Newborn baby skin care is a delicate matter. In the early months, as your baby's immune system develops, you'll want to use the mildest cleansers and the smallest bit of lotion. But when dry skin, eczema, and diaper rash appear, it's time to treat those problems. Talk to your pediatrician about when to start using those products.
- Read labels carefully. Baby skin care products that contain dyes, fragrances, and chemicals can irritate a baby's skin and breathing.
- Natural baby skin care products are safe for most infants. But if you have allergies or asthma in your family, your newborn may also be sensitive to botanicals and herbs in some products.
- The label "hypoallergenic" can be misleading. The term means that the product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the product is gentler on the skin than other products.
- Look for products that are phthalate- and paraben-free. Those chemicals are potentially harmful to babies.
Baby Skin Care Products
As you set up the baby's nursery -- or the corner bedroom at grandparents' house -- assemble these newborn skin care products:
- Baby soaps, washes/cleansers, and shampoos: Cleansers and washes are mild and safe for newborns. But use baby soaps sparingly, as they can dry newborn skin.
- Baby lotion: Helps moisturize newborn skin. Use sparingly on tiny newborns.
- Petroleum jelly: Can be used to treat diaper rash. It provides baby's skin with a protective barrier against moist diapers. You may be asked to apply it to the healing circumcision site.
- Diaper rash ointment: Provides baby's skin with a barrier to moisture -- protecting newborn skin so wet diapers don't irritate.
- Baby oil: This classic is best used as massage oil for newborn skin, not as a moisturizer. Newborn skin does not absorb it well.
- Baby laundry detergent: Look for baby detergents that are free of perfumes and dye. Regular detergents are too harsh for newborn skin. The same applies when choosing dryer sheets.
- Baby powder: If using baby powder, try to find powders that are talc free and take care to keep it away from baby's face and genitalia. The talc or cornstarch in the powder can cause breathing problems. Use sparingly.