Infant Bathing Routines
When it comes to bathing schedule it’s important to understand the role bathing plays in a routine. Normally bathing is to clean dirt and oils from the skin as well as maintain an optimal pH of the skin that reduces the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. Infants do not get that dirty overall! Most parents will find that if they are keeping up with routine diaper changes and wiping down areas after feeding, then an overall bath probably only needs to be done two to three times a week. The most common issue with excess bathing is that it is followed by excess dryness which can in turn lead to a high tendency towards eczema. Think of your child’s skin as their primary barrier to their surroundings. If you over wash the skin this barrier becomes weakened. I try to tell parents to think of their skin as not smooth like a wall but more of a cobblestone street. Excess washing dissolves the mortar they holds the skin cells together. If this breaks down you will be more susceptible to insults and allergens from the environment. We need to keep our barrier intact by finding the right balance between cleaning and protecting.
Our skin is naturally exfoliating and replenishing on a daily basis. Cleansing helps remove dead skin cells and dirt that build up on the skin. By not cleaning enough, dead skin cells will start to accumulate on the skin and have rough caked on look to the skin. This is called dermatitis neglecta. Bacteria and yeast can start to overgrow and make for higher chances of infection with small cuts or wounds.