Hi Loves! We’ve had some cold and dry days here in Colorado! And I don’t know about you, but my hands are already starting to get dry and crackly – yuck! But I’m a little obsessive about washing them this time of year to avoid getting sick. So I thought it might be a good time of year to talk a bit about skincare tips for babies – especially those little newborn babes!
It can be overwhelming being a new mom and constantly trying to figure out what’s best for your baby. I know I felt this way A LOT when Avalon was first born. Being that I’m passionate about skincare, I was the same for my little girl too.
She entered this world during some very cold days last year! It was a blizzard on the night we took her home – our car’s doors were frozen shut in the hospital parking lot!!! BRRR!! So I was even more paranoid about her skin during this cold and dry time of year. How cute is this girl right before we left the hospital?!!?? How was this already a year ago??
Here are a few tips to ensure you’re taking good care of your baby’s skin from birth and on….
1 – Baths are for the birds
Newborns really don’t need a daily bath – or even weekly! ESPECIALLY here in dry Colorado! I think I bathed Avalon every 6 weeks or so when she was a brand new human, maybe even every 8 weeks – basically as little as possible. Her first real bath at home was when she was 2 months old! And I just rinsed her with warm water. (PS – I LOVED my 4Moms bathtub!) Their skin is so delicate and water/soap can dry it out in 5 seconds flat which could lead to eczema. You can “spot clean” them as needed and bath them occasionally using just warm water and a soft, muslin cloth. You don’t need to use any cleanser. I also delayed her first bath in the hospital – which I’ve read really helps their little bodies learn to self-regulate their body temperature better when they are brand new. They of course wiped her clean but we didn’t bath her until shortly before we left the hospital….and of course, I brought my own organic cleanser for them to use. I wasn’t about to let them use Johnson & Johnson soap on my baby. But that’s just me…I’m that mom that’s very picky about what goes on my girls skin. Now that Avalon is older and actually gets dirty, I do bath her and I use California Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash – it’s the brand I’ve found that I like the best because of the high quality, organic ingredients. And calendula is about the best ingredient around for little ones! I started bathing her regularly around the time we started doing solids – because that’s when she started getting messy and actually needing a bath.
2 – Use a humidifier
These babies are in a perfect environment while they are in the womb, and then they enter the harsh world where it’s dry and there is air pollution — it’s a big transition for them…and their skin. It’s hard being a baby! A humidifier helps put some moisture into the air which is very beneficial for their health, but it’s also great for their skin. Again, this is especially important during the dry, cold months of the year. If you live someplace warmer and humid, it’s probably not quite as important. Here is the one we have (because it was rated #2 on babygearlab.com), mainly because it was smaller and inexpensive and very basic. But my sister has a mac-daddy one that I drool over every time I go to her house. So if you want to go all out – you could check this one out.
3 – Less is more when it comes to baby skincare products
So as a baby starts to adapt to their new environment, you may notice that their skin will get dry and flaky and you’ll think you want to apply some lotion to moisturize it. Well, you don’t have to and really shouldn’t!!! It’s best to not use anything on newborn skin. When babies are born, they have a skin protectant “built-in” called vernix – and that vernix starts to shed which appears like it’s dry, flaky skin BUT it’s not dry, flaky skin. So resist the urge to treat it like dry, flaky skin and apply lotion or creams to it – it’s NOT necessary! Could I say dry, flaky skin any more? Haha But in all seriousness….their skin is actually very hydrated underneath that top layer of skin. And because their skin is so new, it’s VERY important not to apply lotion with any chemicals because it WILL absorb into their skin and body (and possibly irritate their brand new skin). Ingredients like phthalates can actually lower testosterone levels in male babies. If you do use lotions on your baby, it could cause their system to fight the foreign substance and in turn, your baby can develop allergies, eczema and even asthma.
Now if your baby does develop truly dry skin, it’s best to treat their skin with an olive oil or even coconut oil. You may want to reach for Aquaphor — but let me just tell you exactly what that is. It is 41% Petroleum (among other less than ideal ingredients) – which is a known skin protectant/barrier – and petroleum is derived from crude oil, yup..the same kind of oil that is used to make gas that we fill our cars up with. Supposedly all the carcinogens are extracted during the refining process for it’s use in skincare, but are they really? Why risk it when there are SO many other SAFER options out there these days? Especially for your baby!
Petroleum IS a good skin barrier – it certainly can lock moisture in, but it does so at the expense of not letting your skin breath, which is actually really important. Side note – NEVER put this type of product on a sunburn – it will trap the heat in and not let the skin heal as it’s supposed to. Skin does NEED to breath to heal. But bottom line, petroleum is not going to moisturize or nourish your skin, it is only a barrier. It’s an illusion that makes you feel like you’re skin is getting moisture, but it’s not.
Here are a few products I do trust to put on my babies skin when needed (as she got older):
Honest Healing Balm – I love this stuff for any skin irritation as a spot treatment. I even use it on my own lips and cuticles. A dab for her and a dab for me! 🙂
California Baby Calendula Cream – this stuff is literally the best!!!! You can buy the small one at Target if you want to try it out, but it’s more cost effective to go with the big one and Target has stopped carrying the bigger size. So I did a subscribe & save through Amazon and now I get a discount AND it shows up on my doorstep exactly when I need it (which is about every 4 – 5 months). This stuff is also great for adults with any skin irritations and/or eczema.
Even now that she is just over a year old, we don’t use body wash every time we bath her – it’s used very sparingly unless it’s completely necessary. And we are very religious about putting the calendula cream on her after every bath to ensure her skin’s moisture is getting replenished.
The important thing to remember about skincare for babies is less is more!
And I just had to include a bath-time pic of my sweet girl!!! How cute is she here? These snapshots were from her first bath at home at 2 months old!
I hope this post has been helpful whether you are a new mom, or a mom to many but wanting to learn more about how to care for your baby’s skin. As always, if you’re worried about any skin condition with your baby, it’s always good to reach out to your pediatrician. But it’s also great to start off on the right foot with the steps above. 🙂
Have a great night!
Kisses from Sarah K