It’s science: You don’t need to shower as much as you think

The CDC states that although frequent bathing has aesthetic and stress-relieving benefits, it serves little microbiologic purpose. So skip that shower, mama.

how often should I shower

Having a baby means we will always have company. In the early days, weeks, months and even years, it's a hands-on 24/7 reality. From never leaving your baby unattended to those inevitable interruptions from toddlers whose sixth sense kicks in when mama is in the bathroom, sometimes trying to take a shower just isn't doable. And, we can be left thinking—Do I stink? Am I dirty? How long can I really go without a shower?

The good news: You don't need to worry, mama.

"We over-bathe in this country," says Boston dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch. "That's really important to realize. A lot of the reasons we do it is because of societal norms." In fact, up until the 19th century, it was not uncommon to go a whole month (or longer!) without a shower. And having one sooner was a luxury for the wealthy—if you call cold showers luxurious.

The CDC states that although frequent bathing has aesthetic and stress-relieving benefits, it serves little microbiologic purpose. In other words, your body doesn't need a shower as often as you might think, and going a week could be just fine, mama.

Skin is a living, breathing organ that uses pores and biology to create its biome. There are good bacteria and bad, and they live in balance on our skin, working together to provide a barrier to infectious microorganisms that we may encounter, and supporting our immune system along the way. Studies have found frequent showering, as in 2 or 3 times per week, especially in hot water, may do more harm to our body than good by stripping away the thin layer of fatty acids and oil that help protect skin from outside contaminants. This can also make our skin more dry, flaky and itchy.

If you can't remember the last time you showered, keep this in mind, mama:

1. Our skin has an amazing way of cleaning itself.

Turns out, we were not meant for constant cleaning. There are about 1,000 different bacterial and 40 fungus species that live on our skin, and the balance between them keeps the ones that can make us sick from taking over.

Daily showers can remove skin's natural oils and disrupt the population of bacteria and actually contribute to body odor, because when the system is out of balance, the species that thrive tend to favor the kinds of microbes that produce odor. When the ecosystem is balanced, we don't smell bad, we just smell like a person.

2. When we allow our body to equilibrate, our skin and hair will fluctuate less between oily and dry.

The top layer of skin is made of dead skin cells (like bricks) that protect underlying skin layers, held together by lipids (like mortar) that seal in moisture. When we shower, we're breaking apart this layer. More showers can mean more damage to the top layer and less time for skin to repair and recover through natural oil production. This is bad for our hair, too. Stripping our scalps of essential oil makes it dry and prone to dandruff and greasiness as the scalp tries to overcompensate for dryness.

3. Changing your clothes can help you feel more clean.

In a study of Russian astronauts, it was discovered that up to 93% of sweat, skin oils and sebum were absorbed by the fabric of their clothing. That's right—you can stay clean just by changing your outfit!

But it's important to note that infrequent showering can be taken too far. Everyone has a different rate of cell turnover and sebum production, and a different level of tolerance for how long is too long to go. And too much time between showers, for too many weeks in a row, can cause dermatitis neglecta to develop, where dead skin cells combine with dirt and sweat to form brown patches on the skin. Luckily these spots are harmless and can be washed away with a little soap and water.

Bottom Line: Don't fret if you can't get a daily shower, mama. Just remember to wash your hands frequently to reduce the chance of passing along germs—and use those baby wipes to freshen up your bitty bits, if you want to 😉.

We've found a few favorites that help keep us feeling fresh on the days a shower just isn't in the cards.

Vivaiodays rose geranium cleansing water

Vivaiodays rose geranium cleansing water

Whether you use it to wash your face, your baby's bum, or even as a make-up remover, this multi-tasking soap-free tonic is all natural and totally capable of pulling you through those shower-free days. It's the perfect size to keep in your bag and freshen up while on-the-go as well.


Eco Pea bamboo wipes

Eco Pea bamboo wipes

Is there a mama among us who hasn't bathed with baby wipes at some point? Unlikely. These biodegradable bamboo wipes make those "baths" just about as luxe as it can possibly be. They're thick and plush and just one gets the job done.


Trades for Good peppermint, pachouli and rosemary hand soap

Trades for Good hand soap

Washing your hands with refreshing peppermint is surprisingly satisfying in between true power showers. Natural, sustainable and uniquely packaged in a recyclable aluminum can, this one also gives the back of your sink a very chic upgrade.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play