Bath time for babies is a cherished ritual for many parents, but one mother has set off a firestorm of debate with her confession that she bathes her 3-month-old son only once a week.
At least, that's her goal, but Claire Goss said she doesn't always achieve it.
"I aim for once a week. It might not happen. I will confess, it has gone longer than a week," Goss, 32, told ABC News' Paula Faris.
When asked how long she'd gone between baths for her baby, Charlie, she said, "It can be a good 10 days, but if you met my baby and held him, you'd probably think he smells as amazing as I do."
The Ashland, Mass., mother of three says her bedtime routine for her son includes changing his diaper, washing his face and washing his hands.
Goss, a part-time blogger and stay-at-home mom, says nightly baths were once a routine for her, but five years later, she simply doesn't have the time.
"My first baby got her daily baths sometimes, two bathes a day," she said.
Now, with a full schedule that includes having to be home to meet the bus, getting her other son, Peter, to pre-school, going grocery shopping and getting dinner ready - she says she realized she couldn't do it all.
"What I realized now after five years of parenting children is, he's not a dirty kid, he's a baby," she said.
Goss wrote about her baby-bathing mindset on Babble, a parenting website. (Babble and ABC News are both owned by The Walt Disney Co.)
The Oct. 3 post, titled "Do You Actually Need to Bathe Baby," started a furor online.
Some readers viewed her approach as "lazy" and "gross," but others agreed with her, saying babies probably shouldn't be bathed with soap and water every day.
Asked how she'd feel if she didn't take a shower for two weeks, Goss acknowledged that it was different for adults.
"I would feel gross because I'm an adult and I have hormones. But I have to go back to, mothers know their babies," she said. "They have gut feelings about their babies, and I would never presume to tell you how often to bathe your baby."
Her take isn't just a matter of convenience. She also believes it's healthier.
"In my gut I don't think he needs it," Goss said. "He is a happy baby, he is a healthy baby. My pediatrician told me, with my second, that I was bathing him too frequently because his skin was dried out."
Too much bathing can decrease babies' natural bacteria count and make them more susceptible to infections and rash, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP advises, however, that it's best to bathe babies at least three times a week.
"We've learned now that baby skin is very different then adult skin," Dr. Alan Greene, a California pediatrician, told ABC News. "Really, you want to watch your baby more than watching the calendar when deciding to give a bath."
- Family Health