via ABC News:
Bath time for babies is a cherished ritual for many parents, but one mother has set off a firestorm of debate with her confession that she bathes her 3-month-old son only once a week. At least, that’s her goal, but Claire Goss said she doesn’t always achieve it.
“I aim for once a week. It might not happen. I will confess, it has gone longer than a week,” Goss, 32, told ABC News’ Paula Faris.
When asked how long she’d gone between baths for her baby, Charlie, she said, “It can be a good 10 days, but if you met my baby and held him, you’d probably think he smells as amazing as I do.”
The Ashland, Mass., mother of three says her bedtime routine for her son includes changing his diaper, washing his face and washing his hands. Goss, a part-time blogger and stay-at-home mom, says nightly baths were once a routine for her, but five years later, she simply doesn’t have the time.
“My first baby got her daily baths sometimes, two bathes a day,” she said.
Now, with a full schedule that includes having to be home to meet the bus, getting her other son, Peter, to pre-school, going grocery shopping and getting dinner ready – she says she realized she couldn’t do it all.
“What I realized now after five years of parenting children is, he’s not a dirty kid, he’s a baby,” she said.
Goss wrote about her baby-bathing mindset on Babble, a parenting website. (Babble and ABC News are both owned by The Walt Disney Co.) The Oct. 3 post, titled “Do You Actually Need to Bathe Baby,” started a furor online. Some readers viewed her approach as “lazy” and “gross,” but others agreed with her, saying babies probably shouldn’t be bathed with soap and water every day. Asked how she’d feel if she didn’t take a shower for two weeks, Goss acknowledged that it was different for adults.
“I would feel gross because I’m an adult and I have hormones. But I have to go back to, mothers know their babies,” she said. “They have gut feelings about their babies, and I would never presume to tell you how often to bathe your baby.”
Her take isn’t just a matter of convenience. She also believes it’s healthier.
“In my gut I don’t think he needs it,” Goss said. “He is a happy baby, he is a healthy baby. My pediatrician told me, with my second, that I was bathing him too frequently because his skin was dried out.”
Too much bathing can decrease babies’ natural bacteria count and make them more susceptible to infections and rash, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP advises, however, that it’s best to bathe babies at least three times a week.
“We’ve learned now that baby skin is very different then adult skin,” Dr. Alan Greene, a California pediatrician, told ABC News. “Really, you want to watch your baby more than watching the calendar when deciding to give a bath.”
Here is her blog, which was posted on Babble.com:
Yep, total confession time: I really don’t bathe my baby.
I’m guessing at least half of you cringed reading the above and the other half nodded in solemn approval. I honestly didn’t even realize it was true until today when I spotted his bathtub sitting dejectedly in a corner. “Huh,” I thought, “when was the last time I used THAT?!”
He is my third baby so I probably don’t have to tell you that I have a lot going on in the evenings. I can barely get the older two bathed, and they don’t require their own special tub and shampoo. Some nights I do remember that the baby needs a bath but then inevitably one of the older kids needs a story read or help with a craft project. The older kids make these evening needs very clearly known, whereas the baby does not give two snots if he has a bath or not and is happy to just be in my lap during the other activities. And thus the cycle continues. With my first baby bath time was part of her bedtime routine. But this third baby gets a clean diaper and PJs, a boob, and it’s beddy-by time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no need to bathe a baby every day and bathing that frequently can actually lead to dry skin. As long as you are thoroughly wiping the diaper area, as well as neck and face, then baby is good to go. This makes total sense to me. It’s not like he’s touching every filthy thing he can find or running around and sweating a lot, so spot cleaning should be pretty sufficient.
But the dry skin argument aside, I feel like the research I discussed last week is on my side here. Unlike my older kids who really, truly stink when dirty, my baby smells really good to me all the time. My hormones say so. Could that be the reason I’m not super motivated to give him a scrub down?
Honestly, how frequently do you bathe your baby?
What are your thoughts? Post your comments below.
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