Nothing smells better than a freshly bathed baby. They're really cute after the bath, too, all cuddled up in a towel. Baths are also great for bedtime routines and for parent-baby bonding. They are calming and can bring order to your day. The only problem is that doing them too often might not be so great for your baby. So what are the signs your baby needs fewer baths?
Bathing a baby three times a week is the number recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Similarly, Dr. John Mersch, a pediatrician in California, wrote on eMedicine that until your baby is crawling, there's no need to bathe them every day. If you make sure that each diaper change is cleaned up carefully, the baby shouldn't need a daily dunk in the tub. Once they do start crawling and are constantly on the floor and eating solid foods regularly, considering how messy they can get (think mushed carrots all over their faces), and all the dirt and grime picked up from the floor, you might feel like frequent bathing is warranted. And if your child falls ill and is vomiting, or has had an usually evil poopy diaper, you might decide to give them a bath, even if its not their usual bathing day.
Here's news, though, for germaphobes. While you might think that scrubbing the kiddies up, particularly with anti-bacterial soap, is something that prevents illness and washes away anything harmful that could be lingering on their skin, there are two sides to that coin. "Exposure to a little grime may protect kids," says Michael Welch, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics's section on allergy and immunology said in Parenting. "Because their immune systems are still maturing, they seem to benefit from being around viruses, bacteria, and dirt."
Sure, in most cases extra bathing can be relatively harmless, but it's good to keep an eye out for these signs that suggest the nightly soak could be doing more harm than good, and to cut back if necessary.