How Often Should Babies Bathe?
Daily bathing is the norm for most kids and adults, but babies can be different. Even if it seems like your baby is having a good time splashing in the bath and drying off with a cozy towel, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. That’s because an infant’s skin is especially delicate – the quality that makes it so soft also makes it prone to dryness. Keep a few things in mind when you’re bathing your baby, and you’ll be on your way to sudsy success.
When to Start Bathing
Bathing newborn babies has a few particular rules, but you won’t have to abide by them for long. The Mayo Clinic advises that newborns who still have their umbilical cord stumps attached should get sponge baths. The reasons behind this are much the same as the reasons for occasional bathing for older infants – newborn skin is super sensitive, and you don’t want them to get too dry. You can give sponge baths on your changing table at this point, which may make it easier. Use your changing pad strap or enlist a helper to ensure the baby stays put during her first home baths.
Everything in Moderation – Including Baths
So, how much is too much? Reputable sources such as the Mayo Clinic recommend bathing babies only three times a week or so. Daily bathing isn’t really necessary, and if you worry about your infant getting too dirty from food spills and other normal little mishaps, try doing a spot clean with a damp wash cloth or wiping up with a dry burp cloth.
In addition to bathing a few times a week, the Mayo Clinic notes that parents should use a safe amount of water in a baby-friendly container. Baby baths are perfectly sized for the job. It’s wise to use one of these smaller tubs until your infant can support her own head. And you don’t need much water to bathe your baby – 2" of water is enough. Be sure not to leave your baby unattended in the bath – if there’s something else going on that requires your attention, wrap your baby up in a towel and take her with you as you check it out.
Baths in the Morning or the Evening?
Though frequency matters, time doesn’t. The best time to bathe your baby is whenever works best for you. If you prefer to give your baby a bath at night so she can be all clean in her PJs, go ahead and do it that way. If you want to bathe your baby in the morning after her first feeding, that works, too.
Make the Most of Bath Time
So how can you make bath time quick and easy? If your baby has a waterproof toy – perhaps something soft and non-porous that she particularly likes – consider letting her hold onto that while you’re getting her all sudsy. Waterproof baby books are great if she’s big enough to grasp them. You can also use noisy or distracting toys if your baby isn’t too thrilled with the concept of bathing just yet.
Though it won’t happen every day, it still pays to stay organized during bath time. It’s helpful to keep some essentials on hand. If you’ll be using your tub with an inflatable or plastic baby bath inside, think about getting a cushy bath rug or kneeling pad to make the process more comfortable for you. Try some soft wash cloths or sponges – remember, baby skin is especially tender – and store them within easy reach.