‘As soft as a baby’s bottom’ is one of those myths, similar to ‘sleeping like a baby’, that throws you when you become a parent. What do you mean my baby won’t sleep through an episode of Love Island, let alone through the night? Often newborn skin can be sensitive, dry and, at times, sore from cradle cap or nappy rash; and whilst their cheeks might always be kissable to you, there are a few things you can do, and products that can help to make their skin softer and healthier.
I’m the proud mama of two autumn babies. My son was born last year and has very sensitive skin, so I have learnt a thing or two about caring for delicate baby skin.
In the first few days a newborn’s skin needs very little as they’re protected by the vernix coating that has looked after them in the placenta. I mean that stuff is better than Olay, it lasts for nearly nine months! As soon as you start bathing your baby, though, their skin can begin to dry out, so you want to avoid putting too many different lotions and potions on their brand new skin.
MOISTURISER AND MASSAGE
Massage is a fantastic way to bond with your baby and is also a great way to add moisturising into your baby’s bathtime routine. As this is something either parent can do, it could be the perfect way to get dads involved and start to share the bonding experience. There are plenty of online tutorials which suggest methods and techniques and there’s also a plethora of moisturising products which are perfect for baby massage.
I love Childs Farm products. They were developed by a mum whose daughter had eczema. Although they’re really gentle and some can be used from birth, they’re particularly good when your baby gets bigger. They smell delicious and my toddler begs to use them, which definitely makes bathtime easier! We love their Shea and Cocoa Moisturiser, and the 3 in 1 Swim and Bath.
Talking of taking a dip, whilst you want to keep your baby clean, it’s better to keep baths short and sweet. Even though it’s wet, water can be very drying, so if baby is having a flare-up, sometimes it’s even best to skip bathtime altogether.
If your little one (like my youngest) suffers from eczema or severely dry and sensitive skin, we found Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Emollient Cream worked well. It contains ‘colloidal oatmeal’ so it doesn’t smell quite as sweet as some other products, but it’s natural and clinically proven. It generally works best after a bath when baby’s skin is a little damp. Another great way to use an emollient for dry skin (if baby won’t let you massage them) is a bath additive. Oilatum Junior is added straight to the bath water, so that means you don’t have to wrestle a slippery monkey into their pyjamas afterwards!
Back to your baby’s bum! Most nappy rash is caused by the irritating dampness of a nappy or when your baby’s skin is not completely dried after they’ve had a bath. Don’t panic – I always feel so guilty when one of my two has nappy rash – it can be hard to get in among those adorable folds of baby chub.
I don’t use one kind of cream as not all nappy creams are born equally! There are products that work as barriers, ones that heal and ones that are best to use when a rash is particularly bad. Personally, I like to use Bepanthen or Vaseline after most changes, but especially at night. Like a rain mac, it keeps the dampness away from the skin.
I use Sudocrem for days when I see their skin is looking a bit sore and red during a nappy change. If he has a nasty case of nappy rash and I need something a bit more heavy duty, I use Metanium until it’s cleared up. If the rash persists make sure to speak to your GP.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE!
So that’s all the stuff you can put on you baby’s skin, but what about keeping skin healthy from the inside? Just like adults, staying hydrated is really important when it comes to your skin. So, plenty of breastmilk or formula for small babies, and once they’re weaned, it’s important for them to have a diet rich with oily foods (like avocado and salmon) and plenty of ‘wat-wat’ – as my toddler calls it – to drink.
Please note: This is the personal experience of a blogger and not that of a medical expert. See your health adviser or doctor if your baby or child is experiencing skin problems or you’re concerned in any way about their health.