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My baby hates the bath - how can I help him like it?

My baby hates it when I wash his hair. Between non-stop screaming, splashing and a slippery baby - the whole experience just about brings me to tears too! How can I make bathtime a pleasant (but clean) experience?

Charity | Expert


Washing a baby's hair can be tricky, especially when she is fussing. There are some things you can do to make it easier:

Wash hair first: 

One thing that I learned with my kids is to get the washing part of bath time done first.  If you let her play first and try to wash her hair when she is ready to get out, she will already be frustrated.  

Hair washing 2x week:

Another thing to keep in mind is that her hair does not need to be washed at every bath time.  Once or twice a week is usually sufficient.  If she gets food in her hair, try cleaning it with a wet wash cloth.  

Special equipment:

As far as the actual washing goes, there are some products you might find helpful:

  • A shampoo shield will help keep the water from getting on her face.
  • For an older child, goggles might be helpful.  

Keep it fun:

Giving her a chance to wash her doll's hair might ease her into the process and make hair washing more fun.  The most important thing is to try to keep bath time fun.  

Eventually you will find a method that works and she will get used to having her hair washed.

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Jocelyn | Expert


Introduce some water safe toys to the bath. Babies will love to hold onto a ducky or rattle while in the water.

Make splashing around a "fun" thing to do so that the splashing of the water when washing the hair isn't as much of a shock to your child.

The truth of the matter is, I have never seen a baby that likes having their hair washed. Focus on the rest of tub time being fun and do what you can to make hair washing as quick and painless as possible.

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Heather | Expert


We had this with our son, who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

He was very sensitive to the water and getting water on his face and hair.

Try this 3-step way to help make bathtime easier:

  1. Give a toy to him to hold and be distracted with first. 
  2. Then sing or talk in soothing tones to get him to relax. 
  3. Use a washcloth to wet the hair while continuing with the soothing tones. Then proceed to washing. 

It is difficult because babies don't understand why they are cold and wet. Sometimes you can engage the child in splashing water as soon as they are aware. 

Give the baby a bath a couple times a week. By increasing frequency, the experience becomes less scary. Pretty quickly the baby realizes that taking a bath is fun.

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