why does my baby hate bath time

Why Does My Baby Hate Bath Time?

Bath time with a new baby can be tricky! A tiny baby + water + soap + nervous new parents doesn’t exactly sound like the recipe for a calm experience. Some of our clients are nervous to give their baby their first “real” bath and wait for one of our postpartum doulas to walk them through it. Others will ask us, ” why does my baby hate bath time?”

First, rest assured that if your baby seems less than thrilled with bath time you are not alone. Second, and more importantly, there are things you can try to make bath time more enjoyable for your baby. Are you ready to hear what they are?

Why does my baby hate bath time?

Babies are not as complex as you may think. Their list of dislikes is fairly basic: being hungry, soiled, and cold are the top three. Provided your baby has been fed within 2 hours of bath time, and your baby is now naked and ready for the bath, the first two on that list are not the culprits. That leaves one thing: cold. Without a doubt, this is the main culprit for why your baby hates bath time.

How hot should my baby’s bath water be?

You will want to make sure that the bath water is warm enough that baby won’t be cold. For this reason it should be just slightly warmer than body temperature, so right around 100°F. I strongly recommend using a tub thermometer to ensure the water is at the right temperature.

What is the best baby tub?

When choosing a tub for your baby, you will want to look for one that allows your baby to be partially submerged in the water. Once baby has gotten wet, being able to stay in the water will help them stay warmer. Think about when you get into a pool and then part of your body that was wet becomes exposed to the air. That part of you gets cold. For that reason, I personally do not recommend the tubs that do not have a basin for water to sit.

Here are some of our favorite baby tubs:

  1. The First Years Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling
  2. Summer Infant Comfort Height Bath Tub
  3. Skip Hop Moby Baby Bath Tub

How can I prevent my baby from crying in the bath?

Now that we’ve established that the main reason babies “hate the bath” is because they don’t like being cold, we can work on addressing that to make bath time a more pleasant experience.

Make Sure Baby Stays Warm

  1. My best tip for helping keep baby warmer during bath time is to take a wet wash cloth and place it over baby’s abdomen. You can re-wet the wash cloth as needed to help baby stay warm. A plain wash cloth will do the trick, but you can also use a hand towel or a Warm Up Cuddler, which is specifically designed for this purpose.
  2. Raising the temperature of the bathroom to 75-78°F can also help baby stay warm when in the bath. Even when the room is warm, baby can get chilled when coming out of the water, so our first tip is still important.
  3. If there is someone else home and you have ready access to a dryer, you could have them put the towel in the dryer to warm up during bath time, or you could use a warming towel stand. I wouldn’t be surprised if baby still fussed a little even if they were exiting the bath to a warm towel – they can still get a slight chill between coming out of the water and being wrapped up.

Once you take your baby out of the tub, quickly wrap him/her in the towel and cover them up. Rub them dry with the towel still on their body. When baby is mostly dry you can then unwrap baby and make sure you thoroughly dry them and all their little skin folds.

We hope that you find these tips helpful and that wondering, “why does my baby hate bath time?” becomes a question of the past.


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Cord Care – What the Heck Do I Do with My Newborn’s Umbilical Stump?


This article is for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of consultation with your baby’s pediatrician. This information does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.