Study shows no science-based guidelines for washing newborns, mixed practices

A new study led by doctors at UVA Children’s Hospital shows there is no clear evidence-based guidelines for bathing newborns.
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 8:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new study led by doctors at UVA Children’s Hospital shows there is no clear evidence-based guidelines for bathing newborns.

Dr. Ann Kellams, one of the researchers, says protecting newborn skin is crucial. She says bathing infants too soon or using harsh products could have lasting effects on the baby’s health.

“I think we’ve been in the habit of taking care of newborn skin in a certain way, but not really based on science,” Dr. Kellams said. “There was emerging data about how important the skin is as a barrier for protection and the development of the immune system, maybe we don’t want to disrupt that barrier.”

Dr. Kellams says parents should steer clear of bathing their newborn too frequently. She also says products marketed as “gentle” and “organic” sometimes are filled with detergents that could harm the baby’s immune system in the long run.

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