Baby’s skin care:
All babies are covered in a white sticky substance called vernix when they are in the womb and this is naturally moisturising. Many babies are born with this sticky substance and it should be left ideally to absorb into your babies skin. In the first few weeks your babies skin is thin and vulnerable and although it will develop a protective barrier, it is important to look after babies skin in the early weeks.
Lots of mums worry about the baby’s umbilical cord area but it is best to just keep it clean and dry and leave it alone. Pat it gently dry after a bath and ideally fold the nappy over the top to expose the cord until it falls off. If the cord area becomes red, inflamed or starts to smell you should contact the midwife, Doctor or healthcare expert.
Baby’s skin may become dry and cracked if they were born late after their due date, this is quite normal as the protective layer of vernix has all been absorbed. You may find baby’s top layer of skin will peel off over a few days revealing perfect skin beneath.
Baby Bath time routine:
For newborn babies and up to around 6 months old, make sure you get ready first and gather all necessary bath accessories and products before getting baby ready. Just fill the bath enough to let your baby settle into the water with their shoulders covered. The water must not be to hot; approx 38 degrees, always check the temperature before putting baby into the water. Once baby is able to sit up unaided then you can fill the water to waist high, but never leave babies unattended in the water.
To keep baby at a comfortable temperature undress your baby at the bath area.
To clean babies eyes & face, moistened cotton is recommended, wash baby from top to bottom, front and back.
Check products you use to wash babies, as many will strip the natural oils needed on babies skin and some can irritate babies skin.
Always support newborn babies while in the bath, support their heads with one hand and wash with the other, there are many products on the market that give great support during bathing sessions.
Drying babies off once out of the bath is advised to gently pat the water off rather than rubbing skin dry. By gently patting babies skin you will be able to retain more of the moisture you are going to seal in with some baby body lotion. The quicker you do this the better the skin will look and feel!
Cradle cap is a rashy area developed on babies scalp which can be quite greasy, flaky and yellow. It is compared to extreme dandruff, where scaly patches of skin flake off.
What causes cradle cap?
It is thought cradle cap develops as a result of hormones from pregnancy that are left in baby’s body after the birth. The hormones can cause glands in the skin to secrete oil, so patches of skin become sticky and scaly. These hormones will usually disappear a few months or so after the birth and the cradle cap tends to clear up on its own.
It is tempting to pick the flaking bits of skin from your baby’s scalp, but don’t! This will only aggravate the condition and cause infection. There are shampoos on the market which claim to help this condition, but it will, with time, clear up on its own.
Regularly wash babies hair in a mild shampoo and then use a soft brush to loosen the flakes. It may help to leave a baby’s scalp oil on overnight and wash it off in the morning, as this may help to loosen the flakes. If parents are concerned about their baby’s scalp they should contact their Doctor, midwife or health expert for further guidance.