Even for experienced parents, the first few weeks of a new baby can feel like a shock to the system. The nights are filled with broken sleep, missing socks, and working out, which cry means which thing… but it is also filled with so much love and joy. Overwhelming amounts of everything.
And in between the feeding, sleeping and diaper changes, everyday care – like clipping nails and taking care of cradle cap and their very delicate skin.
Here are some expert-recommended ways to take care of your baby’s delicate skin – and keep it soft and healthy.
Depending on the time of year your little one arrives, you might be dealing with the high heat of the summer. The sun can cause a lot of damage to newborn skin, even if your little one isn’t sitting directly in the heat. Where possible, opt for clothing with a UPF number on the label. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor, and it means the clothing will go some way to protect their skin.
Unless the sunscreen is specifically developed for babies under six months, the best option is to keep babies in the shade at all times, with a UV rating.
Babies habitually use those little hands to give themselves unfortunate scratches. Until they learn to control how and where their hands move, it is better to make sure that they are trimmed at all times. If you’re not confident about clipping your baby’s nails with regular baby nail scissors, baby nail clippers come with even more protection and may help.
If you don’t want to use nail clippers at all, then using a nail file to shape the nails into a rounded shape will work fine too. Just keep in mind baby nails are very soft but can also be very sharp – so don’t underestimate the damage they can do.
Breathable cotton mittens over their little hands are a great physical barrier.
With newborns, there might be less smell and less notice that they have a wet diaper that needs to be changed. Diaper rash can develop very quickly and be incredibly painful too.
Some diapers are more absorbent and have fewer chemicals, which can help keep your baby’s skin dry and away from urine or poop.
Be sure to check and change diapers regularly, and at the first sign of irritation, use some diaper rash cream with zinc oxide in it. Zinc can help the skin to heal quickly.
You might notice as your baby gets a little bit bigger, they have a rash around where their pacifier might be; it might also go down into the neck. Anywhere that drool might become irritated. Be aware of newborn drool rash symptoms so you can tell the difference between a rash that you need to speak to your GP about.
Always seek medical care if you are in doubt about a rash.
Clothing and Blankets
You might have a stockpile of brand-new baby clothing, blankets and muslins ready to use. But unless they have been knitted or made by someone you know and washed before you receive them – there is a high chance that they will have some remnants of chemicals from the factor they were made in.
In the past year, several well-known baby clothing brands have chemicals in their clothing that can irritate baby skin and cause other harmful effects. Even those that have been labelled as environmentally friendly have had issues.
Make sure to wash all new clothing at least once before putting it on your baby.
We want to ensure our babies are clean at all times, but sometimes parents over bathe their babies and can strip their delicate skin of the protective oils. When your baby first arrives, it is easier and usually better for them to have a gentle sponge bath a few times a week at most. Once their umbilical cord stump is healed and falls off, they are ready for a little dip in warm water.
A fragrance-free mild soap and shampoo are the best options, but you don’t need to use them all over the body. Instead, you can focus on the areas of the baby that are most likely to trap dirt. Between chubby rolls, under the chin and into the neck, armpits and diapers need the most attention.
Pat the baby dry instead of rubbing their skin and apply any moisture-locking creams and emollients. Once you have your new baby routine down, your mind might already be back on doing things that make you feel great outside of parenting, in which case this post is for you: How Do I Get Back to Work With a Newborn Baby? – Chase the Write Dream.