Does your baby scream bloody murder during bath time? If your baby hates the bath, it may just be a simple matter of timing.
We tend to imagine giving our babies a soothing bath right before bedtime, and many books and well-meaning mother-in-laws also suggest it. BUT, for some babies, a bath at the end of the day is just too much stimulation.
Think about it, a baby spends 9 months in the womb where the temperature, noise level and food source remain constant. Once they are born, they are bombarded by so many new sights, smells, temperature changes, people, places and noises all day long. That it is a lot for their little brains to process. And for a new baby, overstimulation = crying.
Even though the two of you haven’t left the living room all day, a new baby can really become overwhelmed by physical, visual and audio stimulation by the end of the day. When you layer on a bath with bright lights, the feeling of water, the smell of the soap, etc. etc. it can be too much for baby to handle.
So, if your new baby hates taking a bath, try switching the time of day that you do it. Try bath time in the morning after the first feeding of the day BEFORE your baby is overstimulated. Also, dim the lights, turn off the TV and any music – limit as much of the stimulation from the physical environment as you can.
If your baby is well-rested and has a full tummy, bath time will probably be much more enjoyable for everyone!
The Doula Darcy is a mother of three and an experienced, certified postpartum doula and a member of DONA (Doulas of North America) and CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association). She has helped hundreds of new moms during the first 12 weeks home with a new baby. Home on maternity leave? Join her free Facebook Group for new moms.