BY NERISSA BENTLEY, THE HEALTH WRITER
There’s nothing quite as soft, smooth and silky as your baby’s skin. But your little one’s skin is incredibly delicate and prone to irritation, dryness, rashes and chafing. In addition, your baby’s immune system is still quite sensitive, which means strong fragrances, chemicals, detergents, and clothing dye are definite no-nos.
So how do you care for your cuddly bundle of joy?
Read on for 20 natural baby skincare tips to keep their skin soft and supple.
BABY BATH TIPS
Resist the urge to bathe every day; 2-3 times a week is plenty. Bathing your baby more often will only strip the natural, protective oils in her skin, making her prone to dry skin and eczema. While baby is building up the protective oils in her skin, it’s best to not bathe her every day as it can strip them, making her more prone to dry kin and eczema. Full baths every second day is plenty.
‘Top and tail’ your bub between baths by using warm water with a soft washcloth or sponge, and cotton wool to clean eyes and face.
Limit bath time to 5-10 minutes, particularly if your cheeky cherub has dry or sensitive skin.
Ensure water is warm (37-38°C) not hot, to avoid scalding.
Use a soft washcloth or natural sponge that won’t scratch or irritate her delicate skin.
If you choose to use a baby wash, go for one that is kind to the planet and to skin. Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben and synthetic fragrances.
Bubs shouldn’t need a lot of lotions or creams daily, but if she develops dry or rough skin, massage some moisturiser or coconut oil into the area. Massage is a beautiful routine to top or tail bath time and helps promote bonding, healing and restful sleep.
BABY BOTTOM SKINCARE TIPS
Most disposable nappies contain dozens of chemicals that can wreak havoc on dainty skin, not to mention the environment. So, choose nappies that are non-toxic and kind to your baby’s bottom, and the planet.
Most cases of nappy rash are caused by a wet or soiled nappy irritating skin, so change nappies frequently.
Nappy wipes can also cause nappy rash for your little one, so use a soft clean cloth or wipes that are gentle on soft skin, and are free from harsh chemicals that may burn and irritate.
If nappy rash raises its ugly head, pat baby’s bottom dry instead of wiping it, and ensure all traces of moisture are gone before putting on another nappy. A chemical free nappy rash cream can help heal the area and a talc-free powder will help absorb any extra moisture. Having nappy-free time can also help. Wheee!
If nappy rash is persisting, use a clean and green protective barrier cream on her bottom to shield skin from further irritation. The Europeans have a formula based on olive oil which can double up as a cleanser and natural barrier.
BABY SKINCARE IN THE SUN
Avoid exposing your bub to direct sun during the day, when the UV index is 3 or higher, to prevent sun damage. Bubs under 6 months of age are particularly sensitive to sunlight so be particularly careful with the tiny ones.
Cover-up your tot with sun-protective clothing, pop on a hat, and seek shade when outdoors.
Slather skin with a non-toxic, protective sunscreen that’s safe for your baby, and Mother Nature.
BABY SKINCARE & LAUNDRY
Wash all new clothing before your little one wears them to remove excess dyes that may aggravate skin. Buying organic bamboo or cotton means the fabrics are exposed to less pesticides during growth and manufacturing, and there are no allergenic, carcinogenic, or toxic chemical residues left on the garments to be absorbed by the skin.
Only use laundry detergents free from fragrances, dyes and toxins when washing your baby’s clothes.
Ensure your precious bundle only wears breathable cotton or soft fabrics, avoiding clothing that may scratch. Natural fibres breath better than manufactured fabrics such as polyester, so they’ll help reduce the chance of bub sweating or overheating.
TREATING CRADLE CAP & ECZEMA
Cradle cap occurs in most babies and doesn’t need to be treated. However, you can gently massage the crusts with baby massage oil or coconut oil to help loosen them. Resist the temptation to pick off crusts, as this may cause the scalp to bleed. Gulp!
Eczema can flare up at any time and be difficult to manage. Avoid letting your baby’s skin dry out, and apply creams and lotions designed to lock in moisture and soothe skin. If eczema does not improve, seek medical advice.
While caring for your baby’s skin does require some extra effort, there’s nothing quite like sweet-smelling, squishy, scrumptious skin to put a smile on your baby’s face… and yours.
Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based health writer and blogger. As a mum of 2 (a teenager and a pre-teen), she understands the challenges involved in raising children, balancing work, and making time for yourself. Through her writing, she aims to inspire and empower families to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. Nerissa is also working on her first novel. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her reading, drinking coffee, lifting weights, or enjoying the odd sneaky red wine. #thehealthwriter