How Often Should an Infant be Bathed?

Nothing is more memorable than nuzzling a freshly bathed, toweled and lotioned baby. Bathing a baby is an experience both parents and infants seem to enjoy; it creates a special bond between them. But don't assume you have to bathe the baby every day.

  1. Newborns

    • A newborn baby whose umbilical cord is still attached should not be given a tub bath. Until the cord has fallen off and any circumcision wounds have healed, a newborn baby should be given a light sponge bath, using water only, once or twice a week.

    Graduating to the Tub

    • Even after the umbilical cord has dropped off and the area has healed, a newborn or baby who is not yet crawling can be given a tub bath once or twice a week. Some experts feel that over-bathing can dry out an infant's skin, especially during the winter months when skin is already prone to dryness.

    Between Bathing

    • Between tub baths, a baby's neck, diaper area (especially during diaper changes), hands, feet and face can be gently sponged with a damp cloth.

    Crawling Babies

    • Once a baby starts to crawl and scoot, their feet, knees and hands get dirtier. Bathing can be increased to every other day, with sponging in between.

    The One-Year-Old and Beyond

    • A one-year-old baby gets messy during meal times. Not only can feeding be a sloppy event, but babies this age are getting around pretty well, investigating the none-too-clean world around them. Common sense dictates your growing baby should probably be bathed on a daily basis at this point.

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