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Bath time terrors

(18 Posts)
BalancingStick Mon 09-Apr-18 12:01:10

My DD is 16 months old.  She has been in the bathtub 4-5 times a week since she was born.  However in the past two weeks she has developed what I can only describe as sheer frightening terror of the bath.  I have never heard screaming like it – it is frightening for me!  It sounds like she is being murdered.  The intensity of the fear is shocking.  It starts as soon as she can see the bath, she fights like crazy when I lower her into the bath and shrieks for as long as she is in there.  It is traumatic for both of us.  My DH is now refusing to bath her as he finds it too distressing.  I have an older DS (2.5 years) who is happily playing alongside her in the bath.  There hasn’t been any incidents in the bath which I can say led to this fear.  One day she was fine and the next day just freaking out.
I’m not sure what to do – obviously she needs to be washed and cleaned but I need her to feel more comfortable in the bath, we cannot carry on as is.  Any advice?  We were about to start taking her swimming but I’m now thinking that a swimming pool will be her worst nightmare!

LapinR0se Mon 09-Apr-18 12:06:33

Have you tried getting in with her?

Twickerhun Mon 09-Apr-18 12:07:13

My son went through a brief phase at the same age of real terror about the bath.
I kept him out of the bath for a week or more and just washed him with wet wipes. He was fine after a break. I’d say don’t push it, have a long break from bath times then try again in the future. If she doesn’t bath for a week or two it won’t hurt her.

FartnissEverbeans Mon 09-Apr-18 12:37:12

DS went through this too. I climbed in myself and let him play with his toys from the outside. I also turned the tap on to get him interested.

BalancingStick Mon 09-Apr-18 15:55:48

Thanks everyone – some really good suggestions here.  Not sure why I hadn’t thought of getting in there with her myself (probably because I never take a bath and always shower).  I think I’ll give this a go, taking it really slow and trying to make it fun etc.  If that doesn’t work then maybe just taking a good long break from the bath and just washing her down with a flannel/ wipe.  Will give it a go and see what happens

Twickerhun Mon 09-Apr-18 16:57:44

We tried the getting in thing and it didn’t work - but worth a try for you
Good luck

seven201 Mon 09-Apr-18 18:58:59

My daughter did this although she was younger. Lasted about a month. We found playing with toys outside of the bath together then showing her them being put in the bath helped. We also got in with her.

BalancingStick Tue 24-Apr-18 08:59:09

So getting in hasn't worked. In fact it was worse as she was shrieking straight into my ear! What has made things a little easier is just putting a couple of inches of water in the bath - she still cries but not as intense. More of a wail than a scream. Also I tried her bath chair in the walk-in shower - chair not positioned under the shower but down the other end. Again - not a total success but definitely a bit less traumatic.

user1494670108 Tue 24-Apr-18 09:05:58

I made the mistake of joking that the plug hole gurgling was the bath monster - durrr!
We had many weeks of wiping down with a flannel, she came to no harm, in the end it was going on holiday to a different bath that changed it - not practical I know but do you have a friend or parent nearby where you might try to bathe her? Swimming was unaffected for us so don't be scared to try it.
Otherwise maybe have her in the bathroom with you while you bath sibling and dip flannel in water to wash her at same time.

Scentofwater Tue 24-Apr-18 09:41:19

Is the bath too cold for her? DD hated the bath for a few weeks until I realised I was over cautiously making it too cool.

SparklyMagpie Mon 30-Apr-18 18:20:14

I was coming on here to start my own thread about DS 2 currently doing this! It's nice to know I'm not alone!

He's always loved his baths,been a real water baby but the last couple of weeks it's been awful sad his dad is having the exact problem at his also.
The other night we got ready for a bath and I was literally stood in it with him wrapped around me not wanting to at all, after 15 minutes I managed to crouch down with him still wrapped around me. Finally managed to get him in it which he immediately stood up,he was fine pouring the jug of water on himself and helping wash me and letting me wash him, but he wouldn't sit down. I got out to get dry which he then lay on his front to splash about son was ok but since it's the same

I assume it's just a phase and to stick it out? I've had to delay potty training again as he has also developed a new fear of sitting on the toilet sad

I'll stick at it and go at his pace. Hope it got sorted for you OP x

Amomentofbeauty Mon 30-Apr-18 18:25:14

We had this. I backed right off the baths and wiped her / flanneled her in between. It lasted a long time and every infrequent bath was a screamathon but she just outgrew it in the end and now absolutely loves her baths. It was a very long time though!

overmydeadbody Mon 30-Apr-18 18:28:05

This happened with DS.

We swapped to showers for a few months and then he asked to get in the bath again one night.

SparklyMagpie Mon 30-Apr-18 19:40:34

Thing is DS absolutely loved the run up to bath time, us filling it,pouring in the bubbles and his favourite part putting all his toys in, it was just completely random how this turned, I wonder why it is? Seeing as there are a lot of us who are going through/have gone through this.

Just so glad I know to just see it through and wait until he's ready.

mooglycrunch Mon 30-Apr-18 19:51:39

20 month old DS had this twice. It was like trying to get a cat in the bath - he clung on and developed about 10 arms and legs.
I think he may have had a touch of nappy rash that obviously hurt when water touched it, the second time we haven't a clue why it happened.
After holding off for a few days we went back to him playing by the bath, then in an empty bath, then in an empty bath with the water turned on, then a few inches of water. Just basically just as slowly as possible, building up every few days with a bit more water etc....
He is now absolutely fine and cries when we take him out of the bath!

ipswichwitch Mon 30-Apr-18 19:58:15

We hadn’t this with DS1, for no reason I could ever fathom. We got the paddling pool, put it in the kitchen and put just enough water in to cover the bottom. Then tipped a bag of plastic balls on top so he couldn’t see the water (the sort you get in the ball pit at soft play, about £5 for a big bag).

He thought it was great, the kitchen got a good splashing though! After a couple of days of this I told him the paddling pool had a hole so we’d put the balls in the bath (with an inch of water). He got in with no problem and bathtime was fine after that. We just put a bit more water in each day.

Bit of a palaver having the paddling pool out, but at first he wouldn’t even get in the bath when it was empty - the screaming was horrendous!

SparklyMagpie Tue 01-May-18 08:25:29

The idea of putting those small plastic balls into the bath is genius !! I have a couple of bags so I think I will try this tonight :D
Unfortunately not enough room to put a paddling pool inside but appreciate some tips

Will also start filling the bath only a little as to not waste water, I'm sure he'll be back to loving it again soon

Twofishfingers Tue 01-May-18 08:29:16

Loads of toddlers go through that phase. I ended up putting a washing up bowl on the kitchen floor with towels underneath it, leave DS in his nappy and let him play in the water. I'd use a flannel to give him a quick wash. That way he became less scared of water because it became more fun, and eventually got in the bath again.

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