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Almost 2yo suddenly terrified of bath...please help its been over a week!

(14 Posts)
practicallyimperfect Fri 05-Aug-11 17:39:52

Ds has always loved baths, in fact as a baby with reflux it was sometimes the only time he wasn't crying. Suddenly about 10 days ago he got hysterical and tried to jump out of bath. He is inconsolable, really terrified. So we washed in sink for a few days. Then at a party a few days later there was a fishing game and apple bobbing in garden trugs. He got hysterical just looking at them, trying to tip water out. He was particularly upset about anything floating in the water.

I have tried showers, tried getting in bath with him. But he is still like it. I can wash him for a while, but his hair is getting gross (he likes to rub potato and yoghurt in it!)

Any tips? Is it normal, will it pass? Do I need to be doing anything?

Tattyhead78 Fri 05-Aug-11 17:47:38

Was there something horrible in the water when he jumped up, e.g., a spider? Had he been watching anything on TV about horrible things that live in water (crocodiles etc.) or anything? Perhaps he doesn't yet understand that he can see all the way to the bottom of the bath and there is nothing lurking there - maybe you need to try and reassure him in this way. I have heard of children suddenly becoming scared of the plughole in the sink btw, maybe this is a variation.

practicallyimperfect Fri 05-Aug-11 17:56:37

Saturday night we had a normal, happy bath. Next day hysterical. I tried with no bubbles too. Argh, I just don't know what it is. And he can't tell me as he only has about 4 words, none of which correlate to this fear!

Imnotaslimjim Fri 05-Aug-11 18:01:24

Sounds like something has spooked him. You need to desensitise him. It can take a while, but start slow. Put him in the empty bath with something he enjoys playing with and encourage him to play with it. Once he is happy doing that, put a little drop in the bottom and repeat. Eventually, he will be happy to sit in a full bath again. Hair washing might be a little more troublesome, but maybe use the fact that he won't bathe to discourage him from rubbing stuff on his head?

kelloo1 Fri 05-Aug-11 18:40:01

My ds (2 and a half) was like this, loved his baths then for no reason got freaked out by them. We washed him for a few days then tried again but he still freaked out so we went back to washing. We let him see us in the bath (not together obviously, that would be weird) and sometimes he got in. It took a lot of patience but he eventually went back to normal and is no longer scared. We also let him choose his toys to take in the bath and let him watch whilst the taps were running so he could see there was nothing scary about it. Just keep doing what you are, washing and letting him in the bath with you and hopefully he will get used to it again. Good luck!

practicallyimperfect Sun 07-Aug-11 18:47:04

We have tried empty bath, and this morning he tried to get into shower with me fully clothed! But tonight hysterics again when we tried shower instead.

brettgirl2 Sun 07-Aug-11 18:58:58

So if you had undressed him would he have come into.the shower with you? Have you.tried also getting into the bath then seeing if he wants to go in?

brettgirl2 Sun 07-Aug-11 19:00:35

Haha kelloo I imagine as well as weird it would be crowded if the baby also got in!

LetUsPrey Sun 07-Aug-11 20:05:49

DS1 went through this at a similar age. Loved his baths and then suddenly all was hysterical. Not sure what caused it. I did wonder whether his skin was being irritated by whatever we were putting in the water, although not sure how this would explain why it seemed to happen overnight. Tried just water - screams. Tried just an inch of water - screams. Anyway, took him to the GP who suggested Oilatum bath milk (I think). It was probably around this time we bought him a new bath toy - a Bob the Builder one. Next bath - no screams. Cause is still a mystery. I'm not being too helpful really, am I?

Disclaimer: DS1 is now 9 and this seems so long ago but I think I've got the general gist right.

practicallyimperfect Sun 07-Aug-11 22:34:07

Thanks. Yes we have tried getting in with him and getting him to see us have baths. I wish he could tell me.

Tomorrow going to.undressing him and let him come in.shower if he wants.

theliverpoolone Sun 07-Aug-11 22:54:16

My dd did this at just under 2, too. We did the same as kelloo1 - just kept washing her instead, and occasionally trying a bath but not pushing it when she continued to freak. It took about a month, then one day tried with some new bath toys and she was fine again. Don't worry, it won't last for ever smile

manchestermummy Mon 08-Aug-11 09:37:20

DD1 was just like this from 18 mo to 3 (sorry!). In the end, we did mainly washes at the sink and fairly minimal hair washing. Sounds icky but just not worth the trauma - and she was really terrified - of full baths. Bubbles didn't work for us as she has very sensitive skin. Me bathing with her did work sometimes, but showers were a complete no-no.

Two things worked for us. One was a shield for hair washes (like a visor; got it in Tesco). The other was swimming lessons. She's been doing that since 3.3, and now at 3.10 is super-confident in all types of water. We wash her hair after her lesson as she's a;ready wet. Appealing hair toiletries worked too - strawberry shampoo and conditioner (DD1 has long hair that's very thick and prone to tangles).

olivo Thu 11-Aug-11 16:00:14

This was me, just a few months ago - all of a sudden, for no real reason, DD got hysterical over the bath. We decided to only bath her twice a week ( as opposed to every night AND DIDNT PUSH THE ISSUE, LET HER WATCH HER BIG SISTER IN THE BATH, PUT HER HANDS IN IF SHE WANTED. (oops,sorry for caps).
after about 10 weeks, one morning DH and dd1 were out, I asked DD2 if she wanted to come and splash with Mummy ( she was then about 22mo). i ran a very cool bat hand sat her beteween my legs, holding her tight. we were in for about 1/2 an hour ( brrrrr!) and just splashed a bit and poured water from cups. the enxt day we did the same, and the next, i got her to help me pur bubbles - she got in by herslef but clung to my hand. after a week of hand holding, she was back to her normal self.

i honestly thought that she would never get back in so I can sympathise. take it steady with no pressure - good luck!

OpheliaBumps Fri 12-Aug-11 14:13:38

We had this with DTS a couple of months ago (at about 22 months).

We tried a few different things, but what worked for us was running a tiny amount of water and getting him to stand in it and play splish splash, just like he did in puddles outside with his wellies on! We did this a few times, gradually adding more water, then progressed to bathing him standing up. One day for some reason he sat himself down - can't remember why, but ever since then he's been absolutely fine!

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