Your newborn is home now, and you are settling into a daily routine. Keeping your baby warm and nourished is tops of your list and baby skin care is just as important.
Newborn skin is delicate and so is the baby’s immune system. Chemicals, fragrances, and dyes in clothing, detergents and baby products can cause newborn skin irritation, dryness, chafing and rashes. However, there is much you can do to protect your baby from these skin problems.
The upside to your baby’s skin sensitivity? Your touch on your newborn’s skin has a soothing, nurturing effect and is critical to your baby’s development.
Natural Baby Skin Care
A newborn baby is born with wrinkly skin and a protective covering called vernix that naturally peels off during the first week. There is no need to rush this process, rub it or treat it with lotions or creams. (If baby is born past the due date, this process is likely finished while she is still inside the womb.)
With newborn skin care, the adage is “less is more” is essential to keep in mind. Here are tips to help protect your baby from developing allergies and rashes:
Resist the urge to bathe your newborn baby frequently. Too-frequent bathing, more than three times per week during the first few months of life removes the natural oils that protect baby’s skin. This can leave your baby’s skin vulnerable, so it reacts to any potential allergen; triggering a reaction like eczema.
Except for drool and diaper changes, newborns do not get very dirty. Babies are not working 9 to 5 and then hitting the gym afterward! For the first month or so, a sponge bath, two or three times a week will keep your baby safely clean. In between, simply clean baby’s mouth and diaper area with a little water or cleanser.
Once-a-week sponge baths (or even less) are best for newborns with darker skin tones (like African-American). These infants tend to have dryer skin and have a higher risk of skin problems such as eczema.
Do not use baby products in the early months. The immune system is still developing. If you have a family history of skin problems, allergies, or asthma, it is especially important to protect your baby’s immune system and protect baby from irritating allergens.
Wash baby’s clothing before it is worn. Use only baby laundry detergents that are fragrance and dye-free. Wash baby clothes, bedding, and blankets separately from the family’s laundry.