Your newborn is home now, and you’re settling into a daily routine. Aside from keeping your baby warm and nourished, taking care of your newborn’s skin is just as important.
Newborn skin is delicate — and so is the baby’s immune system.
While there are several normal newborn rashes, chemicals, fragrances, and dyes in clothing, detergents, and baby products can cause newborn skin irritation, dryness, chafing, and rashes. However, there’s much you can do to protect your baby from these skin problems. My Baby Nursery is your one-stop baby product store.
The upside to a 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’s no need to rush it, rub it, or treat it with lotions or creams. (If a baby is born past the due date, this process is likely finished while they are still inside the womb.)
With newborn skin care, the adage is “less is more”.
Here are tips to help protect your baby from developing allergies and rashes:
Resist the Urge to Bathe Your Baby Frequently.
Too-frequent bathing — more than three times per week during the first year of life — removes the natural oils that protect the baby’s skin. That may leave the baby’s skin vulnerable and dry. It may also aggravate eczema.
Except for Drool and Diaper Changes, Newborns Don’t Get Very Dirty.
Babies aren’t working 9 to 5 and hitting the gym afterwards!
Once-a-week sponge baths (or even less) are best for newborns with the cord still attached.
Don’t Use Scented Baby Products in the Early Months.
This can irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
Wash Baby’s Clothing Before It’s Worn.
Use only baby laundry detergents that are fragrance- and dye-free. Wash baby clothes, bedding, and blankets separately from the family’s laundry. Or use the same detergent for the entire family.
Keep Your Baby Out of the Sun
You should limit your baby’s time in the sun as much as possible. When you take them outside, try to keep their skin out of the sun, even in the winter.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source, you should not apply sunscreen to a baby under six months of age. Instead, they recommend the following:
- keep your baby in the shade as much as possible
- put your baby in a hat that covers the neck and ears
- dress your baby in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs
- limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest
It’s also essential to keep your baby hydrated with breastmilk or formula if you’re spending more than a few minutes outside.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gives similar advice. They recommend avoiding putting sunscreen on babies younger than six months old, but they suggest that older children use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
If you have questions about using sunscreen on your infant, your baby’s doctor should be able to help.
Be Mindful of Dry Skin
These patches will often go away on their own, without the need for any additional moisturiser.
If your baby has very dry or cracked skin, you can apply petroleum jelly-based products. You can also use a moisturising lotion to the skin if it’s free of perfumes and dyes, which can irritate your baby’s skin even more.
Natural plant oils, such as olive, coconut, or sunflower seed oils, have been suggested as moisturisers for babies. Still, there’s some evidence that they may make dry skin or eczema worse in children.
Follow Best Practices for Bathing
Stick to best practices for infant bathing. You should give your baby regular baths, but you don’t need to bathe them every day.
You can use a soft washcloth and lukewarm water to keep their hands, face, genitals, and other body parts clean between washings in the tub. However, in some cases, washcloths may cause more skin irritation and dryness.
The AAP recommends the following essential tips for bath time:
- hold your baby securely and never leave them unattended
- use water that’s lukewarm, not hot
- perform the bath in a warm room
- keep baths short, between 5 and 10 minutes
- wash your baby’s eyes and face with water only
- consider adding a fragrance- and dye-free baby soap when washing your baby’s hair and body
After bathing, pat your baby completely dry before putting them in clothing or a diaper.
Don’t Sweat Cradle Cap.
Cradle cap is a common skin condition in babies that usually develops between three and three months.
With a cradle cap, you’ll notice yellowish, greasy-looking patches, called plaques, around your baby’s scalp and the crown of their head.
A cradle cap can also appear on the forehead, eyebrows, and around the ears.
In most cases, the cradle cap will clear up on its own. Before bathing your baby, it may help apply a small number of emollients, such as mineral oil, to the affected area before washing your baby’s scalp and head with a gentle shampoo.
If you don’t see improvements in the condition after a few washes, you should talk to your baby’s doctor about other possible treatments.
Avoid Contact Dermatitis Triggers
Contact dermatitis means that something has caused an allergic reaction on your baby’s skin. It may appear in many different ways, including red and swollen skin or skin that’s dry, cracked, and peeling.
The following are common irritants and allergens that may cause contact dermatitis:
- soaps or detergents
- some metals
If you can’t determine what caused the reaction, you should talk to your child’s doctor.
Treatment often involves at-home remedies and recommendations, such as the following:
- dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes and avoid rough fabrics, such as wool
- use unscented and dye-free moisturisers on the skin
- bath your baby every day in lukewarm water until the rash starts to go away
- avoid the substance that caused the inflammation, if known
Watch for Nail Growth
Even though your baby’s nails are small and thin, they might still be sharp. Long or short nails can cause scratches on the face or body, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how your baby’s nails are growing.
Baby nails increase, so you may need to file or trim your baby’s nails every week or more often.
You can use a non-metal nail file to gently smooth and shorten the nails or a baby nail clipper to reduce the length.
It’s recommended that you cut or file your baby’s nails while they’re asleep or very relaxed to prevent sudden jerking movements that may cause injury.
Help Prevent Heat Rash
A heat rash can occur if your baby becomes overheated. It often appears in skin folds or areas where clothes rub up against the skin.
A heat rash looks like tiny red spots on the skin and is often most noticeable in babies with a light skin tone.
Heat rash occurs when the sweat glands become blocked. Hot and humid weather, oils, or other ointments can cause the sweat glands to become overworked or blocked, leading to a rash.
To treat your baby, you should keep the skin cool and avoid using oil-based products. A cool bath or washcloth can help alleviate any itchiness and clear the rash.
You should contact your baby’s doctor if the rash does not improve within three days, if the skin appears infected, or if your baby develops a fever of 100°F or higher.
Care for the Umbilical Cord
When you first bring your baby home, the umbilical cord will still be attached to the belly button. You’ll need to keep the area as clean and dry as possible until the line falls off in about 1 to 3 weeks.
You mustn’t pull on or try to force the umbilical cord to fall off. It will come off on its own. You don’t need to apply any substance — not even rubbing alcohol — to prevent infection or aid in the drying process.
You should call your baby’s doctor if you notice:
- redness or swelling
- fever of 100°F or higher
- foul-smelling discharge
- a large amount of bleeding
Anticipate Rashes, Bumps, and Spots
Babies can develop numerous skin conditions during the first few months of life. These include cradle cap, diaper rash, toxic erythema, milia, infantile acne, and others.
Some are caused by regular hormonal changes or immature pores, while others are caused by inflammation or, rarely, an infection. Baby skincare products can help you pamper your baby’s skin.
Newborns Get Rashes Easily
Because most newborn’s rashes are “normal”, there is generally no treatment needed except patience.
It’s essential to ask the doctor for some guidance about what to expect when rashes require some additional treatment.
Ask your pediatrician about baby skin care tips if you need guidance.
Baby Skin Doesn’t Need Powder.
Although “baby powder” seems like an essential item to have for an infant, it is generally not needed.
Regardless of that, it is essential to avoid talc-containing Powder since there is a risk for accidental inhalation and subsequent lung problems.
Yellow Skin May Be a Sign of Jaundice
Jaundice, also called hyperbilirubinemia, is commonly seen within a few days of birth. It appears as a yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes.
Often it is caused by an average breakdown of red blood cells, which releases bilirubin (hence the name hyperbilirubinemia).
Most commonly, the condition resolves on its own, but occasionally when it is severe, infant jaundice treatment may be required. Always speak to the pediatrician about any concerns.
Massage for Baby
Several recent studies suggest that gentle massage can improve an infant’s sleep and decrease stress.
Taking Care of Your Baby After the First Few Weeks
Bathing Your Baby
Your baby needs a bath once or twice a week. She can be fully bathed even if the umbilical cord is still attached.
Your baby will be more comfortable with her bath if you warm the room in which you bathe her to 75° F.
Fill the sink or bathing tub with water that feels comfortably warm to your elbow but not hot.
Put in enough water to cover your baby, so she doesn’t get cold. Gently ease your baby into the water, holding her securely in your arm.
There are many different ways to hold your baby for a bath, and you can choose what is more comfortable for you.
One way is for your baby’s head to rest in the bend of your elbow or on your forearm with your hand holding her arm securely. The other option is to support your baby’s head in your hand and have her body submerged in the bath.
Wash your baby’s face and eyes with water only, no soap. You may add a bit of mild baby soap to the bathwater and wash her body.
You can wash her hair next. Scrub her head with a soft nail brush (you can take the meeting used in the hospital to clean your baby’s hair.)
Scrubbing your baby’s head with a bit of soap and this brush twice a week may help prevent cradle cap.
You can also wash your baby’s hair after drying her from the bath. Wrap her in a warm towel (heated in the clothes dryer) to help keep her warm. Hold her head near the faucet, and wet and wash her hair.
Be sure to dry your baby’s umbilical cord, skin, and hair well.
Many newborns have some areas of dry skin that go away on their own. During the newborn stage, babies usually do not need additional lotion on their skin.
Some babies have skin that is very dry and splits, especially around the ankles and hands. You can put olive oil, Vaseline, or A‑D ointment on those areas.
If you want to use lotion, choose one that does not have perfume or dyes.
Bathing and soap are drying to your baby’s skin, so don’t bathe your baby too often and use only a tiny amount of soap on your baby’s skin.
Baby’s nails are lovely but can also be very sharp and scratch her face. Use a nail file or emery board to shorten and smooth the nails.
This is the safest method. Another option is to trim nails carefully with baby scissors with blunt rounded tips or baby nail clippers.
Do not use adult-sized nail clippers, as you could clip the tip of the baby’s finger or toe instead of the nail.
Because baby’s nails increase, you may have to cut the fingernails at least once a week. You may only need to cut the toenails a couple of times per month.
A good time to trim your baby’s nails is when she is sleeping, and you have good lighting to see her nails well.
Clean your baby’s bottom with a warm washcloth and wipe with every diaper change.
Change table for baby nursery have you stressing? Look no further, My Baby Nursery have you covered with our extensive range of baby change tables.
For a baby girl’s diaper, clean from front to back. Clean gently between the folds of skin. A white vaginal discharge is normal and does not need to be scrubbed away.
Some girls may have a bloody discharge caused by maternal hormones. This is temporary and doesn’t need treatment.
For a baby boy, be careful to get all of the creases and folds clean. If your baby’s penis is not circumcised, don’t pull the foreskin back.
The foreskin will pull back naturally before your son reaches puberty. No special care is needed until then. If your baby boy were circumcised, you would receive care instructions at the time of the circumcision.
When putting the diaper on, try to keep it folded below the umbilical cord. Keep the thread dry to help it to fall off sooner.
You may notice a pinkish or rust-coloured stain in your baby’s diaper. This is normal for the first 3 to 4 days.
It is caused by uric acid crystals that occur when the baby’s urine is concentrated and indicates that it is essential to feed your baby as often as possible.
Babies are usually comfortable with a diaper, T-shirt, gown, and a single blanket in a room at 70° F. If the room is more excellent than this, your baby may also need a hat or more clothing.
As your baby gets older, you can gradually lower the temperature at night. Do not lower it below 62° F.
When babies are dressed too warm, they feel hot to the touch (hands, feet, back, and face) and maybe sweaty.
This can cause a heat rash. At the right temperature, your baby’s hands and feet feel calm, and the rest of the body is warm.
A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than you are wearing.
Taking Your Baby Outside
It is best to keep your baby away from large crowds whenever possible. This lowers the risk of your baby getting a virus and becoming sick.
Also, avoid having your baby around people who are sick during the first few weeks.
This is especially important during flu season, between November and March.
Know When to Seek a Pediatrician
Most skin rashes in babies are not severe and require little to no treatment. Some rashes may require further evaluation.
Any fever associated with a rash requires an evaluation by a physician. We have the best range of baby nursery blankets to keep your baby just right day and night.
Rashes with blisters or other fluid-filled bumps (pimples, cysts) may also need to be evaluated. In general, never hesitate to contact the pediatrician with concerns.