The arrival of a new baby can rock your world in many amazing (and some unexpected!) ways. You develop a strong desire to care and provide only the best for this little human, planning what you will feed them, what toys they will play with, ways to socialise them etc. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the big picture that often you don’t think about the potentially micro decisions like what we put on their skin.
A baby’s skin health starts from the moment they are born where they have a delicate microbiome, its own little eco system of microorganisms. As we progress through life, we progressively alter this barrier with the products that we use.
So here’s some tips for new parents on how to care for your bubs skin and give them a good start.
Your baby doesn’t need nightly baths
While babies are capable of so much mess, in general they aren't dirty little human beings. They don’t go to the gym or play in the dirt, so logic follows that they don’t need regular bathing.
And even when you do bathe your bub, try to limit baths to once or twice a week – and for the first 4 weeks, just use water. You definitely don’t need to use bottles of fragranced, soapy and bubbly products (but more on that in this post).
Did you know that even water alone – without any product – can be drying and dehydrating to your baby’s skin, especially during those first four weeks? This is when your baby’s skin is developing its own oil supply and protective barrier, so less is often best when it comes to bathing. If it helps, think of a dinner plate with a coating of oil. While detergent suds break those oils down and are great for your plates, this process is not so healthy for your bub’s skin.
You can even replace bath time every now and then with a soothing massage using natural plant oils – just check the product is free from essential oils because some essential oils are unsafe for babies. For example, Green Juice Recovery Balm is safe to use from four weeks of age.
Best defence against nappy rash
Have you ever spread some thick white gunk over your baby’s bottom, only to stop and think ‘how does this stuff actually help nappy rash?!’
Many mineral oil or petroleum-based products that claim to heal nappy rash can in fact clog the skin’s self-protective barrier and hinder the natural oil flow. Think cling wrap style. No thank you!
A good alternative is a pure plant oil product that creates a natural yet breathable barrier for your baby’s behind. Some fresh air can also work wonders so lay down an old towel and let your little bub have some nappy free play time.
Tip # 3
Learn to accept baby acne
Babies can start to experience breakouts between one to four weeks after birth. These ‘milk pimples’ are often attributed to overheating, or hormones passed from mum to bub during the final weeks of pregnancy. These hormones can hit the ‘over-stimulate’ button on your baby’s excess oil production.
If this happens, the important thing to remember is that these breakouts will clear by themselves, and they shouldn’t be treated with products or wipes. Why? It will only irritate your bub’s skin, and this irritation can even lead to skin conditions such as eczema.
However, if you are concerned by a rash, or a rash starts quickly, always consult your doctor.
Breaking down cradle cap
As you cradle that precious little darling’s head, and you notice that coating that’s starting to form you might find yourself asking ‘what the crap is cradle cap?’
It’s simply an overproduction of oil. This overproduction causes skin cells to clump together, to form a scaly, yellow crust.
It’s completely normal but if you do want to gently encourage that cradle cap to retreat from your baby’s head, rub some plant oils on to your bub’s scalp. Oil likes oil, so this approach can help to dissolve and dislodge the scaly build-up. Once your baby is four weeks old, we find Drench Cleansing Oil works well on cradle cap.
As you probably know, SPF simply stands for ‘sun protection factor’. The higher the number, the better for your bub’s skin, right? Not quite.
Many SPFs of 30 or above contain chemical UV filters, which can be absorbed into your baby’s skin. This can irritate and sensitize their skin. Why? Because UV filters are chemicals that absorb UV into the skin before neutralising them.
You may have heard of ‘physical sunscreen’, which is an alternative to a standard ‘chemical sunscreen’. These types of sunscreen sit on the surface of the skin to block and scatter UV rays away from the skin, by using mineral filters made out of elements such as titanium dioxide or zinc.
A physical sunscreen can be a far better sunscreen choice for your young one (and yourself!). However, for newborns, simply cover up or avoid the sun in those early days. Our Sun Juice tube is safe to use from 4 weeks and the perfect size to pop in your nappy bag so you’re always prepared.
So in short, you can help future proof your bub’s skin from the moment they are born. And unlike some of the other elements of their life you need to consider, with their skin it’s usually a case of less is best. As a rule of thumb, nature usually knows best too.
You might have started that bath-time bonding with baby during pregnancy using our Mummy’s Tummy Wash. Did you know that it’s a safe, creamy wash that you can use on baby after 4 weeks?