Everyone’s body produces oils at a different rate. My friends always get jealous when I tell them that I only wash my hair every two days, and some even get grossed out. However, my hair is thick, and washing it every day completely strips the oils and causes a dry, flaky scalp. In fact, I could go a few days without washing and show absolutely no signs of oil, which is great for long camping adventures and road trips. However, many of my friends find that their own hair gets oily in the evening after they’ve washed it that very same morning. Often, it has to do with the thickness of a person’s hair, but the washing patterns also have something to do with it. Basically, your body can be “trained” to produce more or less oil. When you wash it every day, it produces more oil to make up for the oil that was stripped, and the opposite happens for hair that was washed minimally.

What does this have to do with your baby? Many moms feel the need to apply their own strict hygiene habits to their little ones, and this is absolutely not the case. Especially if you go to the gym a lot or live in a warm area, showering daily and scrubbing your hair clean is obviously necessary. However, your newborn is sedentary, and his movement is minimal, which means his body is not producing much sweat or grime. If you wash your baby’s body every day, he could easily become uncomfortable and itchy with dry skin. If you wash his hair every day, it could start producing more oil and become difficult to manage. It’s best to ask your doctor for a recommendation about your baby’s hygiene schedule, but it’s safe to say that every other day is preferable to daily. Obviously, there will be some messy days where a bath is required, but over washing will be more inconvenient than under washing.

Follow the signs of your baby’s body. If he or she seems clean and content, there is no reason to disrupt the body’s balance with a bath. However, setting a schedule is a good idea, more so that you don’t lose track of how many times you’ve bathed him or her. Cleanliness is very important to a baby’s health, but overdoing it could cause discomfort and skin problems down the line.

Source: Rashmi Sarkar et al: Skin Care for the Newborn. Department of Dermatology - Indian Pediatrics Volume 47 July 17 2010

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