SALT LAKE CITY — Nothing smells quite as lovely as a newborn baby fresh out of a bath. In fact, a recent study showed humans have the same physiological reaction to the smell of babies as they do to the smell of really good food.
When or when not to bathe a baby has long been a subject of discussion — and lately controversy — among parents the world over. Recently, the issue generated more argument online when popular mommy blogger Claire Goss “confessed ” in a post on Babble.com that she rarely, if ever, bathes her newborn son.
“As long as you are thoroughly wiping the diaper area, as well as neck and face, then baby is good to go,” Goss said in her post. “This makes total sense to me. It’s not like he’s touching every filthy thing he can find or running around and sweating a lot, so spot cleaning should be pretty sufficient.”
The post ignited a firestorm across social media outlets. Many parents balked at the idea of scarce baby bathing.
Saratoga Springs resident Jean-Marie Dalton is a mother of four. She said she bathed her babies very regularly when they were newborns.
“I bathed mine almost daily,” Dalton said on Facebook. “They all spit up a ton and had awesome blow outs! Plus I love the smell of baby bath and baby lotion.”
Rachelle Mann is a neonatal nurse at Primary Childrens Medical Center and a mom of two boys. She said she doesn’t recommend bathing newborns more often than once every few days.
“Newborns aren't dirty,” Mann said. "They don't play in dirt and aren't eating solids, so I would recommend every couple of days or so unless obliviously dirty or smelly. Their skin has natural oils, so I don't lotion my kids."
Susanne Carlile, a registered nurse and a mother of three grown children, said she recommends bathing babies more often to prevent infections.
“You need to bathe a baby at least every three days,” she said. “They can be exposed to bacteria if not clean. They can get rashes under their neck.”
Carlile said she recommends using a soft, gentle baby shampoo. She said if parents are nervous about bathing their babies too often, try giving them a sponge bath instead.
The Mayo Clinic recommends bathing a newborn no more than two or three times a week for the healthiest baby skin. Experts there recommend using a non-scented soap and foregoing the lotion.