Baby body and skincare
Caring for your baby's body involves cleaning, bathing and other routine hygiene tasks. However, a baby's skin is more sensitive
Babies need gentle and non-allergenic skin care products. Babies are also more prone to developing rashes and dry skin.
What should I use on my baby’s skin?
When it comes to baby products, there are any number of items available to suit all budgets. From supermarket own brands to designer, organic products, you may find that you need to try a few before settling on the best one for your baby.
Many parents are concerned about phthalates and chemicals in baby products. Phthalates are chemicals commonly used in everything from plastics to beauty products. Some research suggests that they are linked to infertility, asthma and even obesity. If you are concerned about these and other chemicals, you may wish to use natural baby care products or to make your own homemade products using common household ingredients, such as olive oil. There are many books on natural baby care, and you may find helpful information in these.
Common baby body care issues
Cradle cap. This is a very common infant condition which tends to occur in babies under the age of six months. Symptoms usually appear within a few weeks after birth, and include scaly patches and/or dandruff on the scalp. It is generally easily treated by soaking the baby’s scalp with a suitable oil and then gently combing out the flakes (never picking them off, as this will lead to bleeding and could cause infection) and shampooing the hair with treatment shampoos you can buy in the pharmacy. If cradle cap gets worse, contact your GP or public health nurse for further advice.
Cleaning your newborn’s umbilical stump.
When a baby is born, they are left with a small little stump in their belly button, from where the cord was cut. This naturally falls off within a few weeks of birth, leaving a small little wound in the baby’s belly button. You can care for this wound by keeping it clean and dry, and by making sure that the nappy sits below the stump and not over it. Contact your doctor if the wound is not healing or if the baby develops a fever or a discharge from the wound.
Trimming your baby’s nails.
A baby’s nails do need to be cut. Finger nails grow quite fast and can be very sharp, so you may need to cut them quite regularly. If nails are not trimmed, your baby could scratch himself (or you) quite easily. Toenails do not need to be cut quite as often. You may find it easiest to trim the baby’s fingernails after a bath when their nails are softest. Hold baby’s hand or foot firmly when you are cutting and cut the nails straight across. Some parents also use an nail file to keep nails trimmed.
This is a common problem for babies. Again, because their skin is so delicate, they are prone to dryness. You can try a variety of methods to remedy this problem. Firstly, try to use a top-and-tailing routine most days, rather than giving your baby a bath every night. When you do bathe him, only keep him in the bath for short periods and try not to use much soap.
Avoid bubble baths in particular for small babies. After the bath, you may choose to apply some suitable, unscented moisturiser.