It’s really nice karma when doing what’s best for the planet, for your children’s health and saving time & money, all align. It turns out that this is the case with bathing children, particularly infants. I’ve consulted with several pediatricians and dermatologists they agree, if your child isn’t actually dirty, it’s not necessary to bathe him or her more than once a week.
Why have I consulted with several doctors on this? To assuage my mommy guilt of course! As a new mom of twin infants, I was just too tired and overwhelmed to bathe them very often. Each time I had to clean off the counters, get out the soap, the towels, the bath tub insert, the lotions, I was just overwhelmed. I didn’t want to do it. My babies were preemies, so we had frequent doctor’s visits and I still remember on an early visit sheepishly admitting that I hadn’t bathed the babies all week. The doctor assured me that this was perfectly fine. New babies don’t need all their protective oils washed away all the time. She suggested that wiping their faces (and necks, those folds catch milk drips!) once or twice a day with a washcloth and wiping their hands was all they needed on a daily basis.
As my children got older I’d check in on the whole bathing issue – and remember back to our once a week baths as children – and realize that there was no need to be bathing them too often. I have since learned more about soap, and that many of them have harsh chemicals that I don’t want to put on my children’s skin that often and I want to minimize how much I put down the sewer system. Once I got to see the inner workings of our local water treatment plant and there was tons of soap scum and soap bubbles getting filtered out of the system. It was gross.
During the summer they get more frequent baths – rinsing off pool chemicals and sand from our local swimming pond, washing the dirt off of their legs and knees. As my daughter is getting older I find that her hair gets greasy faster, so she has to wash it about twice a week to keep it looking clean. I’ve been recently thinking that teens and pre-teens probably have to bathe more often because of body odor and all the hormones cause greasier hair. However, when you get older, it is helpful to realize that your body is producing fewer chemicals and you can cut back on the showering and hair washing. I only wash my hair about twice week, since I trained it to need less frequent washing. Speaking of which, it’s a hair washing night for me, so I’ll leave you with this thought:
Bathing your children once a week uses less soap, less water, less energy to move and heat the water, and is better for your children!
For more tips on saving water when bathing children, see our post Simple Water Saving Ideas.
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