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Don't bathe small children too often, especially not daily! There's a risk they develop a skin condition like dermatitis.

I have heard several recommendations about giving daily an oil massage to the infant. It is said to strengthen his muscles and bones etc.

From: http://www.dabur.com/Products-Consumer%20Health%20%28OTC%29-Dabur%20Lal%20Tail

Dabur Lal Tail is an Ayurvedic Baby massage oil made from time tested ayurvedic ingredients which has many proven benefits for the Baby. Its massage helps in strengthening baby's bones and muscles and is proven safe and effective for better overall physical growth of babies.

Doctors from the Pediatrics department of Jawaharlal Nehru College conducted a clinical research under stringent rules and measures where the effect of massaging a baby with Dabur Lal Tail was compared with the effect of other massage oils, talcum powder and no massage. In the research, it was clearly proven that babies who were massaged daily with Dabur Lal Tail in comparison with no massage experienced 2 times faster increase in weight and height.

Clinical Research further proved the positive effects of Dabur Lal Tail massage in inducing better sleeping pattern in Neonates and Infants, which is very important for a baby’s development.

Now, if I oil massage him daily will I not have to bathe him daily too? Will it make sense to oil massage him daily and bathe him once a week? Any precautions to be taken in this case?

2 Answers 2


Oil massages are relaxing, and it's sure to be a good experience for the baby. But it won't strengthen his muscles and bones etc. – that's a myth. Muscles are improved by physical training (or, questionably, also using steroids or electrical stimulation). Bones are improved by calcium intake.

In my experience, a bath is not always necessary, it depends on the amount of oil used, and what kind it is. Some oils are easily absorbed into the skin = no bath needed. If a significant amount of oil remains on the skin after several minutes, then try using less oil next time. If oil still remains, you can rub down the baby with a soft towel. If that's not enough, a bath is probably a good idea.

  • But it won't strengthen his muscles and bones etc. – that's a myth. Please see my edit to the question. May 29, 2013 at 6:40
  • Chrys' answer addressed your edit. Jun 2, 2013 at 4:02

Plenty of studies have shown the benefit of parents massaging their babies. It helps them to feel close. The baby very literally feels the parent's love as a tangible thing. Typically the baby sleeps better, eats better, and is less likely to be ill if they have significant skin contact every day. Also on a practical level you will notice any symptoms or physical changes in the baby and be able to treat them or seek treatment for them.

That said, it doesn't really matter what you use for the massage. The passage you quoted didn't say their oil made an improvement over other oils, or over powder. Only over no massage at all. And the improvement wasn't strong muscles and bones, but gaining more weight. You can use an oil if you like, or just stroke the baby's skin. One day you can use oil and the next day the bath soap during the bath.

The worry about over-bathing a baby is related to a situation in which the baby is really not dirty - there are no oils, sweat, or dust to remove yet the parents keep soaping and bathing them. Some of them will react badly to that. However if your baby is oily, washing the oil off is a fine thing to do.

If I recall correctly, your baby isn't born yet. Trying to accumulate a large number of hard-and-fast rules like how often to do something is about the only kind of learning you can do now. But once you have an actual baby in your arms, one with skin that either smells and feels clean and wonderful, or looks, feels, and smells like a bath is required, you'll know whether to bathe that baby or not. Some people insist on following schedules and practices without observing whether they're needed or not, and the answer you linked to was telling those people not to just blindly bathe on a frequent schedule. Take your lead from what the baby needs.

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