A woman’s greatest blessing is to be able to become a mother and give birth to new life. Motherhood is a journey that compares to no others; it is one that excites you, scares you, and exhilarates you. It comes without any instructions or manuals, but is accompanied by a host of unique challenges and experiences. When you are a first-time mom about to give birth to your first baby, you have to learn everything by yourself, in your own unique life situation and in relation to your own little baby.
Becoming a mother is so much more than just providing the baby with a warm home for 9 months in the womb; the real job begins after the birth of the baby. From the very first time you hold your newborn, you realise that this will be the most wonderful and the scariest phase of your life, because as much as you love this little one already, she is delicate and feels as fragile as a feather.
Newborn babies have to be handled very gently and cautiously because they and their skin is far more sensitive and thinner than adult skin. The infant skin is more susceptible and tender to the changes of the surroundings. A new mother is often left wondering about the numerous rashes, redness, boils or marks that may appear on a baby’s skin, and is further overwhelmed by the innumerable baby skincare products available in the market.
It is of utmost importance that new parents should be careful about the needs of their baby’s skin and which baby skincare products are natural, chemical-free, and will not cause any harm to the delicate baby skin. But before choosing the right kind of skincare products for babies, let’s go through the 7 baby skincare tips for new parents:
1. Bathing – A lot of experts suggest that it is not necessary for the babies to have a bath daily as excessive baths can steal away the skin's natural oils and may result in dry skin. Initially, while the baby is a newborn, you can schedule baths 2-4 times a week. While preparing the water, make sure you don't use water that is too hot or too cold, as this can affect the baby's skin and health; you should always opt for lukewarm water accompanied with mild baby soap.
Do a patch test of the soap and shampoo before using them as the baby can be allergic to certain ingredients in some products. Also, after the bath, make sure you don't rub the baby's skin with a towel and just pat it dry. Additionally, ensure
that the air conditioners and the fans of the room are switched off to avoid the baby catching a cold.
2. Moisturization and Massages – Your newborn has tender skin and is prone to having dryness. You must implement the moisturization step right after the bath as it helps to lock all the moisture in the skin and keeps the skin hydrated. Identify a baby moisturizer for your baby’s skin, which is gentle and yet nourishing for the skin.
You can use oils or baby lotions and give a gentle massage to the baby every day. Massaging the baby will help to keep the baby's skin nourished. You can use coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil, and can even use them at a lukewarm temperature to massage, which will in turn help in good blood flow and eventually good skin. Newborns also find massages very relaxing
and it often helps them sleep longer and better.
3. Powdering – The new parents often ask, as to why powdering is so important? Once the babies learn to move around, it gets difficult to dry them completely after a bath. So, it is advised that you apply powder on the baby's skin after bathing and moisturization. Powdering helps in absorbing the greasiness of the moisturizer and helps in keeping the baby dry and fresh.
Remember to buy chemical and talc-free powder as it can irritate a baby's soft and sensitive skin.
4. Clothes and skin problems – The skin of a newborn baby is so vulnerable, and is very prone to different kinds of skin problems like baby acne, eczema, diaper rash, heat rash, milia, vernix, erythema toxicum (red rash with red or yellow bumps), and such others. Here, it is of real importance that new parents keep an eye out for such skin problems. Diaper rashes can cause major trouble, and in order to prevent them, you must keep changing the baby's diapers every 4-6 hours. You can read our article on the various skin conditions found in babies here.
Another thing to keep in mind while caring for newborns and their skin is to always use cotton clothes for babies, especially during summers. Wearing soft cotton clothes prevents heat rashes and the baby feels more comfortable.
5. Daily Cleansing – Even though it is not necessary for a baby to have a bath daily, the baby's skin must be cleaned daily, specifically in the first few weeks of birth. A newborn baby's skin gets easily greased and while inside the womb, it coats itself with a white wax-like substance called vernix. This white wax peels off frequently in the initial days and hence it is suggested to clean the baby gently using a wet sponge. Alternatively, you can also use a soft towel or wet wipes to clean the baby's skin and this will help prevent unwanted skin infections.
6. Cleaning the umbilical cord – The first few weeks of the birth of the baby are crucial and demand extensive care and extra attention. A newborn has a little part of the umbilical cord attached to its navel, which will eventually dry out and fall off on its own. The umbilical cord usually takes 11-15 days to fall off; during this time, it is crucial to keep that area near the cord dry.
It is advised to not bathe the babies till the cord falls off. If the area around the umbilical cord appears to have developed pus, redness, swelling, or pain, you should consult your baby’s doctor immediately to find a suitable treatment.
7. General care – In general, there are several other tips for baby skincare.
- Babies should not be exposed to direct sunlight until they are 6 months or older, as direct sunlight can be harmful to their tender skin.
- Apply a good baby moisturizer, and make them wear cotton-based fully-covered clothes, which will protect them from sunburn.
- Always use gentle, natural, chemical-free skincare products for your newborn baby’s skincare routines. Chemical- based products can harm the baby's skin and can sometimes be allergic. Even while choosing a detergent to wash your newborn baby’s clothes, buy soft detergents and wash the clothes daily to keep your baby rash-free.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your baby to ensure there is no transfer of germs or infection.
- Remind yourself that you are not alone in this. Ask for your mother's or friends' help and experience, or reach out to your doctor to see medical advice.
- If any unusual symptoms are visible on your baby’s skin, consult your doctor at the earliest.
Motherhood is often a daunting experience, but baby skincare does not have to be! By choosing the right products, maintaining good hygiene, and handling your baby’s delicate skin with love and care, you are already doing the best job you can!