Pssst…. Ask any pediatrician and he’ll let you in on a little secret: babies don’t need body wash. The baby skincare market is overwrought with lavender scented, coconut infused, citrus steeped choices, which makes it seem all the more ludicrous that any mom, dad or caregiver would wash with just water. But the truth is, babies don’t get very dirty, and most baby soaps, washes and wipes are not safer or more effective than plain, lukewarm water when it comes to washing baby at bath time.
An entry on the Dr. Bill and Martha Sears family advice website begins, “Most babies are over-washed.” Yes, that’s right, “over-washed.” Yet, as a dad who valued that sudsy bonding time, I couldn’t imagine a day going by when I wouldn’t run warm water, work soap into a frothy lather and wash my squiggly, squishy newborn squirt. Besides bonding, bath time also serves as an important moment when you can inspect your baby’s entire body – from the ‘soft spot’ to the cord cut to the circumcision scar (if you went that route).
If you don’t want to go suds-, mousse- or bubble-free, then you should consider a biodegradable, eco-friendly wash for your papoose. There’s the homey Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap, the heavenly Weleda Calendula Baby Soap, the hip Method Squeaky Green Body Wash, the seemingly hermetic Dirty Baby Shampoo/Wash, and if you’re good with ingredients, there are various DIY recipes available online. *Important note: If you come across a baby bath care product that has disinfectant or antibacterial properties, chances are its ingredients are not baby safe.
While no one can resist that ‘newly washed baby’ smell, consider this quote from renowned pediatrician Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s book, ‘How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor’. “In reality, newborns don’t get very dirty. When they become toddlers and are getting into everything, then they need a lot of washing. Most babies don’t have to be bathed every day. When you DO bathe the baby, soaps are usually not necessary. Pure water, lukewarm to warm, is all that is necessary.”
So, until your tyke starts toddling, go easy on the suds… and when you do bathe your baby, select ‘green,’ non-toxic, healthy products.