As I await my little man no. 2, I have already looked into what skin care routine I would like to follow to make sure his delicate skin is nourished from the outside. Whilst many products designed for babies promise to be gentle and soft to babies’ delicate skin, having analysed ingredient lists of some of the most well-known brands’ products, I am somewhat unconvinced that they are suitable to newborn skin. This skepticism is also a result of my own struggle to find the right products for my now 5-year old son ever since he was diagnosed with atopic eczema when approx. four months old.
So having learnt from those experiences, my main lessons for baby no. 2 are as follows:
- Only top and tailing for the first week or two, only using water.
Babies are born with naturally protective outer layer on their skin so I intend to avoid using any products on my baby for as long as possible, in order not to disturb that barrier. In my view, using boiled and then cooled down water is best for cleaning baby’s entire body as well as the nappy area, along with soft organic cotton pads, to make sure baby’s skin is cleansed in a gentle yet effective way.
- Less is more.
When it’s time to start having baths, my view is that too many baths are completely unnecessary for a baby who, let’s face it, doesn’t get covered in mud or gets sweaty. Thorough cleansing of the nappy area after each poo is a must of course but full body bathing every other day seems perfectly reasonable to me, whilst topping and tailing the key areas (face, underarms, groin and bottom) in between. In terms of washing your little one’s hair, I think I overdid it with my older son, washing his hair pretty much every day – doing it so often strips hair of natural oils so again, this time round I will stick to once or twice a week.
- Choose skin care products carefully.
These days, ensuring products are selected carefully is my number one priority. Unfortunately, when I had my first son, I was an inexperienced and less aware first-time Mum back then, and opted for products made by a certain well-known high street brand that contained SLS among other ‘nasties’, which I am convinced contributed to my son’s skin drying out and suffering from flare ups.
So as for my own choices for my newborn’s skin care products, I have decided to start with a few of the products from the Weleda Baby range that contain Calendula which has been proven to have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. You can see the analysis of their ingredients in a separate post and I will be writing a separate review once we have tried them.
I have already tested these products on my older son but I’ll be keeping an eye on his little brother’s skin’s reaction, as it’s likely eczema runs in our family. If his skin turns out to be dryer than normal or prone to eczema, I will be looking to change the product range and avoid (even mildly) fragranced products as fragrances, including natural ones, are common irritants.
If your little one’s skin appears to be dry or prone to irritation, and you are unsure about using a new product on their skin, you may want to do a patch test first by applying a small amount of the product on a small area of your baby’s skin (for instance, the leg) and then wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction.
- Let the skin ‘breathe’ and a new nappy changing routine.
Common sense tells me that our own skin ‘behaves’ better when it’s not subjected to heat and friction from tight clothing which restricts skin’s ability to ‘breathe’ so in the same way, babies’ skin not exposed to enough air circulation is likely to cause irritation and inflammation. However, I seem to have completely forgotten that logic when it came to allowing time for my older son’s skin to have a break from being covered in nappies 24 hours a day. So this time round, I intend to introduce a ‘nappy-free’ daily routine from early on.
In terms of day-to-day care of the nappy area, I am planning to use raw organic shea butter on my son’s skin – I didn’t use it on my older son but I am currently using it myself and I absolutely love how moisturised my skin is. Some advice I have also come across suggests that using products that contain zinc oxide (which can dry out skin) is not necessary with every nappy change when babies do not show any signs of a nappy rash. As shea butter contains naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds, it is considered a safe healing balm for the groin and bottom area, to soothe and clear up skin irritations such as a nappy rash so I’m planning to see how effective it is on a day-to-day basis. For a really stubborn nappy rash, creams with zinc oxide are therefore the last resort.
Having read a few reviews, I would also like to ‘test’ the use of thermal water in our nappy changing routine. I wasn’t aware of its properties before but have since discovered it has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties so some companies (such as La Roche Posay) suggest applying it to a sore baby bottom (by spraying and then waiting for a minute before dabbing away excess moisture). My main concern is about what must be quite a cold sensation to a baby’s skin so I may just wait a while before trying it out.
Finally, my nappy choice this time round is Naty nappies which are probably the most well-known high street brand of natural (and eco-friendly) nappies that don’t contain harsh chemicals which can irritate newborn skin and lead to nappy rash. I am really curious to see how they work in practice.
So these are a few of my main tips for newborn skin care and nappy changing routine.
Have you got any interesting tips you’d like to share with others?