When your brand new bundle of joy first enters this world, she's beautiful, to be sure-- the most beautiful thing you ever laid your eyes on. But her skin isn't exactly the epitome of "baby soft" just quite yet. It's oily, sometimes bumpy and discolored, and prone to rashes. If she's born prematurely, she may be covered with a fine hair called lanugo for the first couple of days. Eventually, it will become the super soft sweetness that we know and love. Here are some tips for caring for baby and the skin on her precious little body.
There's such a thing as "too clean."
When she's born, baby will be covered in vernix, a greasy, cheese-like substance that protects a baby’s skin in utero from amniotic fluid. Many nurses will want to wash it off right away, but according to some research the first bath should wait-- vernix acts as an antioxidant, skin cleanser, moisturizer, temperature regulator, and a natural, safe antimicrobial for the new baby post delivery.
When baby does need a bath, two to three a week should be plenty. Too many baths can remove important oils that protect against infections and cause baby's skin too get dry and flaky. Plain old water is usually good enough; some parents like to use coconut oil to clean and moisturize.
Use gentle chemical-free products made for baby.
Because baby's skin is so thin, it is sensitive and vulnerable to anything you put on it. Gimme the Good Stuff has a great list of safe moisturizers and diaper creams, as well as the "bad stuff" that should be avoided. Moisturizing is important, especially after baths. Putting a humidifier in baby's room is also an easy way to help keep her skin from drying out.
Wellness Mama also has some wonderful natural baby care recipes for homemade baby oil, baby powder, wipes, and more.
Don't forget to clean between the rolls!
Some of the many cute things about a new baby are her little wrinkles and rolls. Don't forget to show them some love at bath time!
Enjoy the sunshine in moderation.
Feel free to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine with your cutie, just be sure to protect her against direct sun and too much sun exposure. Most sources say that you shouldn't put sunscreen on a baby under six months, but protective clothing and staying in the shade should do the trick. Choose a cute little outfit of long sleeves and pants, socks and a hat, in lightweight fabrics so baby doesn't get too hot.
Baby skin is super thin, so always have an extra layer handy.
Until baby is about a year old, her skin is super thin and vulnerable to temperature changes-- especially the cold. Be sure to keep her chubby little arms and legs warm, and pack an extra layer just in case.