Newborns have delightfully squishy, addictively nice-smelling skin!
It’s also very delicate, and often very rashy, irritated, dry and flaky. But there are simple things you can do to look after it. And we’ve gathered them right here, in a nifty list.
1. Get the bath temp just right.
Maybe you like your bath gloriously hot, steamy, and almost scalding. You squeaky-clean devil! But not for newborns. Their skin is delicate and prone to dryness, so bathing too frequently or for too long can irritate their little bodies. About 5-10 minutes in the tub plenty! And always use a thermometer (or your wrist or elbow) to check the water temp first, swirling it around to remove any hot or cold spots. It should be around 37°C, comfortably warm but not hot.
2. Avoid soap (and other irritants).
Not-so-fun fact: all soaps are mild irritants. (They can cause excessive dryness and inflammation. Ick!) So when it comes to brand new, little squirts, it’s best to reach for a gentle, soap-free cleanser instead. A plant-based body wash that’s pH-neutral and free of common irritants like SLSs, synthetic fragrances, synthetic surfactants, will clean skin effectively, and care for it at the same time.
If it’s your first time using a new wash, remember to patch test first. (Very Important Stuff!) Try a small patch of product on your baby’s skin inside the elbow, behind the knees, or behind the neck, and wait at least a full day to make sure there’s no reaction.
3. Dry off with a super-soft towel.
New babies are incredibly demanding. They’ll take your cleanest, softest, fluffiest towels only, please! When bathtime is over, burrito your baby in a super-soft towel to keep them nice and cosy. Then pat dry (never rub the towel on their skin), paying special attention to all their adorable, squishy folds and creases. Also, their armpits, groin, chin, neck and ears.
4. Try a calmy, oily baby massage.
A gentle baby massage has loads of benefits. It’s calming! It’s soothing! It can help your tiny human do big toots! And if you incorporate an ultra-nourishing body oil, it can also be incredibly soothing for the skin, too. Try it after bathtime, when the room is in low light and all toasty, and when your baby is calm but alert. Start gently, but firmly, massaging the oil all over – palms, thighs, arms and of course, the tummy.
5. Moisturise from top to baby bottom.
All this dry air is a new thing for your baby’s skin, which is very sensitive and lacks adequate barrier protection. So after bath, lock in hydration with a creamy, comforting moisturiser. Apply generously, all over, while your squishy softie is still slightly damp. If their skin is extra dry, flaky or touchy, you might need to apply lotion as often as two to three times a day.
6. Choose soft, gentle, not-to-teeny clothes.
Of course, you should make sure all those onesies are irresistibly adorable. (Done!) But you should also make sure they’re made from soft fabrics that won’t rub or irritate the skin. And leave a little breathing room. If your infant’s clothes are too tight, it can lead to rashy, cranky skin around the armpits, skin folds, neck and nappy areas.
When it's time to wash those spit-and-poop-covered onesies? Try using a gentle, baby-friendly laundry detergent.