There are so many things to think about once your bundle of joy arrives home from the hospital. From diapering, feeding and changing to sleeping, socializing, and more—there’s a lot to take in as a parent. That doesn’t even include all the new information you need when it comes to baby skincare! One of the most important details is how to keep your little one’s skin healthy and happy.
Newborns come with a set of unique challenges, from keeping them warm to prevent them from scratching their sensitive skin. But perhaps the greatest challenge is keeping their skin as healthy as possible.
Newborns have sensitive skin and are more prone to dryness, irritation, and eczema than adults. This can be especially concerning for first-time parents who may not know what to look for in terms of red flags that indicate when something might be going wrong with their child’s skin.
While it’s impossible to keep your newborn’s skin perfect all the time, there are some baby skincare tips you can follow to help your little one stay hydrated and prevent problems like rashes or dry patches from cropping up. Here are some helpful tips on how you can keep your newborn’s skin healthy and happy throughout their first few months of life.
Newborn Skin Care: Keep It Clean
Newborn skin has a natural oil called sebum that makes it naturally waterproof and able to protect the skin from outside contaminants. But this waterproofing also makes it more difficult to clean. Newborns have very sensitive skin and any signs of bacteria or dirt will cause inflammation, redness, and irritation.
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day, but it’s a good idea to clean their skin with warm water and a gentle, non-scented cleanser every other day, or whenever they get dirty. When you clean your baby’s skin, make sure the water is warm and not too hot. You don’t want to burn their delicate skin! The warm water will open up pores, allowing the dirt and bacteria to come out. Be sure to pat your baby’s skin dry, rather than rubbing it, to avoid irritation.
Change Diapers Often
Newborn poop isn’t fully formed and is mostly made up of breast milk and/or formula. It’s important to change diapers frequently because the milk can irritate a baby’s skin if it stays on their body for too long.
No matter how often you change diapers, you’re bound to get some poop on your newborn’s skin, so you’ll need to clean it off with warm water and a baby-friendly cleanser. Be sure to use a gentle, non-scented cleanser that isn’t going to irritate your baby’s skin.
The frequency of diaper changes will vary depending on your baby’s diet and how quickly they go. Some babies will go through 10-12 diapers a day while others might only go through 5-6.
Use a Gentle, Non-Scented Cleansing Shampoo
Newborn skin is very sensitive and can easily become irritated. Head-to-toe wash is a very important aspect of newborn care. Cleaning your baby’s scalp with gentle, non-scented baby shampoo will help keep their hair clean and reduce the risk of cradle cap, a scaly and itchy scalp rash that’s common in newborns. You can also use the same shampoo to clean your newborn’s body and the soles of their feet.
It might seem unnecessary to clean your baby’s soles, but dirt on their feet can easily transfer to their face and eyes, especially during diaper changes. While you’re at it, you can also use the shampoo to clean the inside of your baby’s ears. The skin inside their ears is very thin and can easily become infected, so it’s important to keep it clean.
Protect Baby’s Skin From the Sun
Newborns are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun because their skin isn’t yet fully developed. The skin is more porous than adults’ skin, which means it’s less effective at blocking harmful UV rays. It’s important to protect your newborn’s skin from the sun, especially during the first few months when they don’t even have any UV protection.
For the first 6 months, keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible, and always put them in a hat or some kind of head covering. After 6 months, make sure your baby is wearing at least SPF 15 sunscreen on any exposed skin, including the back of their neck.
Clean Their Bodies During & After Feeding
When you’re feeding your baby, it’s easy to forget that their mouth isn’t the only part of their body that needs to be cleaned. Make sure to clean your baby’s face and mouth with water after every feeding. The best way to clean your baby’s face is by using a warm washcloth. You can use the same cloth for their face and their bottom. It’s a great way to get a quick cleaning in without having to switch between different items.
When you’re finished feeding, it’s also a good idea to clean the rest of your baby’s body with a washcloth. Make sure you clean your baby’s ears, behind their ears, soles of their feet, legs, arms, hands, and belly button. Cleaning your baby’s body after feeding helps keep them free of unwanted bacteria and allows you to check for signs of irritation or a rash.
Check for rashes and dry spots often.
Newborns are prone to eczema, especially if they’re in a dry environment. Eczema is a skin rash that can be very painful and is sometimes accompanied by red, itchy, and flaky skin. Eczema can appear on your baby’s face, shoulders, arms, and legs, but it is most often found on their knees and elbows. Eczema and dry skin are two of the most common skin issues in newborns. It’s important to check your baby’s skin for signs of a rash or dry spots often. If you notice signs of eczema, you should immediately consult your baby’s doctor for treatment.
What are the things to look for when the baby has dry skin?
If your baby is suffering from dry skin, you’ll notice patches of red, flaky, and scaly skin on the knees, elbows, hands, and legs. The skin might also feel itchy, especially when your baby is trying to sleep. If you notice dry skin on your baby’s skin, try moisturizing their skin with a gentle, non-scented lotion or ointment.
You can also apply coconut oil to your baby’s skin to help lock in moisture. Make sure to apply the moisturizer before bed so it has plenty of time to sink in and work its magic.
How to prevent eczema in your newborn?
If your baby is at risk for eczema or has been diagnosed with it, there are some things you can do to help prevent flare-ups from getting out of control.
The first thing you can do is limit the amount of time your baby is spending in the sun. Make sure to always put your baby in a protective hat when they’re in the sun and keep them out of the sun when the UV rays are strongest, like during the hours between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Another thing you can do to help prevent eczema is to keep your baby’s environment as clean and dry as possible. Make sure to keep their bedding clean and change it as often as needed.
What type of skin does a newborn have?
Newborn skin is very thin and delicate. It’s often soft, red, and wrinkly. It’s important to keep newborn skin moisturized and protected from the elements, especially during the colder months when the air is drier. Keeping newborn skin moisturized will help prevent it from becoming brittle and cracking. It will also help prevent the itching and redness associated with dry skin. Newborns’ skin also isn’t fully developed, so it’s important to be extra careful when washing their skin. When you’re washing your baby’s skin, make sure to use lukewarm water and gentle, non-scented cleansers. Be sure to moisturize your newborn’s skin regularly,