16 answers

Bath Phobia

Ok, so a few weeks ago my daughter (29 months) was at the doctor for some unknown illness. The doc told me it was possible she might have asthma (much to my surprise...she's never shown signs of it before...) Anyway, the doc wanted to try a nebullizer treatment at the office. A nurse came in and TOLD her she was going to "be a fishy" (the mask looks like a fish). The nurse proceeded to literally pin her down to do the treatment for 8 minutes while my younger son (15months) screamed and cried because he thought we were hurting his sister.
Ever since, my daughter has been terrified of bath time. She randomly screams during the day "i don't want to be a fishy, i don't want to go down the drain". Additionally, she hates when her brother is in the bath because she's afraid he'll "go down the drain". She literally freaks out crying everytime they are anywhere near the bath. Also since this encounter with the doc, she's has refused to take naps. Bedtime is fine, but when it comes to naps, it's a no-go. She'll only sleep in the car.
My daughter does ok if she takes a shower, but her brother is still too young for that and if he's in the bathtub, she freaks. I've tried everything I can think of, but this bathtime issue is extremely stressful, for all of us. Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

What if you get a doll of some kind and put the doll in the tub for a few days. Show her that the doll will not go down the drain. That is so sad. Doesn't sound like the doctors office handled this too well. I would suggest you also let them know.

I would give a doll or some large toys a bath and have her help, then show her how all the water and the dirt go down the drain but the toys and the doll stay in the tub. Show her how all the bad stuff goes away and all the good stuff stays.

Maybe have her think of ways to tell the dolls how not to be afraid in the bathtub and all the good things about being clean (don't get sick as often, ect)

More Answers

What if you get a doll of some kind and put the doll in the tub for a few days. Show her that the doll will not go down the drain. That is so sad. Doesn't sound like the doctors office handled this too well. I would suggest you also let them know.

Awesome suggestions!~ Good luck...we all grow out of fears with a little time and a lot of love.

My suggestion is for the neb treatment. My daughter was diagnosed at 2 with Asthma. She hated the fish mask with a passion. Screaming, crying, the whole nine yards. They do not have to wear the mask. They do just fine with the regular attachment. If she has to have another treatment make sure you tell them you don't want the mask.

I'm thinking she saw something on tv where something or someone went down the drain. Sounds a little like Finding Nemo? Lots of kids have that phobia. Try filling the bathtub and putting some toys in there. Bring her in to the bathroom and drain the tub while she is standing there. Show her that the water goes down the drain but the toys stay in the tub. Explain that if the toys, which are smaller than her brother, do not go down the drain, a person could never go down the drain. Try to make bathtime more fun. Try bubbles. Buy some bubbles and instead of using them outside, use them in the tub. They love that. It's a little messy, but your in the tub, so who cares. Watch your floors, they become slippy if the bubbles spill on the floor. If all else fails, know that she will grow out of it.

As far as naptime goes, she might be afraid, now that she has a little brother, that she is missing something if she does not nap. My oldest went through that when her sister was born. She really needed a nap, so I started offering treats if she would just sleep for one hour. (always slept longer) When that stopped working, we would play a game (just the two of us) when she woke up, if she would go to sleep. When they are at that age they need a routine for their naps. As hard as it is when you have running around to do, you need to have nap time at pretty much the same time every day. After lunch is always good. That way she knows, lunch is over and now it's time for my nap. It might be hard if you are use to running around during the day, but if you really want her to nap, do your running around in the morning. Once you start the routine, she will automatically know, lunch is over, now I am going to lay down. Start that now because it is very hard in the summer to start a routine like that. Routine really is key for nap time.
Good luck!

Don't have a real bath solution, but I would let the dr know so they don't have this reoccuring with another parent. My son had daily neb treatments from 22 mon-age 5 when he could use an inhaler properly (luckily he outgrew childhood asthma) We would do stories during it. He would sit on my lap and we would read, read, read. This became our bedtime routine. Also when he had flare-ups we would put him in the high chair and he would color or paint through the treatments. He resisted at first but since this was necessary his breathing we made it as fun as possible and he learned the mask wasn't so bad. My doctor did not want me using the other attachment since he did not feel it worked as well. (Did I mention he was diagnosed two days after my second son was born--my husband and mom had to teach me how to do it since I was still in the hospital!)

My husband bought my daughter an inflatable duck tub (probably from Target or somewhere). To be honest, I kind of thought it was unnecessary (my daughter was in love with rubber duckies at the time), but it might be helpful for you. There is no drain, you have to just tip it, I guess. It's big enough to fit VERY snugly in your tub...I guess if you had to you could put it on the floor and fill it manually. There wasn't a ton of room in it but it could work during this transition period for you. I'm sure she'll get over it but how stressful for all of you! Good luck!

You have a lot of good suggestions here...but I have a few more thoughts.

First with the asthma out of the blue....Asthma is wheezing and inflammation in the airways. It can be mild to severe. It has triggers such as allergies, cold air, viral infections. If you have wheezing two or more times you may have "asthma". My son was diagnosed with "asthma" but so far at age 5 his only triggers have been viral infections...not all of them but some of them. We had a severe attack that took a hospital stay to get control of his wheezing and placed him on pulmicort as a preventative. But up to then last Oct. we only used the neb as needed with xopenex (albuterol) during colds. They can grow out of this I have been told. Although you get more medicine with the mask....you can use the other attachment....at first my son would not use the mask without crying either...the nurse should have worked more with you and your daughter so she would not be scared. The dino mask actually hooked my son into sort of liking it.....but at first its scary...loud...different...if she was really wheezing they may have been more worried about her getting the oxygen she needed verses being nice....but still

As for the bath...do you have the mask? Show her it won't go down the drain, get toy fish and show her. Maybe place a cup or wash cloth over it? There are quite a few preschool shows about this fear from Mr. Rogers and Bear in the Big blue house and I'm sure a lot of others.

Good luck....its hard for us moms...but fears come and go at this age hopefully this one rides out quickly.

I would give a doll or some large toys a bath and have her help, then show her how all the water and the dirt go down the drain but the toys and the doll stay in the tub. Show her how all the bad stuff goes away and all the good stuff stays.

Maybe have her think of ways to tell the dolls how not to be afraid in the bathtub and all the good things about being clean (don't get sick as often, ect)

o my! first of all you are just going to have to ell your daughter that the nurse was not nice and reassure her that will never happen again. Then i would call the doctors office and explain the situation tso that this woman doesnt continue to traumatze children. She did not go about that the right way at all, well i gues htat is obvious now that your child is traumatized

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