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bathing baby

bathing babySometimes I wonder just how desperate people can be to get their 15 minutes. This morning’s news was covering a story about a mother of three who (are you sitting down?) bathes her 3-month-old baby only once a week! Dreadful!! Must have been a slow news day.
I grew up with the traditional Saturday night bath, with 3 inches of water. My parents made it through the depression; my grandmother had a water heater in the kitchen and had to haul hot water to the bathtub in kettles.
I have sensitive and dry skin and hair. To this day I am a subscriber to the weekly bath. There are exceptions – when I’ve been swimming I need to shower out the salt or chlorine and actually go into the shower wearing my bathing suit and rinse it out at the same time. And when I have a big night I like to soak in a bubble bath to get into the right mood. If I have been sweating from a flu, I like to shower as soon as I can stand up.
I raised my kids the same way, although I did bathe them daily until they were toilet trained because they also had sensitive skin and needed to have the diaper area clean. By the time my youngest was trained, I was working 2-3 jobs to support them, since my husband had abandoned us. I had neither the time nor the wherewithal to bathe them every night. We were on weekly baths or showers from then on.
When my children became teenagers they found that their hair was very oily, like their father’s. That plus social pressure at school moved them into a daily shower routine. That’s fine – for them.
Let’s get back to this beleaguered woman. I wish I had caught her name; she deserves credit for daring to blog her attitude. When her second child was suffering from dry skin, the pediatrician told her she was bathing the child too often. And she did check with the pediatrician about baby number 3; the pediatrician said it was fine.
People, especially young mothers and housewives, have gotten obsessed with anti-bacterial cleaning, and germ-free kids. It’s no wonder that asthma and allergies have become so rampant. There is natural bacteria on our skin which functions as an immunological system. A child’s immune system develops in the first three years of life. During infancy the baby has its mother’s immunity. If a child is sheltered from the world – pets, dust, and good old fashioned outdoors — s/he will not develop an immunity to these things, and will eventually have allergies to them instead.
It is one thing to wash something if it’s dirty; it’s another to scrub everything (including your kids) just because “the girls” say it’s the right thing to do.

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