How Often Should I Bathe My Baby or Toddler?
Showering and bathing are the primary ways we humans keep ourselves clean and free of germs. For adults, showering schedules can vary; some people shower every day, while others shower every other day.
But when we’re talking about babies and toddlers, parents often wonder what the acceptable amount of bathing is.
Ultimately, this decision depends on the preferences of the parent. In most cases, it’s recommended that you shouldn’t bathe your baby every day. But why? And how often should you bathe your baby?
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the baby bathing basics.
- Why You Shouldn’t Bathe Your Baby or Toddler Every Day
- So, How Often Should I Bathe My Baby?
- Bathing Specifics
- What Type of Bathing Tub Should I Use?
- How Much Water Should I Use?
- What Should the Water Temperature Be?
- Nighttime vs Morning Baths
- How Do I Hold My Newborn in the Tub?
- Post-Bathing Tips
Why You Shouldn’t Bathe Your Baby or Toddler Every Day
How often you give your little one a bath is your choice as a parent. Although, bathing too frequently can cause more harm than good.
Dr. Leah Alexander, a board-certified pediatrician from New Jersey, says, “In general, once the umbilical cord stump has fallen off, I recommend bathing infants no more frequently than every 2 days.”
Parents who are more paranoid about germs infecting their baby shouldn’t worry too much, because germs, in fact, are good.
Since your baby is still growing, exposing them to germs at a young age can help them develop a stronger immune system. Common viruses and health conditions like asthma or allergies can be prevented by exposure to germs.
Additionally, bathing your baby every day can lead to more problems like hair sensitivity or dry skin.
Over-shampooing can strip the natural oils from your baby’s delicate hair. The same rule applies to adults, but babies can often go longer without shampooing.
Especially if your baby has coarse, curly hair, over-shampooing can dry out their hair and lead to irritation.
Similarly, bathing too often can cause your baby’s skin to become overly dry and sensitive. Skin conditions like eczema can even worsen. But by bathing less frequently and keeping the skin moisturized, you can prevent your baby’s skin from becoming dry or eczema-prone.
Figuring out how often to bathe your baby is challenging. Bathing too often can lead to skin problems, but not bathing enough can also worsen existing conditions.
However, bathing in water isn’t the only issue; If your baby or toddler has skin issues, it may very well be due to the products you’re using.
Leaving soaps and shampoos on your baby’s skin for too long can pull moisture from their skin, leaving it dry and irritated. Frequent washings can worsen sensitive or eczema-prone skin, especially if you use cleansing products.
So, How Often Should I Bathe My Baby?
Now that we’ve told you what not to do, we can discuss how often you should bathe your little one.
Bathing your baby every day isn’t necessary, and as we touched on earlier, it can often lead to skin problems.
Instead, bathing three times a week should be enough until your baby is old enough to move on her/his own.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to bathing your baby. Each parent has their preferences on scheduling, products, techniques, and other bathing specifics.
Below, we’ve briefly answered and explained some of the most common questions regarding baby bathing tactics.
What Type of Bathing Tub Should I Use?
If it’s time to bathe your newborn, you should use either the sink or a plastic tub or basin. Regardless of which one you choose, you should line the edges with a clean towel.
Then, gather the supplies you’d use for a sponge bath. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should bathe your baby in sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump falls off.
You should collect your baby shampoo, a cup for rinsing water, and a dry towel beforehand. That way, you have a free hand on your baby at all times.
You may be interested in: Our list of the top bath toys for babies and toddlers
How Much Water Should I Use?
A common recommendation is to fill the tub with 2-3 inches of warm water. Throughout the bath, use your cup to pour warm water over your baby.
Other sources encourage parents to fill the bathing basin enough to cover the baby’s shoulders, which might mean more than 2 or 3 inches of water. This recommendation should help keep your baby warm and calm.
It’s also important to be sure that your baby is securely held throughout the entirety of the bath.
What Should the Water Temperature Be?
The temperatures of the water shouldn’t be too cold or too hot; warm water is best.
To prevent your little one’s skin from burning or getting too cold, set your water temperature to 100 F (38 C), or at least below 120 F (49 C). Also, make sure the area your baby is bathing in is set at room temperature.
Nighttime vs Morning Baths
Whether you bathe your toddler in the morning or evening is entirely up to you. Generally, the decision depends on your day-to-day schedule.
If you’re more rushed in the evenings, you might want to leave time in the morning to bathe your baby. However, other parents prefer to calm down their baby with evening baths.
How Do I Hold My Newborn in the Tub?
Maintaining one free hand throughout the entire bath is crucial to securely hold your baby. This ensures peace of mind for you and comfort for your baby.
Support your newborn’s neck and head with your non-dominant arm. Then, use the other to carefully guide your baby’s body—feet first—into the water.
While most babies don’t need to be moisturized after a bath, some parents prefer to apply a small amount of lotion to their newborns. Especially if your baby has dry or sensitive skin, using a safe, unscented moisturizer is fine.
While there’s no definitive answer to how often you should bathe your baby or toddler, a general rule of thumb is every two days, or three times a week.
Overbathing can irritate, while not bathing enough can cause sensitivity.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you as a parent. Regardless of how often you choose to bathe your baby, make sure to keep cleaning products to a minimum, and use a mild shampoo—nothing that will cause further irritation to your little one’s fragile skin.
Also read: 7 Best Bath Finger Paints