Can My Baby Take a Bath Every Day?
Part of being a new parent is scratching your head and wondering if what you’re doing is right.
We wonder about our baby’s food, how to put them to sleep, and more. But not least of all, you’ve likely wondered if you should be giving baby a bath every day.
The answer to that question may surprise you.
You’ve heard the saying, “cleanliness is close to godliness.”
Well, it may be that your little one is more of an angel than you realized.
It is generally suggested that you only bathe your baby a maximum of three days a week. And even that is flexible.
Bathing a baby daily can irritate the skin.
In reality, giving baby a bath every day can be bad for her. If she has sensitive skin that is prone to getting dry it can make matters worse.
Of course, you can put moisturizer on her right after a bath. But excessive bathing isn’t necessary if it causes problems with your baby’s skin.
Is your baby even dirty?
In fact, until your baby becomes more mobile, they aren’t getting very dirty in the first place. As newborns, they can’t crawl around to get into any messes.
Moreover, they are not yet eating solid foods.
In reality, they don’t have that much of an opportunity to get too messy.
Your baby can be too clean.
The face, neck, hands and diaper areas are the most important parts of the baby to clean. They may need a wipe up after drinking milk, but this can be done with a wet nap.
Goodness knows how babies love to put their little fingers in their mouths, so it’s generally a good idea to keep them clean. But keeping too clean may mean your baby doesn’t get exposure to some of the bacteria needed to build an immunity.
If three days a week seems too little, you may be surprised to hear that a number of mommy bloggers even swear by bathing their babies once a week!
Some may even find that shocking, but we have to remember that every baby is different. For that particular mommy, one bath a week might be the magic number for her baby’s skin type.
But what if I want to bathe my baby daily? Is giving baby a bath every day wrong?
Give your baby a sponge bath!
If you are gung-ho about giving baby a bath every day, you can also opt for a sponge bath.
To give a baby a sponge bath, you only need to wet your sponge and wipe them down. You can do this in a baby tub, the sink, or even the bathtub.
This is the preferred method for washing your baby while the umbilical cord is still healing.
For the first two or three weeks of your baby’s life, giving baby a bath every day is not advised.
In fact, if your baby’s belly button is red, has any fluid, or just generally does not look fully healed it is strongly advised that you do not fully bathe your baby.
Leave them be or give them a sponge bath.
Dangers of Bathtime
Another important consideration is that giving baby a bath every day raises the possibility of getting water in his ears. This can cause an ear infection.
Ear infections can lead to fever and in rare cases, meningitis. Even a slight fever in babies under 6 months requires immediate medical attention.
High fevers can cause seizures and in extreme cases, brain damage.
If your baby cries a lot and seems unusually upset, lookout for signs of ear infection.
Newborns with an ear infection accompanied by a fever of 100 F (37.8 C) or higher should be seen by a doctor immediately. If you see him pull at one or both ears of his ears, he may be signaling that he is in distress.
Fluid leaking from the ear is a definite sign of a problem. This might cause baby trouble with her balance. If your baby shows signs that her hearing isn’t working as well as usual, please take her to her pediatrician right away.
Simply take care to hold their head and ears above the waterline. Many infant bathtubs exist on the market that sits your baby up so that their head is held reliably above the waterline.
Remember that as babies get older and more mobile, you have to pay extra attention to their ears in the bath.
Why Bathing Your Baby Daily Can Be Good
Of course, it’s not all bad. Giving a baby a bath every day is a choice many parents make and with good reason.
Taking a bath with your baby is a wonderful opportunity for skin to skin contact.
Release of natural hormones
It helps to calm and relax both mommy and baby. This, in turn, lowers cortisol, the stress hormone which is responsible for some health issues.
It also raises oxytocin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production and feelings of love.
Skin to skin contact helps regulate your baby’s heart rate and breathing.
Keeping them close gives them the opportunity to emulate mom or dad and helps them to better adapt to their new life outside the womb.
Feeling mom or dad’s body heat helps your baby regulate their own temperature. So it’s clear that there are many benefits to this kind of bonding with baby.
Water can be very soothing for your baby. For this reason, many parents consider bath time as part of their wind-down ritual.
For some babies, this is a calming practice that serves as a signal in their end-of-the-day routine.
Giving a baby a bath every day from the start also helps build healthy habits later on in life. This is a powerful reason many parents choose to bathe their baby daily.
What if your baby loves bathing too much?
However, not all babies are calmed by water. Some babies find bath time exciting.
This can be counterproductive if your plan is to use this time as part of your daily wind-down routine. For older babies, you may opt-out of baby toys during night time baths.
Bath toys may have to be a special day time bath treat. If that doesn’t work and your baby just loves water too much, try giving them a sponge bath.
So, in deciding whether giving baby a bath every day is right for your family, remember the following:
- If the umbilical cord is still healing, don’t bathe your baby.
- Take care not to get water in baby’s ears.
- Pay close attention to your baby’s skin and don’t let it dry out. Dry skin can crack and be painful for the baby. Be generous with the moisturizer.
- If bathing your baby is part of your nighttime routine, make sure it actually helps calm her down and isn’t too exciting.
Giving your baby a bath every day may work for your own family. Feel free to experiment. The only right answer is the one that builds upon your family values and that makes for a happy baby and happy parents.