Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of “parent-tested, pediatrician-approved” advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, HealthyChildren.org. Also available in bookstores nationwide.
The following is an excerpt to help you navigate those first crucial weeks of parenthood and caring for a newborn:
To Bathe or Not to Bathe:
Contrary to popular belief, babies do not need to be bathed every day–especially as newborns. As we enter parenthood, we should all consider ourselves fortunate that we are given a few months in which to become comfortable with our baby-bathing duties before our children effectively figure out how to make themselves truly messy.
It’s really not until babies start crawling around in dirt, sandboxes, or even just on the kitchen floor (depending on how dirty yours is), and begin to explore baby foods–routinely ending up with more smeared on their faces than in their mouths–that they warrant frequent full-body washes. Until then, however, you have the practical option of focusing your attention on a relatively limited number of parts.
Your primary area of focus predictably will be the diaper area–and, of course, the surrounding areas, the size of which will depend on whether your baby has taken to having blowouts. Other areas to pay particular attention to: around the mouth and anywhere there are skin folds.
While some of you may be looking at your newborn and thinking to yourself that there are few, if any, skin folds to be found–rest assured that they will soon appear. The present-from-birth and all-too-often-neglected arm-pit and groin folds are likely to be joined in mere weeks by double chins and thigh folds. If you make a habit of regularly spot-checking these hot spots and cleaning them as needed using a wet washcloth, you really won’t have to bathe your baby every single day. In fact, bathing a couple of times a week is often enough.
The Heading Home with Your Newborn excerpts are sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.