Ask the expert: How often should I be bathing my baby?

bathing my baby

Q: My baby is six months old, and has recently started eating purees. She’s getting food crusted in her hair and in the little folds of her neck. I have to bathe her every day because of this. Is this too often? How often should I be bathing my baby?

A: There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often you should be bathing your baby. Generally, if your baby enjoys being in the bath, and/or if it relaxes your baby before bed and forms a part of their bedtime routine, there’s no reason why they can’t have a daily (or nightly!) dip in the tub. Many parents only bathe their baby as often as their baby needs it, such as when they have a particularly foul nappy, or when they get little grots in the folds of their skin. But even then, you may only need to bathe your baby with a warm, wet facecloth – you don’t have to run a bath.

If your baby tends to get dry or irritable skin, you might want to bathe them less often, as frequent bathing can exacerbate eczema and cause your baby’s skin to become drier. Baby lotion or specialised baby eczema products can help with this dryness, however – talk to your GP if you are concerned about your baby’s skin.

There’s also no rule about where you can bathe your baby. Some parents bathe their babies in the kitchen or bathroom sink; some use the bathtub; some have a special baby bath on the dining table or on the floor; some even take their babies into the shower with them. The most important rule to remember when bathing your baby is to never, ever leave them unattended, not even for a second.

Make sure that the water is at an appropriate temperature, and bathe them in a safe place where you have all of your supplies within reach, your baby isn’t at risk of slipping out of your arms or under water, and where there’s preferably another adult to help if need be (this is particularly handy if you’re bathing your baby in the shower – you can hand your wet, slippery baby to another adult and finish washing yourself!).

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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.

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