Bathing routines: How often should you bathe your baby or toddler?
Becoming a parent – especially if it’s your first time – can feel like a serious learning curve, with a bunch of new routines and skills to suddenly grasp. But routine really is the key when it comes to babies – especially for things like hygiene and skincare – and once you get the hang of it, things become much easier, pretty quickly. Don’t worry – implementing a bathing routine for your baby doesn’t need to be overly complicated (it’s pretty simple) but it’s good to work out how often they should be washed, since their skin is more delicate and susceptible to dryness than ours. Here’s everything you need to know.
Daily baths aren’t necessary
“While it may seem intimidating at first, bathing your baby is simple and only needs to happen two to three times a week, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during each diaper change,” says board-certified dermatologist Kalyani Marathe, MD, MPH, FAAD. “The first thing to remember is to start off with sponge baths until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off and heals.”
If you’d like to bathe your baby every day, it’s fine to do so, but it’s not a must. As long as the diaper area is kept clean, a daily dip in the tub isn’t necessary, particularly as babies and toddlers’ skin is so delicate (around 30% thinner than ours, in fact). If anything, too much warm water or product can leave their skin feeling dry and uncomfortable.
Start with a sponge bath
Generally, sponge baths are recommended for babies until their umbilical cord stump falls off and heals, which is a sign it’s OK to switch to ‘regular’ water baths (using a shallow sink, plastic tub or baby bath). Sponge baths, as well as being a great bonding opportunity for you and your baby, are a good time to gently get your baby used to being cleaned regularly – and the sensation of water, too.
Because babies can lose body heat quickly, a warm towel to hand is recommended – for both sponge and ‘regular’ baths – to keep your baby warm when needed. Starting with your baby’s head, it’s best to gently clean your baby’s face and scalp before dealing with any creases or folds in their skin, and behind their ears. Products like our Rich Moisture Hypoallergenic Wash are specially created for babies and the formula is not only free from dyes, parabens, phthalates and sulfates, but contains prebiotic moisturizer to support your baby’s natural skin health. Once you’ve cleaned your little one, make sure any residue is carefully removed to leave healthy, happy skin.
… Before moving onto ‘regular’ baths
While bath time for babies usually conjures up images of effortlessly cute bonding moments, sometimes the reality is a little less magical, with flailing arms reaching for towels, diapers and washcloths halfway through. Prepping ahead of time can make all the difference – ensure you have what you need (like a washcloth, a gentle wash or shampoo designed for babies and a warm towel for afterward) and if needed, enlist a loved one to help, too.
After checking the temperature with your hand (it should feel comfortably warm), gently place your baby in the water, feet first. It’s usually easiest to start by washing their head, face and scalp, before moving down their body to clean other areas. Use a gentle wash specially formulated for babies. Once they’re clean (including easy-to-forget areas like between their tiny fingers and toes) rinse any leftover soap or wash, and dry them off carefully.
Turn routines into rituals
Don’t skip the final step in your baby or toddler’s routine – moisturizing. It’s especially important as bathing can dry out babies’ skin. This is where our Calming Moisture Night Time Lotion comes in – infused with a calming chamomile scent, it’s about to become your go-to for a routine that leads to a peaceful night’s sleep (four out of five parents recommend it as part of a calming sleep routine). Gently massage into your baby’s skin for a soothing, bedtime ritual both of you will look forward to each night. Singing is optional!
“While it may seem intimidating at first, bathing your baby is simple and only needs to happen two to three times a week, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during each diaper change. If you’d like to bathe your baby every day, it’s fine to do so, but it’s not a must.”