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Ending Bath Time Struggles

Heard of that rodeo sport involving grease and a squealing, high-spirited pig? Trying to bathe a squirmy, soapy baby is something like that  -- except there's no blue ribbon at the end for a job well done. Here are some ways to manage:

Contain him. Using a bathtub seat will help your baby stay steady in the suds  -- and if it looks fun, he may even get into it willingly. Look for one with more than just suction cups, that secures over the side of the tub. The First Years Tub-to-Seat Bath Complete is a good bet ($25; at Target and Babies "R" Us)  -- he won't be able to stand up, and you'll have a free hand to grab the shampoo.

Entice him. Make it more appealing to sit. Give him a squeeze bottle filled with diluted food coloring. You can also decorate the walls of the tub with shaving cream; your baby will love the feel of it, and it rinses right off (if he's apt to eat it, try whipped cream). Many moms swear by filling the bath to the brim with toys. Or give your wet-and-wild child a giant sponge to wash himself with.

Deal with it. Since this stage doesn't last too long, you can just hold your wet, wiggling bundle and let him bathe standing up for the time being. Place nonslip appliqués on the tub floor, and use time-saving baby wash that's made for both hair and body. If he's the strong-willed type, backing off now may be just the tactic to prevent bathing battles in the future.

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