Fear or no fear, babies do need a good cleaning. But how you do it, and how often you do it is up for discussion! Our American nurse at the hospital said until they're crawling around and getting really dirty, babies really only need a bath in the tub about once a week, using a washcloth (water only) to do spot cleaning on a daily basis (face, neck, hands, armpits - they get cheesy - ewwww!!, diaper region); incidentally this is the practice we have adopted. Our Australian nurse, on the other hand, said it's their culture to bathe the baby daily. My sister, who's son has severe eczema, would argue this is too drying on the skin, and in our son's case I would agree. His skin is a bit dryer after a bath, and his cradle cap is absolutely flaking out of control. Sure you could bathe daily and then lather them up with all kinds of creams, but those creams are loaded with all kinds of chemicals. And no, I don't want to shell out an arm and a leg for an organic blah blah blah kind of cream when we've found that it's much simpler to just not bathe him daily!
One of my friends in Japan got the OK from her doctor at her son's 1 month checkup to take him into the regular bath with them. I have mixed emotions about this. Mostly I would love to do it! I love holding Kenzo, and I love taking a bath, so to mix those things would be absolute joy!! My problem is I like my bath water to be hot, and my husband likes the water to be pretty much scalding! And from what I understand a baby should have bath water that is just barely warm. I wonder if there is a certain degree that is recommended? The bath we had over in Japan was electric, you set the temperature and hit "on" and leave the room going about your business elsewhere in the house. When the tub is done filling up, it plays a song to let you know. And then it keeps the water that temperature til you're done bathing! How awesome is that?? Man, I wish I had that tub here. Instead, we have an OLD (pre-war??) tub with no stopper so we don't even have an option to take a bath now. Which is nice cuz I don't have to bother cleaning it often (or to be brutally honest... practically never). We'll have to fix this before Kenzo grows out of his baby bath, which fits into our kitchen sink and is nice and easy to use!