Author Topic: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath  (Read 2225 times)

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Offline Mayu

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15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« on: February 03, 2006, 02:28:33 am »
My 15 mos old started to refuse bath at night about 1 week ago. We were giving her bath every night up to that point, but for a week now she hasn't taken a bath. And I think she's refusing it because she's scared.

She's OK when I tell her I start the bath, and just keeps playing in the living room while the water is running (which she can hear). I stop the water, bring out towels, tell her it's bath time, and takes her to the bathroom; she's still fine. I let her stand by the tub facing the water, at which point she'd turn back and cling to me. I tell her to put her bath toys in the tub, which she somewhat reluctantly does. As soon as I tell her now I'll take off her clothes and put my hands on her shirt, she starts sobbing and demands that I pick her up. I don't want to force her into the tub so I give up at this point and pick her up. I'd then try to cheer her up and get her interested in the bath by pointing to the toys etc. but she continues to cling to me and whines and cries until I get her out of the bathroom. ::)

At first I thought it would be a temporary thing, and after 3 nights of this I didn't give her bath (didn't even fill the tub) for 4 days. Then 2 nights ago I tried again, only to meet the same refusal/crying. Now I'm worried when I can ever give her a bath again. I honestly have no idea what she doesn't like about bath, but I just have a feeling she's scared of something. She has no episode of slipping or hurting herself in any way in the bath. One thing I can think of is she had a diaper rash 2 nights before this started, and it might have hurt to be in warm water with it. But the rash was largely gone by the night she started to refuse the bath. ???

Can anyone suggest how I can make the bathtime fun for her again and encourage her to get in? She was never a type to get overly excited in the tub but always liked to quietly play with her bath toys. I don't want to force her into the water when she's scared, but she really needs a bath at some point soon  :'(

Sorry for the long post. I'd really appreciate any suggestions!

Offline GG

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2006, 22:31:31 pm »
I think you need to figure out what she's afraid of first.  The water itself or the water coming out of the faucet? Maybe she swallowed a little bit of water once and she's afraid??  Maybe she's afraid of being in the tub?

Do you, by any chance, have a small tub handy, maybe one you used when she was a baby?  If so, why not try setting a bath in that, outside of the tub, with all her toys and just a little bit of water?  If not, then how about setting up her toys in the tub without the water and making it an extended playtime?  Next time, try with just a little bit of water, just enough for her to feel and see it.

And don't worry too much about her not being clean.  As long as her tushy is being cleaned after diapers, just wipe her with a cloth and she's in good shape until you can get down to the bottom of her bath fears.

Good luck!
Georgia, mom to 3 sweet babes: touchy Foti, spirited Lena & not-so-tiny Joanna




Offline Mayu

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2006, 03:04:12 am »
Thank you so much for your response!

Before I read your post I tried several things - I tried with a few inches of water in the tub (DD refused to even take off her socks), and then bought bunch of bath toys for entertainment (she played with them by the tub without water in it, and with clothes still on). This evening DH tried to take bath with her with a few inches of water. DD was distracted with the toys while getting undressed, but cried nervously as I handed her over to DH in the tub. DD tolerated some washcloth cleaning, but after less than 1 minute we had to get her out. I then wrapped her in her favorite bathtowel and DH washed her hair while I was holding her in my arms, which she seemed to enjoy.

I still don't know what scares her about bath, and I don't know how I can figure it out  :'( She hasn't drunk water, and really, as far as we can remember, there has been no incident where she cried in the tub (which she undoubtedly would do if something bothered her) before all this started. I am really confused.

At least she's clean now, so I'll step back further and try to work on this little by little. I don't have the baby tub anymore, so I'll try with the toys for a while...

Offline GG

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2006, 14:33:08 pm »
Honestly, there doesn't need to have been an incident for her to be afraid.  I've read that it could just be her growing awareness that triggers it.  It doesn't make sense to us but it obviously does to her.  As you said, just take it slow.  She'll eventually get over it (with some luck it'll be sooner rather than later!).

Good luck!
Georgia, mom to 3 sweet babes: touchy Foti, spirited Lena & not-so-tiny Joanna




Offline hikenboots

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2006, 18:26:54 pm »
A diaper rash can certanly send them over the edge.  Happened to my LO once.  Fortunately it wasn't an issue.  She was able to climb back in after the rash went away.  How about trying a shower?  Or just having her sit in the empty tub and you sponge her off with water from the sink.  Perhaps then she'll slowly get back in.  Do you have a pool you can take her too?  Maybe she'll see how fun water is and be tempted to get in the tub again.  Can she fit in the kitchen sink?  Or how about a fun toy that she hasn't played with before in the tub, like a tea set, or bubbles - to help ease her back in.  What aboout letting her get in with her swim suit or a swim diaper on...Gosh I don't know, but she's got to have a bath soon!

Good luck,  hope you find the source of the upset. 

Amy
Tillery 7-25-02
Baby John 4-22-04

Offline moxalot

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2006, 03:33:14 am »
Hi...

I'm having the same problem. My LO screams in the tub now. Just a few weeks ago she just loved it. She's also 15 months old.

I feel so bad for her. I wish I knew what the matter was too. But I think I'll try some of the suggestions.

Hopefully both our LO's will soon once again love bath time....

Best Wishes,
Sarah    : )

Offline mari

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2006, 19:40:24 pm »
try the little hand held shower that she can even hold herself perhaps.  Just put the water on warm and gentle.  What about even putting on arm band, rubber rings etc to make believe she is going for a swim!

Offline Mayu

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2006, 01:58:40 am »
Thanks for all your advice and suggestions! Sarah, I hope your situation is getting better even a little. I'm sorry I didn't write back sooner - I just couldn't find anything I could offer and was waiting for more suggestions for myself.

After almost 4 months, I think I finally figured out our problem (I'm so glad the past 4 months were cold!). I suspected that my dd was afraid of water in general, but it turned out that she was scared of water tricking down on her face.

So last week I started to prepare her bath. She started to cry nervously, and I said, "it's OK, you don't have to go in yet." Then I took out her bath toys and displayed by the tub. She wanted to play with them, and I said, "no, you play with these in the tub." Then I took out her duckie hooded towel and kitty washclothes and placed by the tub. Again she wanted to play with the duckie towel, and I said, "no, you use this after the bath." Then finally I took out a new bath book (she is a bookworm), and told her, "we can read this book in the tub." Then I undressed her, told her she'd be ok and she won't get any water in her face, and put her in the bath chair. She cried and murmured "it's OK, it's OK" until I gave her the bath book, which completely distracted her. Then I spend probably good 10 minutes or so just reading the book with her in the tub. After that she didn't cry once, and I took extra care not to drip any water on her face when washing her hair (she refused to wear a visor I offered). This whole process took more than 1 hour.
A few days ago I did the same process with a new bath book. She didn't cry until I tried to put her in the bath chair, which was a major progress! (Since January she was crying as soon as I started to wash the tub.) I think I'm on the right track. I have 2 more new bath books, and I'll do bath in 2 or 3 days. (For the past 4 months, dd sometimes went for 2 weeks without a bath because I gave her bath only when it was completely unacceptable.)

It was accidental that I confirmed her fear of water in face, but now that I think, I knew she didn't like it from the beginning. But I didn't address the issue partly because I didn't think it would become such an ordeal, but also because it was dh who was giving her bath. I used to hear occasional cry from the bathroom followed by "oh it's OK, I'll dry your face off." It was hard to tell dh my suspicion, but now that things are getting better, I told him what I thought the problem was. Hopefully it didn't hurt him, but he seemed rather happy when he said "I think you'll have to give her bath for a while, because I'm not good at keeping water away from her face"!

Sorry for the long post.. I'm happy that I can finally report back on this issue, and I can only hope that my little experience might help someone.

Offline moxalot

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Re: 15 mos old suddently scared of bath
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2006, 03:34:14 am »
Hi...

I'm glad the bath situation has gotten better. It's gotten better for us too.

I also figured out that she didn't like to sit on the bumpy tub floor. Before I had had a mat in the tub and took it out. So she pretty much is just know starting to sit back down in the tub. And hates to get out.   ;)

Hope all is well.

Sarah   :)