A baby is a bundle of joy for parents and can transform the lives of moms and dads. Both mom and dad can equally nurture a baby and give their best care. We often think of feeding the baby well so that the baby can grow but another aspect of caring for the baby involves caring for the largest organ of the body – the skin. Our skin performs many critical functions, such as preventing irritants and toxins from penetrating the body, preventing moisture loss and regulating our body temperature. Our skin also protects us from ultraviolet rays and forms part of our immune system. A newborn baby’s skin is more vulnerable as it hasn’t fully developed, typically being thinner, less hair, less oil and thus less able to prevent moisture loss and protect against irritants. There are a few basics to care for the baby’s skin, and below are three simple fuss-free tips!
1. Moisturize (and a little Massage!)
As the baby’s skin barrier is thinner and less able to guard against moisture loss and irritants, applying moisturizer actually has a two-fold effect: (1) The layer of moisturizer can strengthen the skin barrier and (2) it serves to protect against irritants. Parents can take the moisturizing time as a fun time for bonding with a little massage. Baby oil is usually used for massage, and it’s perfectly ok but do note that oil in general is less able to be absorbed into the skin. Not forgetting to state the obvious – choose a moisturizer that is safe for babies, and this translates to a product without fragrance, alcohol, colouring/dye, paraben, preservatives and sulphate. For a full list of ingredient and their likelihood of being an irritant, see dermatologist Dr Verallo-Rowell’s list.
2. Gentle (not only in product choice but in action!)
We all read products that have “gentle” labelled prominently, but think of gentle also in terms of how we touch our baby’s skin. After shower, pat dry and not rub dry. When applying moisturizers or when cleaning the baby’s bottom, be gentle in your action.
3. Don’t be Obsessive Compulsive in Cleaning!
In this age we have got so used to the idea of removing bacteria with all the products claiming that they remove 99.9999999% of bacteria! We live with bacteria and there are increasing studies on how the gut flora and skin flora aids in the body’s immune system. We keep in mind that there are both good and harmful bacteria and though not conclusive, researchers have noted a trend towards more allergic conditions with the increased use of cleaning products. Another point to remember is that babies are not dirty, so a bath every two days is sufficient. Don’t clean the baby as you’d clean a dirty plate! Moreover, frequent washing dries the skin and further weakens the skin barrier, thus it’s always a good idea to shower quickly (not more than 10 minutes) and moisturize after.
With a background on baby’s skin, parents can incorporate skin-safe into the baby’s daily care routine and enjoy your baby.