Bath time for an infant is something of an ordeal. After all, you can't just ask the kid to go hop in the shower; you have to do all the work. And with the whirlwind of activity that goes along with having a baby, you might not have much time to bathe yourself, let alone your child. So how often should you bathe a newborn, and when is it okay to skip a day?
First, the good news: you don't have to bathe that baby every day. As noted in Parents, a daily bath may even give your baby dry skin and rashes. In general, as long as you're thorough and speedy with changing diapers and wiping away spit-up, your baby really won't get all that dirty when he's just laying around doing baby things.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), bathing your baby about three times a week for her first year of life is a good rule of thumb. As further explained by the AAP, in order to avoid irritating baby's delicate skin, it's a good idea to use a mild baby soap and pat on a lotion after the bath. This may help keep their skin clean and moisturized.
What about the scalp? Whether your baby has a full head of hair or none at all, her scalp may require some extra TLC at bath time. As noted in What To Expect, massaging your baby's scalp very gently with some baby shampoo a couple of times a week is probably all you need to keep your your kid's scalp clean and fresh. And, as with everything else baby bathing related, gentle is the operative word. You don't have to pretend you're doing a scrubby salon-type shampoo on your infant.
As with almost everything else in the parenting world, your individual experiences may vary. Your bath time habits may depend on your baby's own needs, your environment, and even time concerns. Whatever the case, remember that you don't need to apply your own hygiene standards to your infant. As Dr. Alan Greene, a California-based pediatrician, told ABC News, "baby skin is very different than adult skin. Really, you want to watch your baby more than watching the calendar when deciding to give a bath." So whether you opt for a sponge bath, co-bathing, or a baby tub, don't stress about sudsing up your newborn every day.