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Anyone who claims babies don't get dirty hasn’t met my baby. He's only 4 months old, so he isn't even crawling yet, but he's a mess from head to toe within hours of his nightly bath. Because he poops. All. Over. Himself. Every night. His diaper explodes onto his pajamas and sleep sack, complete with sound effects that would make a kindergarten class – or anyone, really – go crazy with giggles.
I’m lucky if I manage to save the crib sheets in time – so they don't need to get washed as well. Luckily, he goes back to sleep without much fuss after I change him, but, there he is, already in need of a bath and the sun won't be up for hours.
Once he's up for the day, after blessedly sleeping around 10 hours, my breasts are exploding with milk. Pressurized streams spray my son in the face, in his ears, all in his hair. So now he's stinky from his night pooping routine, and soon to be crusted with dried breast milk. After he eats, he poops again, and spits up on himself (and me, but that’s another story). We're talking chunky spit-up covered hands, and it gets under his nails. A baby wipe is only a BandAid for this job. We're gonna need to bring in some soap and water. But not before he spits up on himself several more times, drools all over the place, and possibly pees on his own face. It's happened more than once.
On top of it all, every moment my guy has his hands in his mouth, and sometimes he grabs a chunk of my hair, so now he's got spit up and drool and those bizarre wads of hair or fuzz in between each of his fingers and roasting in his hot, little, clenched palm. The smell alone could make you faint. Think moldy cheese and bleach. Man oh man, that kiddo's nightly bath is seriously warranted.
I looked to other moms to find out how often they feel the need to bathe their babies:
"Every single night," one told me, adding that keeping her baby's lush head of hair clean is a full-time job.
"Every night, but I only use soap every other night," said a our site community member.
"Every other day," is one of my mom friend's rules, a sentiment echoed by plenty of other our site moms.
"Once per week is good enough," said another brave our site mom who waits until her little one to get stinky before she caves and bathes them.
"I prefer to bathe my children daily just as I do myself," said another our site community member. "I don't know about you, but I feel refreshed and comfortable after taking a bath and I think a child would appreciate the same. I understand soap can dry skin out, but…"
Some moms don't see the point of a nightly bath for their babies. Others worry about bathing too often because it might dry out their baby's skin. But many other mamas find that babies sleep better if they make bath time part of the nightly routine.
Regardless of your baby bathing routine, we can all agree that babies are cute, clean or dirty. I'm still gonna pop my little man in the tub every night. After all, I'm the one who has to smell him!
It’s important to remember that all babies are slippery when wet. If you’re still feeling nervous about bathing your newborn watch this helpful video on How to bathe your baby.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.