Caring For Your Newborn's Skin

Aaaah, nothing smells quite like a baby’s skin.  Taking good care of that skin isn’t difficult, but there can be some pitfalls along the way.  Following are some tips to help you and your baby steer clear and keep that skin soft and kissable.

Bathing Your Newborn

Bathtime can be fun for parents and babies...although not every baby agrees!  One thing to keep in mind in our dry Colorado climate is that any kind of soap, whether labelled “moisturizing” or “for babies” or “for eczema,” will dry out your baby’s skin.  All soap works by attaching to the lipid barrier in the skin that helps to hold water in and letting it rinse away, resulting in drier skin. We recommend washing babies’ delicate skin mostly with water, and saving that soap just for the bottom...until your little one is old enough to be playing in the dirt.  

Scented soaps and lotion may smell wonderful, but that is because there are chemicals added to them to give them that delicious smell, and these chemicals are often irritating to babies’ skin.  Stick to unscented soap and lotion for your newborn.

How often should babies be bathed?  That’s really up to you; once or twice a week is plenty for most newborns.  You can always use lotion when you change your baby’s clothes and pajamas, even if they haven’t had a bath.  As long as you’re minimizing the soap and avoiding products with scent, bathing more often is ok, and if it helps to relax your baby or provide a fun playtime together, go ahead and enjoy!

Rashes of the Face

Newborns can have lots of spots and bumps on their skin, and most of them, while they can be alarming to parents, are normal and not harmful.  Milia, or tiny white dots on the nose and cheeks, can be present at birth.  Melanocytosis, also known as Mongolian spots, are dark bluish spots often present on the buttocks.  Stork bites (pink birthmarks on the back of the neck, bridge of nose or eyelids) are seen at birth.  Erythema toxicum has a scary sounding name but is completely harmless.  This appears around day 2-3 of life as red blotches with a small white pimple in the center.  It won’t bother your baby at all and will resolve on its own. Baby acne starts around week 2-4 of life, and usually resolves by 4 months of age.  It usually requires no treatment. 

Diaper Rashes

Every baby will develop a diaper rash at some point.  Diaper rashes happen because your baby’s skin gets irritated by contact with urine or stool.  Changing your baby as soon as you notice a wet or dirty diaper will help, as will using any kind of a barrier ointment (Vaseline, zinc oxide) to protect that delicate skin as soon as it starts looking irritated.  Other tricks include soaking a baby’s bottom in warm water mixed with some baking soda, and letting them air out without a diaper on a blanket or mat that you don’t mind washing. Often, time out of a diaper is the quickest way to resolve a diaper rash. 

When Should I Call the Office?

What rashes should you call us about?  There are a few rashes that could indicate a baby is getting very sick and it is very important to call if you see clusters of water blisters or pimples, or spreading red or purple spots.  If a diaper rash is being stubborn or causing your baby discomfort, give us a call. Of course, the bottom line is if you are worried about a rash, call us at any time.