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Fréquence bain bébé.

Should babies be washed at the same frequency as adults?

Washing their baby is one of the first tasks parents learn in the maternity ward. However, once they return home, they often question the frequency required to maintain the infant's hygiene. Should they wash their baby every day? Here are some insights to keep their baby perfectly clean.

Summary
Published March 4, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Baby skin and adult skin: are there differences?

In order to determine whether babies should be washed as frequently as adults, it is important to consider the differences between their skin. The skin structures are not fully developed in infants and it is estimated that one must wait approximately six years before a child's skin is similar to that of an adult. As for the baby's skin, its primary characteristic is its great fragility, partly explained by the thinness of their epidermis. The latter is about 20% thinner in newborns, which results in a high permeability : thus, baby's skin more easily absorbs allergens, pollution and bacteria.

Furthermore, children's skin often tends to be more dry, due to the low activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands early in life. The hydrolipidic film is therefore more fragile, as is the skin barrier. This also impacts the pH of the skin, which is less acidic than in adults. However, this natural acidity has a very practical use: it plays a role in maintaining the microbiota and promotes the synthesis of ceramides, the lipids of the horny layer that minimise water loss. Given these physiological differences, one might wonder if babies need to wash as frequently as adults.

How often should you wash your baby?

Just like adults, a baby's hygiene routine should be carried out daily to ensure they remain clean and healthy. Before and after cleaning, it is crucial for the parent to thoroughly wash their hands, to prevent any bacterial contamination. The hygiene routine includes every part of the body, the armpits, around the navel, the private parts, behind the ears, etc... Moreover, a light cleaning is necessary after each meal and after each nappy change, to keep the baby clean. It should be noted that the daily hygiene routine does not always involve water, so as not to disrupt the already fragile hydrolipidic film of the infant. The use of a physiological serum is sufficient on a daily basis.

The ideal frequency for giving your baby baths is 2 to 3 times a week, due to the drying effect of water on the skin. Moreover, as babies sweat very little, this is more than sufficient. It is advised not to leave an infant in the water for more than 10 minutes to preserve their skin, even if your baby loves to splash around. We also recommend using rich and nourishing creams and washing oils to cleanse your child. Indeed, studies have shown that the application of certain vegetable oils such as sweet almond oil or grape seed oil improves the skin barrier function of babies. Rich in omega-3, these improve the skin's lipid content and provide protection against infections.

Golden Rule : Never leave your baby alone in their bath. If you need to leave the room, for whatever reason, wrap them in a soft towel and take them with you.

Sources

  • DARMSTADT G. L. & others. Neonatal skin care. Paediatric Clinics of North America (2000).

  • HACHEM J. P. & al. Infant Epidermal Skin Physiology: Adaptation After Birth. British Journal of Dermatology (2012).

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