason for your baby to be crying.
Use things like bathmats, bath beds, or other support for extra reassurance for your baby. Even something as simple as a towel at the bottom of the bath can prevent your baby from slipping.
High water levels
Newborns and babies under six months could be scared when the water levels in the bath. They should be put into a bath with water only up to their belly button. Even for older babies, it is recommended not to fill the water above the waist at any point. Also, ensure that your baby is not left alone in the bathroom, even for a few seconds.
Recent changes to the bath routine
This is another reason why your baby may be crying in the bath. Your baby could be sensitive to changes you are making, either in the bathroom or the bathing style. Even something as simple as changing the bath accessories could be a cause for your baby to become anxious. If you have just taken over bathing your baby from the nanny or a family member, your baby may take some time to adjust to the change.
Before completely changing something in the bath routine, introduce them in a phased manner. For example, if you want to take over bathing your baby from the nanny, help her with the bath for a couple of days or until your baby starts associating you as a part of bath time. When you take over, your baby will be more comfortable.
Solutions to make the bathtime fun for your baby
Here are a few more tips that will help make your baby’s bath time a less strenuous time for you and your baby.
Make bath time fun with games
Try introducing a couple of floating toys or your child’s favorite plastic toy for your baby to hold during bath time. Holding on to a favorite item during the bath can distract your baby from what is going on, making him less likely to cry and making your job easier in the process. Playing some music or talking to your baby during bath time is also recommended to keep your baby occupied.
Introduce some company
Another thing that helps with babies during bath time has some company. Your baby could like having daddy or grandmother around while taking a bath, and they will also provide enough cajoling to keep your baby occupied. If your baby has an older sibling, have them join you for the bath, or even better, give them both a bath together.
After the bath
Babies will start feeling cold as soon as the bath gets over, so have a towel handy to wipe your baby off as soon as you take him out of the bath. Using an organic cotton towel, like the ones available as part of the Ninio baby hamper, is a good choice. Wrap your baby up as soon as possible, and a cuddle from mommy can help as well.
Set a routine
Like everything else with babies, try to set a routine with bath time. Babies adapt better to things if they are done simultaneously every day. Try giving your baby roughly the same time daily so that a routine is formed. This will help them set their body clocks. Same as with feeding time, your baby will know that it is bathing time, making it easier for you and your baby.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell why your baby is crying in the shower. Your baby might just be uncomfortable, and there might be something bothering them. Try your best to figure out what it is and put your little one at ease best you can. Perseverance is key, and at some point, your baby might just grow out of whatever is putting it off.
Do not get stressed, as most babies go through this phase and will eventually start enjoying what is supposed to be the most relaxing part of the day. A massage before bath, some distractions, a check on the environment’s temperature, and bathwater will go a long way towards making bath time fuss-free.