Baby Skin- What You Need to Know
We have all heard the phrase “soft as a baby’s bottom” - but sometimes a baby's skin can cause their parents to panic! Below we have listed some common things to know regarding newborn skin.
Normal Skin Occurrences in Babies:
It is normal for your baby’s hands and feet to appear slightly blue or gray in color for the first few weeks of life. (We stress slightly here.) It is not normal for your baby’s whole face or body to look blue or gray. When in doubt, contact your pediatrician.
Newborns can have many birthmarks on their bodies. Ask your baby’s health care provider about any that you find.
Your baby’s skin often turns red when your baby is crying.
It is common for your baby to have peeling skin during the first few days of life. This is due to adjusting to dry air outside the womb.
Infant acne is common the first few months of life. Generally it does not need to be treated.
Some rashes are common in newborn babies. Ask your baby’s health care provider about any rashes you find. Try and take a picture to show the doctor, just in case it disappears before you get to their office.
Cradle cap is very common and usually does not require treatment. Some moms have found that massaging breastmilk on it lessens the dryness.
You can apply a baby moisturizing cream to your baby’s skin after bathing to help prevent dry skin and rashes such as eczema. Make sure it is labeled as baby safe.
Skin Care for Babies
With newborn skincare, less is more. Try not to bathe your newborn more than 3 times a week. Bathing removes the natural oils that protects their skin. This could leave the baby’s skin dry and aggravate eczema. Except for drool and diaper changes, babies don’t get very dirty the first several months of their life. Typically sponge bathing 3 times a week is enough, as long as you ensure their diaper area and their necks are clean, if they are prone to spitting up.
Don’t forget – do not bath your infant until their umbilical cord has fallen off. Otherwise, if the umbilical cord gets submerged in water, it could cause an infection at the umbilical cord site.
WebMD does not recommend using baby scented products for the first few months of life. It can irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
Make sure to wash all of baby’s clothing and bedding before use. Use only baby detergents that are fragrance and dye free. Many families switch to using that type of soap for the whole household to decrease on potential irritants to the baby’s skin.
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Kayla Loschky, RN, BSN
NYC Health + Hospitals – Bellevue