There’s nothing sweeter than soft newborn baby skin, so you’ll want to keep it that way as long as possible. But newborn skin is especially sensitive, so it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of baby skin care.
Don’t bathe your baby every day. Too much tub time can dry out baby’s skin, but more importantly, babies don’t get dirty enough to need daily baths, at least until they are crawling and eating solids. Until then, just bathe your baby a couple of times a week using mild soap and baby shampoo. In between baths, you can do daily spot checks with a warm, wet washcloth. When bathing baby, focus on cleaning the mouth, the skin folds and the diaper region. Wash from the top down and save the diaper area for last to avoid spreading bacteria from that area.
Do change your baby’s diaper frequently. Change diapers frequently, wiping gently but thoroughly each time with baby wipes made for sensitive skin. Dab diaper cream on baby’s bottom. Wait a few moments to air-dry so moisture doesn’t lead to a painful diaper rash.
Don’t use products with fragrance. It’s best to use skincare products made especially for babies, such as fragrance-free and tear-free shampoos, bath gels and lotions. With each one you use, monitor your baby’s reaction in case they are allergic. Avoid perfumed, antibacterial and deodorant soaps, as they are too harsh for sensitive baby skin.
Do keep baby’s skin moisturized. Ointments, which have a thicker consistency, are best for keeping your little one’s skin soft. Baby powders are not necessary.
Don’t put new clothing on your baby without washing first. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends washing new clothing and towels before using them on your baby. It is not necessary to use special “baby” detergents, regular detergent is fine.Skin conditions are often genetic, so if you have sensitive skin, chances are your baby might too. If your child develops irritation or a rash on body parts that her clothes come in contact with, your detergent could be to blame. Try switching to a milder baby detergent or one that is “free and clear” of allergens, dyes and fragrances.
Do protect baby’s skin from the sun. Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight until they are six months old, according to the AAP. If you’ll be outdoors with your baby, dress her in protective clothing including a hat, long sleeves, pants and socks – keep clothing lightweight so shedoesn’t get too hot. If there is no shade around, either from the stroller, umbrella, tree or canopy, consider usinga sunscreen on your baby’s skin. The use of sunscreen in infants younger than 6 months is an often-debated topic. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics states that using sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months of age is safe, you should always check with your pediatrician before using sunscreen on babies under 6 months old.
Written by Cristi Driver