~ By Stacey Yong
The skin of a newborn baby is very different from the skin of an older child or adult. Their skin is more sensitive and delicate than ours, and may also be easily hurt by strong and irritating skin products. This is because they have to acclimatize their skin from the water-like atmosphere from mummy’s womb to the drier environment after birth. During this transition, your baby’s skin is still maturing and adapting to the environment long after birth, which makes their skin more sensitive.
Also, your newborn’s immune system is still in the midst of development, which might in turn lead to infection.
Below are some pointers and dos and don’ts for you to help your newborn’s skin during their first few months of life on Earth.
Daily baths are not really needed for newborns as their skin is quite delicate, and they only eat and sleep everyday. You may bathe your baby every alternate day, or 3 times a week. However, with a weather like Singapore and if you feel like you need to bathe your baby everyday, you may opt for slightly warm tap water (ideally 36 to 40°C), and a gentle soap-free cleanser. After bathing, use a soft towel to pat dry your infant’s skin. It is recommended for your baby to wear soft and light clothing (preferably cotton) in a climate like Singapore’s.
You should always wash your baby’s clothing before letting your infant wear it. Using baby laundry detergents that are fragrance-free and dye-free will leave lesser residue after washing. You should also wash your baby’s clothes and bedding separately from yours and your family’s laundry.
Most infants experience diaper rashes at some point or another. Diapers should be changed frequently, every 3-4 hours, or when your infant poos/pees. This will prevent irritating rashes forming from wet diapers. Clean your baby’s bottom thoroughly with water and cotton wool, or with soap free cleansers. Using a baby wipe will help as well. Allow your newborn’s skin to air dry completely before applying a thick barrier cream at each diaper change.
Look out for indications of redness and flaking. If this happens, you may purchase mild hydrocortisone cream over-the-counter. If it does not recover in about two to three days, you should bring your baby to the pediatrician to check it out.
Having a diaper-free time on a towel/soft blanket everyday is also recommended. Do note to purchase fragrance-free diapers in a size that doesn’t fit too tightly for your baby.
Moisturizers should be used daily to protect your newborn’s skin from dryness. In cases where there is a family history of skin sensitivity (eg. atopic dermatitis (eczema), asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis), you should apply it daily for your infant. Using moisturizers help to protect the skin and augment its repair.
Choose moisturizers that are made for babies or those that does not consist of fragrances, dyes, or preservatives. Moisturizers that contain ceramide have also been proven to help shape a nourishing and functional skin barrier for your baby.
With all of the above pointers in mind, we do try to ensure that our cosy little studio is always nice and clean for you and your newborn. We also noticed during our newborn shoots (babies between 5-12 days old) that the skin of our little models are dry and peeling. This might be because your newborn’s skin is still adapting to the environment outside of mummy’s womb. Mummies and daddies can consider to bring moisturisers for their baby to minimize the appearance of dry skin in photos.
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