Does bathing your baby always end with a meltdown and you don’t know what to do anymore? These easy tips to calm your baby after a bath will fix all that for you.
For most babies, bathing is always accompanied by giggles, lots of splashes, and excitement.
In some instances though, this fun time often ends in tears.
If this is you every day, don’t worry. There is a solution.
There are various reasons why your baby might have a meltdown after a bath (or even during).
The reasons are outlined below as well as tips on how to calm your baby after bathing.
Keep reading to find different ways to turn bathtime into a more fun enjoyable activity for you and your baby.
Why Do Babies Cry After A Bath
Babies cry for various reasons after taking a bath.
Although most of the time the reason can be easy to get around to, sometimes it may be something more serious that you need to look into.
Here are common reasons why babies cry after bathing.
Your Baby Enjoys Bath time
For most babies, the excitement of making direct contact with warm water while splashing and squeezing bath toys is a total joy.
When that fun is cut short, it can result in a meltdown.
The Room Is Too Cold Or Too Hot
Taking your clothes off in a cold room is enough to put a frown on anyone’s face.
Small babies don’t regulate their temperatures as well as we do.
When you take them out of a warm bath into a cold room, the temperature difference can be quite uncomfortable.
With no other way to let you know how they feel, your baby’s only form of communication is crying.
Your Baby Is Overtired
For most people, a relaxing bath at the end of a long busy day is definitely something to look forward to.
For some of us, taking a bath when you are already exhausted makes things worse.
The same goes for babies.
Your baby probably doesn’t enjoy bathing when all they want to do is to sleep.
Baby Doesn’t Like Being Fiddled With
This is common during the newborn stage.
While still in the womb, your little one enjoys calmness all day long without being touched.
Once they come into the world, the idea of being touched and coming into contact with foreign surfaces can be upsetting.
This is why newborns usually cry so much when bathing, they still need to get used to being fiddled with.
It is common with your baby’s first bath and doesn’t usually take longer than a month.
If your little one still cries hysterically after your first week at home, use the tips on this post to prevent a meltdown.
You Are Taking Too Long And Your Baby Is Getting Impatient
With their short attention span, babies can easily get bored and irritated with an activity that takes too long.
If they already don’t like being touched, taking too long to put on a diaper and getting them dressed will make matters worse.
You Baby Is Unwell
If your baby is not feeling well, maybe they have a cold or a fever, taking a bath can upset them, especially if all they want to do is rest.
In some cases, if your baby has a diaper rash, eczema, etc, taking a bath can make their skin itchy, more especially if you are using baby products with harsh chemicals.
How To Calm A Baby After Bathing
Rule Out Any Serious Reasons
Make sure there is no serious reason causing your baby to cry during bath time.
Sometimes when your baby is not feeling well, maybe they have a fever, for example, taking a bath can help lower their temperature.
Sadly, in some instances, a baby with a high temperature feels out of sorts and might not enjoy bathing.
In some cases, your baby cries when bathing because the bath products are irritating their skin.
If your baby suffers from eczema, baby products made with harsh chemicals and fragrances strip the skin’s moisture and worsen the condition.
This bath shampoo works really well on my baby’s eczema-prone skin.
You should also rule out any allergic reactions to bath products in the form of a rash.
That could be a sign that the products you are using are burning your little one’s skin and causing it to itch.
If all is clear, follow the following tips to calm your baby after a bath.
Pick The Right Time To Bath
Bathing your baby at the wrong time may lead to a total meltdown during or afterward.
It is not about the exact time to bathe your baby, but it is all about how your baby is feeling when you start bathing them.
Avoid bathing your baby when they are too tired, hungry, or generally irritable.
If they are already complaining about something, sort that out before bathtime, e.g. feed or soothe them first.
Maybe you prefer giving your baby a bath at night, when should you do it?
The best time to bathe a baby at night would be a few minutes after supper but before the very last milk feed. This way they won’t be too hungry or too full.
Similarly, if your little one loves morning baths, do this after they have eaten breakfast or after their first milk feed.
Prepare Everything Before You Start Bathing Your Baby
Let us be honest, everything goes way better when you are prepared.
Unfortunately, always being prepared is difficult when you are juggling life with a new baby.
Try and prepare everything beforehand so you don’t take long to get the baby dressed.
So how can you make preparation easier when you are already chasing time and you still have lots to do?
Here is what I do.
I take out one item or one category at a time whenever I get a chance.
For example, long before bath time, whenever I go past the bedroom I take out clothes.
When I go again I take out the lotions, next I take out the washcloth and towel.
This way I can prepare things for bathing my baby without even spending 10 minutes thinking about it.
Warm The Room
This is especially important in chilly weather.
Body temperature quickly changes in extreme weather conditions.
Coming out of a warm bath into a cold room will definitely upset your little one.
To avoid this, warm the room prior to starting so your baby won’t notice the temperature change.
I usually prefer a wall panel heater as it warms and maintains the temperature in the room without it being too hot.
An oil heater works just as well.
Take Longer In The Bath
For babies who love water (as in most babies), bathing is paradise.
If you notice that your bundle of joy enjoys splashing, allow a little more time for them to spend in the bath.
There will be protests when it is time to go out, but if they spend long enough in the bath, your baby might actually grow tired of playing in there and welcome being taken out.
Do keep an eye on the water temperature to make sure your baby doesn’t spend a lot of time in cold water.
We want to solve a problem, not create more.
This is something my baby taught me.
Whether I was changing her diaper or getting her dressed, she quickly grows impatient if I take too long.
As I said before, babies can only pay attention to one thing for a short period of time.
Taking a full hour to put on a diaper, onesie, pajamas, and combing their hair will make your baby feel like you are taking that much time disturbing her.
If you want to comb your little one and cut their nails after a bath, I suggest that you do these in batches and allow your baby to play in-between.
Quickly get your baby dressed up and give them a few minutes to play and then comb the hair.
Take a few minutes again and cut or groom the nails.
By doing this, your baby won’t feel like they have been restricted from the beginning of a bath to the end.
If your baby doesn’t mind all of this and there is no crying or complaining involved, go right ahead and combine the activities while avoiding a meltdown.
You know your baby better than I do.
Use Soft Towels
Soft towels are soothing. You cannot argue. They are so delicate on your skin.
You feel so good coming out of a warm relaxing bath to wrap yourself with a super soft towel.
This is what babies love as well.
Don’t put your little one through the agony of using rough towels after their skin has been softened even more from being inside warm water.
When buying washcloths and towels, feel them and avoid buying anything that feels too hard and dry on your hand.
Avoid Tight Clothes
There are two problems with tight clothes.
First of all, it is challenging to put them on. Secondly, they make getting dressed take longer.
This is exactly why you want to avoid them.
If your baby cries when getting dressed, you don’t want to make matters worse by forcing clothes that are ill-fitting on them and take even longer when all they want to do is be done with bathing.
Besides, sometimes you put on a t-shirt only to find that it is either inside out or you put the front to the back.
Imagine going through that whole struggle of taking it off again to fix it, while your baby is growing impatient.
Another downside to tight clothing is that it increases the chance of diaper leaks.
Do yourself a favor and get proper fitting clothes that are easy to put on and take off.
Entertain To Distract Your Baby
Entertainment is at the center of your baby’s life.
That is why we buy all these toys and always search for activities to keep them busy.
Keeping your baby distracted with a toy can be the difference between fun during a bath and a total meltdown.
You can also play music or sing to your baby.
If your baby is like mine and doesn’t usually give much attention to their toys, give an unfamiliar item that is safe for babies, like the cover of a yogurt can.
Unusual items always work for us. You should also give them a try.
Soothe Your Little One
Sometimes a little massage goes a long way.
The effects of any skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby are undeniable.
I’ve used the skin-to-skin approach a few times when my baby cried uncontrollably and could not be calmed down.
So if crying after a bath is a norm for your baby, give them a massage before getting them dressed (in a warm room of course).
Cuddling, swaddling, and rocking also work great.
Anything to soothe and calm your baby.
Be Ready To Feed Your Baby Right After Bathing
I cannot remember how this started but for some reason, my babies got used to feeding after bathing.
Even if they had a feeding before bathing.
I started planning feeding and bathing so that a feed after bathing became part of our bath routine.
If you also want to do this, plan to start at least 30 minutes to an hour before the next feed.
This is to avoid bathing your baby when they are already hungry as they will quickly grow impatient.
It is true that babies really sense when you are unsettled and that it makes them restless.
If your baby is crying and you start panicking not knowing what to do, that energy can upset them even more.
Here is what I do to calm myself down I am stressed:
I tell myself that I might be going through this for the first time but other moms are out there going through the same thing.
I also keep in mind that a lot of moms have been through it and they managed and so will I.
Another thing you should do is to follow your gut. If your baby is crying uncontrollably, if they are not well your gut will tell you.
Otherwise, if they are just irritated and there is nothing serious, just calm down and try to manage the situation.
If I had to pick only one tip new moms need to hear all the time, it would be to never panic, whatever happens.
Getting Your Baby To Enjoy Baths
Bathtime can be challenging during the first week with your baby.
You are still getting used to each other, plus your baby still needs to get used to life outside the womb.
Things like getting dressed, getting disturbed while sleeping, and of course, bathing will make your little one cry.
If your baby continues to cry during a bath or even after bathing after a few weeks, use the tips on this post to calm them down.
Watch out for different causes such as hunger, being tired, and any signs of being unwell.
Knowing the reason will make it simple for you to know which tips to apply to help calm your baby after bathing.
Follow these tips and watch your baby start to enjoy bathing.