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Bath Phobia in 18 month old

(7 Posts)
HilzWM Thu 17-Jan-13 11:08:30

My DS used to enjoy his bath until a few weeks ago. We accidentally left our bathmat behind at relatives house after xmas and my DH was bathing him without it. He wasn't paying as much attention as he should have been and DS slipped, fell and ended up completely under water and totally freaked out. He was never a fan of hairwashing/water in his eyes at the best of times.
Since then, whenever we bath him (always WITH a bathmat now!), he starts crying and wailing as soon as he's undressed and refuses to sit down in the bath. He just stands there clinging to me for dear life and screaming. We've tried distracting him with toys and songs. I've tried getting in the bath with him. I've tried putting less water in. It's gone from being a normal enjoyable part of his bedtime routine to being totally stressful for everyone. It's not tantrum-related, he does seem genuinely terrified. He calms down once he's dressed for bed. Now, he only gets a bath every 2 days or so and we just wash his hair about once a week.
I just don't know what to try next, or whether this will just go away on its own. Trying to clean him without getting him wet just does't work very well!

StupidFlanders Thu 17-Jan-13 11:18:31

I had a similar experience and bathed him with a washer for ages or he had showers with the rubber mat and heaps of toys. The shower head was pointed away from him and I never pushed it. Years later he still doesn't enjoy bath time but its not a problem and he has one every night.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 17-Jan-13 11:52:46

What a shame. Keep up the occasional bath but maybe switch to showers as StupidFlanders suggests.

My DS was like this until his DSis arrived - she was the opposite, loved water so he took his cue from her. We also had some friends stay over, DS gained confidence sharing a bath with their little boy. When the warm weather comes try and get the idea of water being fun going. Low key, relaxed, like toys in the bath or shower he'll start associating water with fun.

HilzWM Thu 17-Jan-13 11:58:09

Thanks guys, I would try the shower but unfortunately it's one of those ones with a large non-detachable head fixed to the wall, so he would end up getting water on his face for sure. There have been a couple of poo-related emergency showers ages ago, which he didn't take too kindly to!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 17-Jan-13 12:10:16

Well top and tail and flannel inbetween and build up gradually. It does leave everyone on edge anticipating the uproar, and wiped out afterwards. We had well meaning friends advising us, "Just dunk him in!" uhuh thanks for that.

Yfronts Thu 17-Jan-13 13:02:41

get in the bath with him. hot water on your feet, toddler warm water round your chest where toddler is.

HardlyEverHoovers Thu 17-Jan-13 13:19:35

had similar experience at similar age due to very unwisely trying to give DS a shower. Didn't make a big deal out of it, just had a bath when needed it, just got him in and out as quickly as possible and tried to be comforting. After a few weeks he stopped crying and now loves it again.

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