You all know that feeling. Someone hands you a newborn and they feel like pure velvet. The fact that this is often accompanied by the ‘newborn smell’ doesn’t hurt either. The tragic feeling is when you hand the baby back and feel your own leathered forearms and wonder when that magic faded from your own skin. There is no denying that life comes at you real fast, and it is impossible to carry that velvet skin into adulthood, but it is very possible to prolong it well into childhood by being intentional about baby skincare.
Today I am going to take a few baby steps through the various things you can do to keep your bub feeling as soft as possible. There is a very good reason why ‘as smooth as a baby’s bum’ remains such a powerful idiom after all…
Tanning isn’t on your baby’s agenda
Even though Instagram and Tiktok seem to prioritise having the cutest baby in your friendship group, a bronzed baby is a no no. Obviously, your baby needs to be outside and to soak up some benny Ds (some beneficial vitamin D), but you should keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
- Consider a hat which covers ears, neck and face.
- Opt for long sleeve clothing which is breathable
- Keep your child hydrated if exposed to sunlight for longer than a couple of minutes
- Reduce the time spent outside during 10 and 4 as this is when the UV rays have the most bite.
- Look for a natural sunscreen which provides a physical barrier rather than a chemical one.
As my hero Howard Moon once said ‘we all like having fun. But it’s even better when it’s safe fun!’
You’re never too young to start moisturising
Almost all babies will develop a dry rashy patch somewhere on their bodies in the first few weeks of their lives. For the most part, this is entirely normal and you don’t need to intervene too significantly. This is especially true of cradle cap; the flaky scabby like patches that appear on the crown of their heads. It is entirely normal.
However, if your baby has skin which is prone to cracking or dryness, then a natural moisturiser or oil is a great option. Johnson’s baby oil is a perennial favourite for parents around the world. It forms a semi breathable barrier over your bub’s skin, so that the natural moisture is trapped inside. Think of it kinda like the greenhouse effect, but in this instance it has a positive effect on baby skincare.
Bubs don’t want the same thing in a bath as you do
This might come as a shock to some of you, but you don’t need to bathe your child everyday. They generally don’t get incredibly dirty, and as long as you are thorough in cleaning your baby around the nappy region, this is sufficient. However, many parents will find that establishing a consistent routine helps their child settle into the rhythms of everyday life and a good bath can be a clear signal to your baby that bedtime is imminent. When you do bathe your bub, there are a few principles you should follow:
- Never ever ever leave your baby unattended, even if the water is shallow.
- The water should be lukewarm, not hot. This means if you are wanting to shower your bub, the temperature needs to suit them, not you
- The bath doesn’t need to be opulently soapy, nor does it need to be long.
The simple reality is that what you look for in a bath is not what your baby needs.
Keep your bub away from things that irritate baby skin
There are a number of things that can cause allergic reactions for your baby. Trust me, you want to avoid this wherever possible. Your baby’s skin will become red, dry and cracked and in extreme cases, it can even peel. Here are some things you will generally want to avoid:
- Urine: This is why changing nappies becomes paramount.
- Saliva: The drool factor is real
- Perfumes: Your baby smells amazing anyway!
- Cosmetics: Make-up probably isn’t super necessary anyway
Baby skincare is pretty simple if you keep it simple. There isn’t much they need to be exposed to beyond the occasional oil or moisturiser.
Watch out for those nails
Much like a puppy’s razor sharp teeth, these little fingernails can be incredibly sharp and pointy. They are the bane of every young parent’s life. On the one hand (pun intended), your baby will recoil at the prospect of you taking clippers to their nails. But on the other hand (still intended), if their nails get too long, they will end up scratching themselves accidentally, particularly in their sleep. I recommend doing it when your baby has drifted off to sleep somewhere you can easily access their hands.
Keep your eyes out for heat rash
As the name suggests, this is a rash which rears its ugly head if your bub gets too hot and the sweat glands become blocked (particularly when sleeping). It often springs up in the hottest, most sweaty parts of the body where clothing and bedding bunch up. To treat heat rash, you need to keep your bubba as cool as possible, reducing the sweat which is blocking the pores. Given that baby oil forms a barrier to keep moisture in, you should avoid using these kinds of product for a heat rash. After all, we don’t need to form a barrier, we need to keep things as open and breathable as possible. Obviously if symptoms persist, you should seek medical assistance. If you press the site of the rash with a glass tumbler and it doesn’t blanch (go momentarily white), you should seek immediate medical assistance.
So there you have it. Baby skincare isn’t as tricky as it seems. Just following these simple steps will keep your baby as smiley and happy as possible!
Image Sources by: Freepik
Image Author: @gpointstudio