Bathing Babies Every Day Is a Waste of Time

Rant 25

baby bathI stuck my head into the baby bath aisle at the store the other day, and I couldn't believe how much STUFF was there. All I was looking for was one bottle of hair detangler, but it was a sea of baby shampoos and baby conditioners and baby bathtub contraptions and so on and so forth. It's been awhile since my daughter was a baby, so I'm trying to remember: was it like this when I had an infant? Did parents really need all this stuff? If they do, how often are they bathing that baby?

With the amount of stuff on the shelves -- not to mention some of the comments I've heard dropped by parents of newborns -- it seems like parents have taken the same zeal for ridding the world of germs that's made hand sanitizer ports crop up EVERYWHERE to babies.

They're bathing their little darlings daily. At least.

That's one phase of uber parenting I'm glad to say I skipped. Bathing baby all the time is a waste of time in my book.





You name it, and if you're bathing your baby more than once or twice a week, you're wasting it.

I know that's pretty much the opposite of what many parents think. You don't want to be the parents with the dirty kid, so you wash them as often as you can, maybe even as often as you wash yourself.

But just think for a second, would you? When does your baby get dirty?

When the diaper blows out, and you go into sanitize everything mode? I agree, that calls for a bath, but how often does that happen? Once a week? Twice, maybe? Anything more, and I have to advise you invest in a new kind of diaper.

But where was I? Oh, right, babies getting dirty. Babies aren't like us. They don't sweat.

Aside from a diaper blowout, there isn't much that's really making a baby stink. Maybe some spit up, a little mushed peas in the hair? 

Dip a washcloth (a baby-sized one or one of your own) under some warm water, wipe baby down, and you're good to go. Lots of time saved and money too.

Here's the truth of the matter: the thriving baby product industry wants us to think that we need to constantly be strapping infants into special tubs and lathering up their little locks with special suds, but just about any doctor out there will tell you to avoid over-bathing baby. Daily baths, according to the experts over at the Mayo Clinic, can actually end up hurting baby's delicate skin. As for all those lotions advertised to protect baby's skin from drying out, they're largely unnecessary -- if you keep them out of the drying bath to begin with.

At most, the American Academy of Pediatrics says a newborn should be bathed three times a week. At most!

Still think you need that economy-size bottle of baby shampoo?

How often do you bathe your baby? Could you see yourself doing it less?


Image via jmayer1129/Flickr

baby health, bathtime


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erica-3 erica-3

We bought a huge bottle of baby wash when my son was born. He's almost 16 months old and we still have 1/4 of the bottle left. I agree with you. He's walking around and playing outside in the dirt now and of course he's learning to feed himself with utensils so he gets messy from that but he still only really needs a bath 4, maybe 5 times a week.

Lynette Lynette

I agree!

Lara Butera

i don't bathe him for the cleanliness...I bathe him for the ritual ending of our day. Warm bath, baby massage, nursing and he's out like a light. Its actually a time SAVER, because he goes down right away after. so there

Simon... SimonzKedge

During the week, I bring the baby in the shower with me, but only actually use soap/shampoo a couple times a week. Otherwise, I wouldn't be getting one myself. Lol. I agree though, they don't need to be actually washed very often. If anything it can dry out their skin.


It's been soooo long (22 years) since they were babies--I'm going to have whack my brain--...I can't remember bathing them every day---I remembered feeling nervous and anxious when I did bath them...they were very slippery when wet--so I wiped them down alot...but I beg to differ about the "babies don't sweat" son use to sweat, especially his little stinky feet.  You put socks on him---and Holy Cow--Limburger Cheese!!!

nonmember avatar amanda

I disagree. Newborns sweat and spit up quite a few times daily if not washed daily then at least everyother day. Idk bout yall but i like the fresh baby smell not the smell if regergitated formula and stale.. diaper.

ashjo85 ashjo85

Washed my newbies 2-3 times a week (any more and they'd get super dry skin!). My kids are 1 and 4 now, respectively, and they have baths every other day. They'll continue that until they hit puberty and start needing daily washing.

nonmember avatar Jesse

Hey, those folds get really stinky cheese smelly! I agree they don't need much soap, but I started bathing my baby daily as soon as his stump fell off, if anything just to get him used to taking a bath so that it became part of his bedtime routine, and I think the bath did relax him.

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