Screaming in bath after traumatic experience — The Bump
Babies: 9 - 12 Months

Screaming in bath after traumatic experience

My 10 month old used to LOVE the bath, one of his favorite times of the night and mine too as I get to spend one on one time with him giving him a bath every night when I get home from work.  A few nights ago I got pure shampoo directly in his eye (Shea Moisture) and he screamed his head off and squirmed and bumped his head as I tried to flush it out with water.  The 3 nights since then, he screams when we put him in the bath and desperately tries to climb out of the tub.  I tried holding him and showering the first night and got in the tub with him for bath time the second night, to no avail.  Still screaming.

Anyone have a similar experience and advice on how to help him past his new fear?  Should I try bathing with him every night until he is past it?

Re: Screaming in bath after traumatic experience

  • I would most definitely bathe with him until he is past it. IMO he needs your reassurance until enough time has past and bath time has gained his trust again. Do whatever it takes to ease him back into it.
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  • I don't have the same experience, but something similar.  After her baptism, she became terrified of the bath.  I think it reminded her of being submerged in the water at the church (which she hated).  I just kept doing the bath every day, she screamed, I tried to distract her by showing her the toys, singing to her, etc.  Now, over a month later she is back to laughing, splashing and giggling in the bath.  It was tough, and my BP would rise every time it was close to bath time, but we got through it.  Good luck!
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  • Try a new bath toy to distract him. 
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  • My 11 month old pooped in the tub last week. My husband moved her to our master bath while I cleaned the tub.

    He got the genius idea to turn the Jacuzzi jets on while she was playing away in the tub.  She flew outta that tub and screamed in total panic.  She now freaks if we go near that tub!

    She is fine in her tub...but is so not happy in that tub. Who can blame her.

    Anyways, all we can do is keep exposing, jet free, as often as possible so she regains trust.

    I would do short baths, only fun time, skip the shampoo for awhile.  When he is calm enough for shampoo use a tear free kind to prevent a repeat.

    Lots of toys, happy face, laugh and look like it's the greatest thing on earth.  Short and sweet.  Make lots of good memories to get over that bad one!



  • We got DS back to normal tonight, thankfully.  Did not take nearly as long as I thought.  Yesterday I took the bath with him again, and I let him bring a binky, and DW sat next to the tub.  No tears, just stood up and grabbed me a lot but was pretty relaxed.  Tonight, I was able to put him in the bath alone and things were normal.  I did avoid pouring any water over his head, he hates it and always tries to scurry out of the tub, so I will hold off on tat and stick to the wash cloth for a few days.  Thanks for all of the advice!
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