A mum only baths her baby once a week – and people have opinions

Posted in Care.

“Am I being unreasonable to bath my baby once a week,” a mum wondered, sparking an interesting debate and many, many different answers.

“I thought this was totally normal!”

She went on to explain to Mumsnet forum members that her littlie is just seven weeks old and that she’d always thought a weekly bath was standard practice.

“I thought this was totally normal and fine,” she wrote. “He gets top and tailed as and when needed – certainly daily! But I don’t feel like he particularly needs bathing.”

“We always bathe him in the bath with one of us so daily would be a complete waste of water. I keep reading about people using baths as part of the bedtime routine and it’s just occurred to me that this means that lots of babies get bathed daily.”

Read more about bathtime:

This was news to her and now she’s questioning everything!

“Am I being unreasonable “and scummy? His skin is flawless and he doesn’t smell FWIW!” she concluded.

Forum users weighed in and shared their experiences – and varied opinions – with this mum.

“Nowhere near enough,” one mum decided. “Surely one every OTHER day. Once a week doesn’t sound enough sorry.”

“It can dry out their skin”

But others said this less is more approach was absolutely fine. Because … no beans!

“I’d say fine if you’re top-and-tailing frequently anyway,” a commenter confirmed. “At 7 weeks he’s hardly likely to get muddy in the garden or pour beans down his trousers. Bathing them too often can dry out their skin anyway.”

That said others thought it was not okay – and that there was the risk of the dreaded ‘stinky neck’.

“I think it’s a bit grim,” one such person posted. “They do need a bath more than once a week, their heads get a bit sweaty, dribbled milk gets on their fronts and the milk pools nicely in their creases.”

“Have you ever smelt a baby’s neck when not washed properly it is grim,” another mum wrote. “I would bath a baby every other day at least.”

Baby being bathed

The Irish once a week tub club?

Several Irish mums weighed in, confused about the more than weekly bathing. They said their babies did not smell at all and they followed expert health advice which suggested once a week, with top-and-tails in between as needed.

“Weekly here too,” one said. “On the advice of a nurse. Multiple ones in fact. Ireland here too. Baby has survived thus far and doesn’t smell.”

But one mum warned that covert voms could turn things very sour, very quickly and suggested every other day as well.

“I found my children ‘hid’ vomit between layers in their neck,” she revealed, “behind their ears etc which needed proper sponging and washing – we bathed every other day.”

newborn baby being held by parent in bath

What’s the right answer?

So what’s the official word on bathing frequency for small babies?

Australia’s Raising Children’s Network suggests “a bath 2-3 times a week is enough to keep your newborn clean. But if your baby really likes baths, you can bath him once a day. Bathing more than this can dry out your baby’s skin. You can keep your baby’s genitals clean between baths by using warm water and cotton wool.”

The American Academy of Paediatrics Healthy Children site suggests similar – “Your infant doesn’t need much bathing if you wash the diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes. Three times a week during her first year may be enough.”

So the experts are loosely in the ‘every other day’ camp. In case you wanted a loosely categorical answer.

That said, this mum is doing what’s right for her and her child – and the frequent top-and-tailing is ensuring her little one is squeaky clean.


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