When babies are born, they are exposed to all kinds of new factors that they didn’t experience in the womb, like coldness, heat, clothes, chemicals, natural and artificial allergens and so on. The greatest discomfort babies experience is through their skin, since a newborn’s skin is up to 5 times thinner than that of a grown up.
Therefore, babies’ skin requires that much more care and if we give it enough of our attention and nurturing in the first couple of months, it will be much easier for the baby to adjust to the new environment. Here are a few basic tips on how you can take care of your baby’s skin and keep it feeling good.
Contrary to popular belief that babies should be given a bath each night before bedtime, there is actually no need to fully bathe your baby more than two or three times a week. They don’t move around much like adults do, and they only get dirty around the mouth, the diaper area and skin folds, and these can be cleaned with a cotton cloth dipped in water only.
Baby skin will actually benefit from keeping its natural coat of oil on, so you can feel free to wash the baby less until they get bigger. You can use a baby sponge to wash them, always warm up the room before undressing them, use warm water, not hot, not cold, check the temperature with your elbow since your skin is more sensitive there.
You don’t need to loathe the baby when you are bathing them, clean warm water will do. When your baby is bigger and their skin is thicker, you can use a mild baby soap or shampoo, but it is better it they don’t make bubbles. It is best to choose mild liquid cleanser, without soap, fragrance or color. Organic products are available nowadays, in all categories, soaps, shampoo, baby cream, lotions, balms and talcum powders. Avoid petroleum based products at all costs.
It is of utmost importance that your baby’s skin is well hydrated at all times, so moisturize whenever you can. You can use natural oils like almond and olive oil and lotions based on these. Lotions are more likely to irritate the skin, so ointments and creams are preferred; they need to be fragrance-free and applied right after the bath. In colder weather a heavy moisturizing cream should be applied at least twice a day, the greasier the better.
Since baby skin is extremely sensitive, they should only wear 100% cotton or other natural material as it is the softest on their bodies. This goes for anything babies get in touch with, from daily clothes, sleeping clothes, warm clothes to towels and bedding. It is best that these are made of organic cotton, wool or flux, as well as organic wood for buttons for example rather than plastic.
Basically, baby clothes should not contain any artificial chemical colors, bleaches or materials. Baby clothes should be washed and dried separately from the parents’ clothes and other laundry. A dye- and perfume-free baby detergent should be used, while a fabric softener should be avoided altogether.
It is very important to protect your baby’s skin from the exposure to the sun and ultra violet rays. This can be done by simply never letting the baby be in direct sunlight, especially between 10am and 4pm. When taking the baby out in the daytime, always protect them with a hat and clothing that has long sleeves and pants, you can even have them wear baby sunglasses with UV protection. If the baby is younger than 6 months, apply sunscreen only to the areas you can’t cover with clothes, but if they are older, you can apply sunscreen all over their body. Make sure it is a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF at least 30 and reapply it every 2 hours if in daylight.
Most babies will be spared from getting rashes and eczema if you follow these simple pieces of advice, they will enjoy their bath times and lotion times, as well as a massage since their skin is ultra sensitive to loving touch. So make sure you touch the baby gently and massage them a little each time you take their clothes of and while you moisturize their skin. They will love it!
Emma Lawson is a busy mom to two wonderful boys. She is passionate about writing. Watching her boys sleeping tightly in their baby sleeping bags is the greatest moment of inspiration. She loves to explore, learn and share about parenting techniques.