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Nothing is sweeter than the soft, smooth skin of a newborn. As he starts to grow, you can take these five simple steps to keep the skin feeling pampered and feeling good.

1. Rethink Bath Time

It’s great if you enjoy it as a nightly ritual. But when time is short, know that you don’t have to fully bathe your baby more than twice a week -- at least until he’s crawling around. The rest of the time, sponge baths around the diaper area, mouth, and any skin folds (around armpits, thighs, and double chins), will do the trick.

You don’t even need to lather him up.

“As a mom and dermatologist, I used soap only where needed in the areas with folds,” says dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, of University of California, San Francisco. “Water everywhere else was fine.”

Choose a mild liquid cleanser that won’t dry out your baby’s skin or sting her eyes.

“Soap-free liquid cleansers that are both fragrance- and dye-free are preferred,” says pediatric dermatologist Amy Theos, MD, of Birmingham, AL. “Some of these do not lather much but are still effective cleansers.”

Avoid bar soap and bubble baths. Also, follow basic safety guidelines -- support your baby’s head, and test the temperature of the water on the inside of your wrist, for example. Gather your supplies before you get started. Never leave your baby while she’s in a bath -- not even for an instant.

2. Block the Sun

When you take your baby out in the daytime, use these items to cover and protect her tender skin:

  • A hat
  • Tightly woven clothing with long sleeves and pants
  • Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection
  • A broad-spectrum sunscreen (that guards against UVA and UVB rays) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15

For babies younger than 6 months, try to keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. When you take them out, apply sunscreen only to small areas that might be hard to cover with clothes, such as the face and hands. Rub it in well. You can use it all over an older baby’s body, but be careful around his eyes. Also, try not to take him out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.

Sunscreen sticks or blocks with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide might be gentler on skin. Reapply it every 2 hours or after your baby sweats or gets wet.