Precious Newborn Skin — What to Expect and How to Keep It Healthy
Oh, the delicious scent of a new baby and the softness of their skin. A newborn baby’s skin is the most sensitive during this period and it’s essential to protect it from everyday aggressors. We bring you a handy list of do’s and don’ts to protect your newborn’s silky skin, from head to their wiggly toes.
Natural Moisturisation for Dry Skin
Not all babies require lotion or moisturiser. It’s normal for babies to experience flaky skin during the first week or two of their lives. It’s normal and doesn’t require special skin care and will often disappear on their own. Apply petroleum-jelly-based products if your baby's skin is extremely dry or prone to breaking. You can choose moisturising lotions that are free of fragrances and dyes which can cause further irritation. The natural route is always recommended to moisturise your baby’s skin, such as olive, coconut or sunflower seed oils. It’s best to consult a doctor or a professional as some sources claim that they may actually aggravate children's dry skin or eczema.
Don’t Be Alarmed About Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is a harmless skin condition among newborns that sees rough patches on their scalp developed between ages 3 weeks and 3 months old. The aforementioned patches are presented as yellowish, greasy-looking patches, called plaques, and can also appear on the forehead, eyebrows and around the ears. Cradle cap typically goes away on its own. Applying a small amount of emollient, such as mineral oil, to the afflicted area before washing your baby's head and scalp with a gentle shampoo before bathing them, may be helpful. If the cradle cap doesn’t diminish after a few washes, consult a paediatrician for alternative treatments.
Nipping Contact Dermatitis at the Bud
As suggested by the terminology, contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction caused by direct contact with a substance. It can manifest in a variety of forms, such as red and inflamed skin or dry, cracked, and peeling skin. Below are some of the most common irritants and allergens that may cause contact dermatitis:
- soaps or detergents
- some metals
If you’re baffled with what’s causing the allergy, it’s best to talk to your child’s doctor.
At home remedies works wonders to treat contact dermatitis, such as the following:
- dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes and avoid rough fabrics, such as wool
- use unscented and dye-free moisturisers on the skin
- give your baby a bath every day in lukewarm water until the rash dissipates
- If known, avoid the substance that caused the rash
Averting Heat Rash
Given our tropical weather, it’s normal and in fact, common for babies to develop heat rash, especially in areas where the skin folds or areas where clothes rub up against the skin. A heat rash appears as little red dots on the skin and is frequently more apparent in newborns with light skin tones. It develops when the sweat glands become clogged due to hot and humid weather, oils or other ointments that cause the sweat glands to work in overdrive. Keep your baby's skin cool and stay away from oil-based products when treating heat rash. Another quick fix and itch relief is with a cool bath or washcloth. If the rash does not go away in three days, the skin appears infected, or if your infant gets a temperature of 37°C or higher, ring up your baby’s paediatrician immediately.
Infant skin can easily get irritated by wet and dirty diapers, causing diaper rash. This variant of dermatitis appears like patches or inflamed on the baby’s bottom and typically clears within a week. Your newborn’s diaper should be checked and changed frequently in order to prevent diaper rash. Gently clean the area after changing a soiled diaper, then pat the child dry. To prevent infections, wipe girls from front to back. Diaper cream might be helpful if the baby does get a diaper rash. Consider removing the diaper for a little way to allow your newborn’s skin to breathe.
Caring for the umbilical cord
When you bring your newborn home for the first time, the umbilical cord will still be attached to his or her belly button. Until the cord comes out in 1 to 3 weeks, you must maintain the area as dry and clean as you can. Be mindful not to prod or pull or attempt to cut the umbilical cord as it will fall off on its own. You don’t have to apply substances of any kind, including rubbing alcohol to help speed up the drying process.
You should call your baby’s doctor if you notice:
- redness or swelling
- foul smelling discharge
- large amount of bleeding
Laundry Tips for Babies
Skin rashes are uncomfortable for adults, even much so for babies. So using a gentle detergent to cleanse their clothes and everything that touches their skin can keep rashes away and make them happy. Taking extra effort with their laundry reduces the likelihood of you experiencing itchy or inflamed skin.