Skin of the newborn, how to take care of it from birth

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 Baby skin and hygiene
  • 2 Baby skin: choose the products 
  • 3 Skin of the newborn and diapers
  • 4 Changing the diaper
  • 5 Baby's skin and bath
  • 6 Wet wipes: when to use them
  • 7 Newborn skin: common problems
  • 8 Choose the right fabrics

It is the first thing we touch to our newborn babies. We caress it, we kiss it, we smell it and every time we do it we fall in love more and more. The baby's skin has something magical about it and is capable of attracting us at any moment. It must also be said, however, that it is of a unique delicacy. It cracks easily, reddens, sometimes even sores appear. And it is therefore right to take care of it from day one. Let's see how to do it together.



Newborn skin and hygiene

It may seem obvious to many of you, but it isn't. The hygiene of a very young child should not be neglected, but rather it should be taken care of every day. It is no coincidence that nursing homes already in hospital take care of our babies to wash them and not just after birth. Once you get home from the hospital, you will have to wait for the umbilical cord stump to fall off to have a proper bath, but it's a matter of a few days.

In the meantime, cleaning should be done every day. This is absolutely obvious when it comes to changing nappies, but it also affects the little hands, eyes or ears.

Newborn skin: choose the products 

As we said at the beginning, the skin of our little ones is extremely delicate. Of course, there are some differences, but in general it applies to everyone. To wash them, therefore, we must have the utmost respect for their skin, also considering the fact that the protection systems are not yet complete and that the absorption capacity is very high.



Which products to choose? The first (and perhaps only) rule is that they contain as few chemicals as possible. The risk is to cause inflammation that can be very annoying. Allergic reactions can also occur in the most sensitive children.

Learning to read the labels of soaps and bubble baths therefore becomes fundamental. It is necessary to know the so-called Inci (International nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients), that is the nomenclature that, on an international level, is given to the components of cosmetics. For example, did you know that the first ingredient you see written on the label is the one present in the greatest quantity?

Among those to avoid we find:

  1. Surfactants derived from petroleum refining (they are written as Sodium laureth sulfate, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Ammoniun lauryl sulfate and others). Better to prefer products that contain natural and vegetable surfactants, such as Coco glucoside, Decyl glucoside.
  2. Other petroleum-derived ingredients such as Paraffinum Liquidum, PEG and PPG, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum.
  3. Highly polluting ingredients such as EDTA, MEA, TEA, MIPA.
  4. Highly allergenic ingredients (examples are Triclosan and Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM ​​Hydantoin, Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone, used as preservatives).
  5. Silicones such as Poliquaternium-80, Dimethicone and Amodimethicone.

Skin of the newborn and diapers

Choosing the right nappy isn't that simple. The problem is not only the ability to hold pee and poo, but also not to irritate the baby's skin. And here is a very subjective discourse. For some, a certain brand will be perfect, while for others it may be annoying. Try several and find the one that's right for you. There is also the possibility of washable nappies, which have many advantages (first of all the fact that they are made of cotton, so they respect the skin more), but require more effort.


Changing the diaper

It is the operation that is done several times a day when you have a very small child. But it is very important to keep your genitals and bottom dry and clean. Diaper rashes can be very annoying and it is a good idea to change them as soon as they are dirty or very wet.


How to wash our babies to protect their skin? Just a little warm water and, at most, a drop of neutral liquid soap diluted in the hand with water, so as to make it even less aggressive. To dry the baby, it is better to pat with a soft towel or, even better, a cotton towel: do not rub, especially if there is already redness.

If the skin is irritated or cracked, a little zinc oxide cream can be applied. A little is enough. It is very pasty and you risk getting everything dirty and having to wash the baby from scratch.

Newborn skin and baby bath

Once the stump has fallen, green light for the bath. How often do you do it? It depends on you. If it is a moment of relaxation or if it is part of an established routine (bath / baby food / bedtime) nothing prevents you from doing it every day, but it is certainly not a rule. It can also be done only 3-4 times a week.

The bubble bath must be very delicate, without perfumes or aggressive substances for the baby's skin. In case of chapped skin, which therefore needs to be very hydrated, you can opt for almond oil or rice starch. They have the ability to make the skin softer and enrich it. The same tips are also good for hair. Light shampoo, not every day and without rubbing too hard.


After the bath, no perfumes or talcum powder. They only risk causing allergies, damaging the skin or clogging pores.

Wet wipes: when to use them

The answer is easy: when you are away from home and therefore do not have the opportunity to wash our children well. In short, they are to be used as an "emergency bidet" when you are out for a walk or at the mall. Better not to make it a habit. And not only because of the cost of the wipes, but because in the long run they are not good for the baby's skin. Even the most delicate, perhaps organic, are not like a nice splash of warm water.


Newborn skin: common problems

From birth, it is necessary to wait about a year for the baby's skin to be less fragile than it appears at birth. For example, have you ever noticed how thin it is immediately after delivery and how it tends to flake? It is absolutely normal and physiological for this to happen and usually goes away very soon. The pediatrician may advise you to soften it with some cream, but generally no drugs are needed.

There are many "problems" of the skin of the newborn, even if not all suffer from them. They range from neonatal acne (many pimples on the face, reaction to the mother's hormones), to atopic dermatitis to diaper dermatitis up to cradle cap. It is advisable to ask the pediatrician for advice who will surely find the most suitable solution.

Choose the right fabrics

Everything that comes into contact with the baby's skin must be soft and possibly made of natural fiber. Hence the importance of choosing the fabrics of the dresses well. Cotton, linen and silk are perfect and can hardly cause irritation or other problems. Synthetic ones, on the other hand, may not allow the skin to breathe. This is not good for adults either. Let alone therefore for such a small child, so better to avoid them. Also pay attention to wool directly in contact with the skin. This too could cause some annoyance.

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