Development Physical & Emotional

Why Does My Baby Hate Bath Time? 6 Ways To Calm Them

Giving your newborn baby a bath is important not only to keep them clean, but also because it can help build a calm and consistent routine before bed.

So the last thing any parent wants is a baby that hates their bath, kicking and screaming at the mere sight, sound or touch of a bath.

The good news is that as with most things in the challenging newborn phase, this will pass soon as things get easier.

But in the meantime let’s look at the reasons why your baby dislike baths, what you can do about it, and how to make bath time easier and more fun for a baby.

Why Does My Baby Hate Their Bath?

If you can pinpoint the reason why your baby dislikes bath time, then you’ll be in a much better position to come up with the best and most effective solution.

Here are 5 common reasons why your little bundle might not be taking well to the water right now:

1. Temperature

Getting the temperature right is a tricky one, because babies get cold easily.

But at the same time they have much sensitive skin than adults, so the water temperature shouldn’t be too hot.

According to experts, you should bathe your baby quickly to avoid then getting cold, and the water temperature should be around 100° Fahrenheit (F) or 37.8° Celsius (C).

What should the correct water temperature for a baby’s feel like?

If the water feels warm – but not hot – then it should be comfortable for your little one.

Anything colder and they might be uncomfortable, and if it feels hot to you then it’s probably burning your baby’s sensitive skin.

Both of these scenarios will probably lead to your baby hating their bath, however appealing it seems to mom and dad.

And while we’re on the subject of temperature, don’t forget the air temperature in the room in which you’re bathing your child.

What you want is an air temperature that’s comfortably warm, because a wet baby can be easily chilled.

2. Scared

Whether we’re talking newborn babies or grown adults, new experiences can be scary at first.

Especially for a baby that doesn’t understand or has no concept of what’s going on.

So another common reason why your baby doesn’t like bath time might be because they are afraid.

If you suspect this is the case, it’s wise not to force them into the bath, because this is no time for tough love.

Instead, try using some of the techniques below that other parents use to make bath time more fun.

If you’re still struggling, you might want to consider running a big bath and getting in the bath with you baby.

Nothing is more comforting to a baby then their mamma, so there’s a much better chance of being relaxed if they can cling on to you and snuggle close to your body when they are in the water.

Small Feet of a Baby In A Bath

3. Hungry

A hungry baby is a hangry baby, and the last thing you want to be dealing with is an angry baby at bath time.

If you’re currently scheduling their bath at times when they may be peckish, then this could be the reason things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like.

So it’s a good idea to time bathing around feeding, because a well-fed baby is much more likely to be accommodating than a newborn who is craving their milk.

Related: Navigating Your Child’s Early Development

4. Tired

Quite simply, if your baby is tired or exhausted before their bath, then they are much more likely to kick up a fuss while bathing.

Some of the main signs to look out for in assessing whether your baby is tired include yawning, clenched fists, pulling at the ear, sucking on fingers and having a worried look on their face.

If you spot any of the above then it’s definitely not a good idea to undress your little one and plunge them in a pool of water – how would you like it if the roles were reversed!

So just as you want your baby to be well fed before bath time, you should also ensure they are well rested too.

5. Uncomfortable

Lastly, another common reason why your baby might be crying, kicking and screaming during bath time is because they’re trying to tell you the experience is uncomfortable.

This is where a device like a bath seat might come in handy, as they can help keep your baby warm and relaxed.

In addition, bath seats are great for babies that are afraid of the water, because they avoid the need to be fully immersed in water.

Blooming Bath Lotus Baby Bath Seat ($39.99, Amazon)

How To Make Bath Time Fun

We’ve taken a look at how to calm newborns during bath time, so now let’s see what we can do to take things up a notch and make bath time the best activity of the day!

Probably the most effective technique in making baths more fun for a baby revolve around that tried and tested baby calming technique – distractions!

Here are six tips and pieces of advice that are definitely worth trying:

  1. Singing & Dancing: Your baby is your number one fun and loves your voice, so make the most of this and put on a performance while they’re bathing. It will not only distract them, but you’ll hopefully love finding your voice too!
  2. Toys: From the classic rubber ducky to fish, boats or other soft toys, toys are one of the best ways to make bath time more fun and interactive.
    Munchkin Ocean Squirts Baby and Toddler Bath Toy, 8 pack ($10.49, Amazon)
  3. Pretend Play: Talking of toys, the younger your baby is, the more you will need to play with their toys in order to keep them engaged.
  4. Books: Invest in some of those rip proof, chew proof and water proof bath books, which are great at holding your child’s attention (not to mention they’re great at getting them to sit still for more than a few seconds).
    JOYIN 12 Pcs Bath Books, Nontoxic Fabric Soft Crinkly Cloth Books ($25.99, Amazon)
  5. Take Extra Care To Avoid Getting Water In Their Eyes: Nothing will kill the mood more quickly than getting water in your baby’s eyes, so take extra care when washing their hair and face.
  6. Be Prepared: Lay out all those things such as your baby’s towel, toiletries, fresh diaper and clean clothes before the bath begins, so the transition and smooth and fast once they get out (as opposed to slow and chilly).


So there we have it.

Hopefully you are now in a much better position to assess why your baby dislikes their bath, and more importantly, what you can do about it to make bath time the fun and special time that it should be.

If you stick with it, stay patient, and try the solutions above, it hopefully won’t be long before your little one loves the spa-like feeling that comes from a warm, soothing and relaxing bubble bath!

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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