Your baby's skin is sensitive, which means it needs a bit more attention than you might think. Here, Margo Marrone, Co-Founder of The Organic Pharmacy shares her tips for caring for your little one's soft skin.
Bringing your little bundle of joy home can be an exciting time as you prepare to start your new journey through parenthood. You'll no-doubt want to make the most of every moment and care for your new baby properly, and getting regular skin-to-skin contact by applying lotions and massage oils can be a great bonding experience for you both.
Your little one's skin is more sensitive than your own might be, so it's important to choose the right products and activities so you can enjoy your bonding time while also taking the very best care of your baby.
Below, I'll be giving you my advice on caring for your baby's delicate skin, as well as dealing with common issues, so you can spend more time enjoying the new addition to your family.
Use the right products
A baby's skin is 30% thinner than an adult's, research has shown, which means it can be a bit more sensitive to harsh ingredients. That's why it's important to be selective with the kinds of products you use on your little one.
Look for lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and massage oils that are specially formulated for sensitive baby skin. These are designed to be milder than those for adults and will have been tested to ensure they're safe for use on delicate baby skin. You should also choose products that are organic and free of phthalates and parabens which could be sensitising.
Whether you choose fragranced or non-fragranced products is a matter of preference. Lightly scented products won’t usually irritate your baby's skin, but it's best to avoid any strong fragrances if they have eczema. Many fragranced lotions and oils also contain scents that can be relaxing for yourself and your little one, so these could be a good idea before bedtime.
Deal with common skincare issues
Because your baby's skin is delicate, it can be prone to dryness and signs of irritation. These are usually nothing to worry about, and you can often treat them at home using the right care.
Dry skin: Dry skin is one of the most common skin complaints for babies and can easily be treated by moisturising your little one regularly. Applying a baby-safe lotion when they're fresh out the bath and their skin is still damp can help lock in moisture.
Eczema: Eczema is another common skin complaint that causes an itchy red rash on your baby's cheeks, scalp, torso, arms, and legs. If your little one has eczema, moisturise them frequently and try to avoid fragranced products. It's also a good idea to give your little one anti-scratch mittens. If your baby's eczema doesn't show any signs of clearing up, speak to your paediatrician who will be able to prescribe a topical treatment.
Baby acne: Baby acne looks just like acne in adults and is usually a result of hormones. If you've noticed blemishes on your little one's skin, it's important to leave them alone to fully heal and speak to your paediatrician if you have concerns. Cleaning them with water two or three times a day will also help but avoid using any products on these areas until they're clear.
Heat rash: Heat rash usually occurs around areas of your baby's skin that are prone to sweating, such as under their armpits, behind their knees, and in the creases of their elbows. This will usually go away on its own if you keep your baby cool and dress them in loose fitting clothing.
Nappy rash: A nappy rash can occur as a result of too much moisture and not enough air around your baby's bottom. This can be treated easily by leaving their nappy off for around 10 minutes in between changing them. You can also apply a soothing nappy balm to calm any irritation.
Get regular skin-to-skin contact
Getting regular skin-to-skin contact with your little one is a great way for you both to bond, and bathing them regularly and applying lotions can be a lovely experience for you both. You could also try closer skin-to-skin contact by laying your baby across your chest after bath time, which can help support breastfeeding. You can do this from the moment your baby is born and continue doing so for as long as your little one will let you.
Massage therapy is another great way to take care of your baby's skin while also getting some lovely bonding time. Regular massages can help to relieve stress, research shows, and just 15 minutes a day can have positive benefits for your little one. If you choose a baby-friendly massage oil with a soothing scent, such as lavender and chamomile, you can boost the relaxing benefits for both you and your little one. Products made from sunflower oil can also help to look after your baby's skin barrier and keep them feeling soft and smooth.
When massaging your baby, it's important to pay attention to their mood. You should start the massage when they're quiet and calm, beginning with their feet, ankles, and legs before moving onto their torso and arms. Remember to stop the massage if your little one shows signs of discomfort. You could also consider attending a baby massage class which will guide you through the process.
By following the tips above, you can take good care of your baby's skin, while also enjoying some quality time together. Remember to always seek advice from your paediatrician if you have any concerns.