Hi, my name is Kylee. I’m 21 and suffer from shower anxiety. Seriously, this is a thing! Once upon a time ago, I was in a Navy training school to earn my occupation of a Damage Controlman (DC). As a DC, I would be responsible for shipboard emergencies and firefighting. Well, one of the requirements at the end of my schooling was to take a shower. A shower from absolute hell. In this shower, I had 20 jets hitting me from 360 degrees and I had to sing the entire alphabet (slowly!) before the jets turned off. Being a person with high anxiety, this was no easy feat and took me longer than anticipated. To this day, I struggle with showers. I can’t keep my head in the stream for too long – and washing my acne medication off is a struggle. Yes, it’s honestly that bad.
Rewind 19 years. . .
I was two years old when I started to sit on the tub floor when my parents showered. However, my main source of cleanliness was baths until I was five! I still remember being an older tot and balling my eyes out over the fact ~and absolute fear~ of a shower. According to my mom, I didn’t learn how to shower on my own until I was seven.
My memories from preadolescence are fuzzy. With that being said, I do recall showers giving me slight anxiety even in high school! That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy racking up the water bill every month, though – sorry Dad!
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Teaching your baby to not fear the shower
Our little babe upgraded from the baby tub in the sink to a big girl tub when she was 7 months old! For the first month of being in the big tub, I would bathe with her to make sure she didn’t crack her head open. At 8 months, I was becoming more comfortable with the idea of her taking a bath on her own. She was listening better and standing up was no longer a new and exciting skill that she just developed. Obviously, she has always been supervised when in the tub!!! Remember, it only takes an inch of water for a baby to drown.
We made the 6,000 mile commute to visit family back in Washington State. Believe it or not, but not everybody has a slip mat in their tub. *gasp!* Fortunately, my MIL has a pretty flat tub in the guest bathroom. Since it was the guest shower, there was no caked up soap – therefor- it wasn’t slippery!
We started showering with our 9 month old by force. Okay, no we didn’t have guns pointed at our head. . . but. . . you catch my drift, right? All three of us had caught a terrible head cold during our flight. While my husband showered, my baby and I sat on the tub floor to enjoy the steam and work that congestion out. What we didn’t know, is that Evelyn would absolutely love it. She always enjoyed playing with the running water in the sink or tub. But let me tell you what, shower streams are like 47320843 times cooler and like, the best thing to ever happen. Evelyn gave it “5 out of 5” and “Will definitely come here again.”
I started out by holding her. I didn’t know how she would react to the streams and didn’t want her to drown or slip.
For baby’s first shower – I definitely recommend having your partner in there with you, or at least on stand by. I couldn’t believe how incredibly slippery that soap would make her. I’ll be honest, it was a bit of work to keep her up.
It took a couple showers of holding her to get her completely comfortable. Every time I put her on the porcelain, she would loose her cool.
Make sure to slowly introduce them to the streams. Play with the water with them, show them that it’s okay to touch it and get their head/face a little wet. Wash them slowly, you never know when they’ll become squeamish.
Fast forward a month – Evelyn loves taking showers at only 10 months old! In fact, she took two showers yesterday! We’re fortunate enough to have a mud room shower that has a completely flat tiled bottom. We put down some rubber play matting down to prevent slippage. Click on the picture to order yours!
We also have a 5 gallon bucket that is flipped upside down – it’s the perfect height for her to hold on to while standing! The bucket pools up with water and she loves splashing it off. She now giggles when she touches the water streams and is in THE BEST MOOD after getting out. Washing her is also sooo much easier now. No more baby wash cloth and she typically rinses herself off.
So remember –
- ALWAYS supervise your baby in the shower
- Use an anti slip mat – foams work well for flat showers!
- Let them get acclimated to the streams before plopping them on the porcelain
- Ditch the wash cloth – use your hands. Baby will most likely have so much fun, they’ll rinse themselves off
- Enjoy the smiles and giggles! There will be lots of them 🙂
For the parents that are looking for a “new and improved” way of parenting, I definitely suggest skipping the hassle of baths. Not only will this save you time, but it’ll help with your water bill as well. No more filling up an entire tub that your baby will enjoy only temporarily. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed her ~very short~ stage of big girl baths. With that being said, showers have been much more fun for her and it’s a great 10 minutes of bonding. Personally, I find this to be a much safer alternative to the traditional bath. Also, introducing them to things that give you anxiety (just me????) will help build their courage to be more adventurous in life. It’s time to eliminate the scariness of raising a baby & enjoy the “now.”
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