profile picture of Erin van Vuuren
Erin van Vuuren

Why Shouldn’t I Bathe My Newborn Yet?

I know baby doesn’t get a full bath yet, but what are the reasons?

Well, it’s not like your newborn is rolling around in the mud (yet).

“It’s not necessary to bathe your newborn as soon as you bring him or her home, or even for several weeks for that matter. Newborns really don’t get dirty, and bathing them often can remove the protective oils on their skin and dry it out. This leaves them more susceptible to irritation, inflammation and infection,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a family physician and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year.

Most doctors recommend waiting on any real bathing until after the umbilical stump falls off, since keeping it clean and dry can help it detach. But spit, puke, poo and milk-splosions do happen. And when they do, it’s okay to clean baby—just not in a tub of water. Stick to a soft wipe-down with a warm, damp cloth for now. That stump will be gone in a couple of weeks, and then baby will be ready for a dunk.

PHOTO: Shutterstock