What comes to your mind when I say it?
A rose petal? Cream? Silk? Velvet? Satin?
How can you describe it in a word?
Soft? Supple? Delicate? Tender? Sensitive? You fall short of words. Don’t you? We may think of many adjectives but still feel that there should be some special word to describe it. I think terming it as Baby skin is more apt than any other word.
When I saw my baby for the first time, how I felt was different. I was scared to touch that beautiful translucent skin. It was like some semi-transparent fabric. It was all fine for the first few weeks till those tiny red bumps appeared on her face. Baby Acne. That was the first time I shed tears after my delivery. I haven’t cried during those painful hours of labor at all, but looking at her skin made me weep. The next morning, we rushed to the doctor just to hear that I should leave it as it is. No soap, no cream, no powder. Just nothing but cleaning her face with plain water. That’s when my research on baby skin care started. The more I read, the more I found out and here are some important things that I would like to share with you (which are tired and tested at home). These are not just out of Web but from my three years of experience of motherhood.
The most important element in keeping a baby’s skin soft and safe is WATER. I mean, fresh and clean water. Let’s see how water affects the skin.
Do NOT use hard water: Hard water is rich in minerals (specially magnesium and calcium) which does not form lather with soap. Even after rinsing off the soap from the body, there still be some soap left on skin which causes dryness. Harder the water, harsher it is on the delicate skin. When hard water is used for bathing babies, it causes dryness and in the long run can cause eczema. Hence, it is important to use ONLY soft water to bathe babies. If you don’t have a plain water facility then it is suggested you buy a water softener.
Keep the baths short: Babies during their first few months do not get exposed to dirt. They hardly sweat and even if they sweat it will be odorless for few years. Hence keep their baths short and get them out of the tub quickly. This will help the little one’s skin from getting rough and dry.
Use warm water: There is a myth that if you bathe babies with VERY HOT water, they sleep well for hours. I beg to differ here. It is recommended by pediatric experts to use only warm water. Water with a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius. Try buying a bath-tub thermometer or check the heat with your elbow. Water should be warm. Extremely hot water peels off skin cells and causes rashes on the body.
Air is the fastest medium through which germs attack our body. Babies tend to get affected easily as their immunity system wouldn’t be so strong.
Let’s talk about three types of Air.
Natural Air: Taking baby outdoors can be dangerous if not taken proper care. Usually pediatricians recommend not to take newborns outside at least for three months. We haven’t taken our baby out for six months unless it was a hospital visit for immunization. If taking her out is unavoidable, make sure to cover your baby as much as possible. Do not suffocate their skin but swaddle in a cotton fabric and if possible keep her in a baby basket. Once back at home wipe the body or give a quick bath, change clothes, diaper and change sheets. Apply enough moisturizer after wiping.
Air from air conditioners: It is the most dangerous form of air, if not maintained properly. Filter membranes need to be cleaned every few weeks. If you are using air conditioner in the baby’s bedroom make sure you are not putting her near the vent where the breeze blows directly on the baby. Air conditioning makes the skin lose its natural moisture causing dryness and flakes.
Air from ceiling fans: The most used device in Indian families. Never make the baby lie down under the fan directly. Keep her away where the air flow is not too fast. The air takes off all the humidity in the air so it is good to keep a pan full of water in the room to keep the balance between air and humidity.
Massage is relaxing and therapeutic for both body and mind of babies. Skin, being the largest organ of the body, needs more attention. Oil has been in use for ages to deal with skin health. In olden days the only moisturizer people used was Oil.
The place I went for delivery had an ayurvedic baby massage package for new born for 3-5 days from the second day of the birth. Some special oils which are gentle on the just born baby were used by a qualified and expertise ayurvedic practitioner. We opted for it and haven’t found any adverse effects.
To massage or not to massage your new born baby, is always debatable but in India baby baths are always preceded by a good oil massage on the skin. The widely used oils are Sesame oil for pre-bath massage and Coconut oil for post-bath massage.
Applying oil on the skin in winters acts as an extra layer of protection. It seals the heat inside the body and makes the baby feel warmth. Oil gives shine to the skin, smoothens it and helps retain moisture. Many oils help healing rashes, chaffing, flakes and eczema etc., Do you know that coconut oil acts as the best diaper rash cream?
Give massage gently and let the oil stay on the body for some time before you bath. Oils can also be allergic hence choose them wisely after testing it on a small patch of your baby’s skin. There are many varieties of oil available for baby massages. Buy non-perfumed, light and edible oils which are not too harsh on their delicate skin.
We tend to overlook the negative impacts of Sunlight looking at the benefits it has to boost our metabolism and giving us Vitamin D. Sunlight can be detrimental to skin if exposed for long.
Baby skin is super sensitive and is vulnerable when exposed to Sun even for a shorter time. The best way to protect is to avoid taking babies out in the sunlight for at least six months after birth. Later, try and limit taking babies out during mid-day when UVA and UVB rays are strong. UVA and UVB present in the Sunlight can cause sunburn, rashes, skin irritation and wrinkles. UV in sunlight curbs skin immune system. Remember even on a cloudy day, UV rays can be as strong as on a sunny day.
If you cannot avoid taking babies out, following the below precautions will help save that delicate skin.
- Use shade, an umbrella, a canopy or a wide brimmed hats If you have to sit outside, look for the shade under the tree.
- If your baby is comfortable wearing sunglasses, let her wear them.
- Use a sunscreen lotion suitable for children with a high SPF. Do not forget to take an opinion of your pediatrician and also do a patch test before applying.
- Make sure babies wear full length sleeves and pants which are closely woven but light and loose.
If you are sun bathing babies make sure you finish it between 7am and 8am and do not keep the baby in the sun for more than 10 minutes. Let the babys’ back expose to Sun rather face and front side of the body.
While all the above are the things used externally, this one is different. Food works from inside the body.
As we all believe, breastfeeding or infant formula should be the only food for any baby for the first six months unless otherwise recommended by the doctors under unavoidable conditions. There have been instances where doctors recommended solids from month three. During pregnancy and during breastfeeding it is important for the mother to eat healthy as the food taken by mother also effects the toddler’s skin. Infant formula anyways is packed with required vitamins and minerals for the baby.
Food definitely boosts the skin health. Usually solids are introduced once your baby turns six month old. It is important to check the suitability of food for your baby. The allergic reaction explodes on the skin almost all the time in the form of rashes, hives and boils ruining the texture and health of skin. Hence, it is important to keep a check and follow the 3-day-rule.
Introducing greens, veggies and juices helps babies gain beautiful and healthy skin. I have mentioned few of these foods which will help enhance your kid’s skin health.
Eating foods rich in Antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, Proteins, Minerals, Vitamins etc., makes the skin soft and supple Ex: Avocado, Carrot, Walnut, Tomatoes, Oranges, Eggs, Fish, Kiwi, Broccoli, etc.
Eating foods rich in Omega fatty acids will help retain the skins elasticity. Antioxidants help in blood flow thus giving a radiance to the skin. Carotene found in Yellow and Orange veggies like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins and bell peppers help decrease the skin sensitivity to sun.
Above all, water is elixir which keeps the skin healthy and glowing by flushing all toxins. Taking adequate amount of water helps in healing eczema and psoriasis in babies and also helps in maintaining the required skin moisture and elasticity. Keep the baby and yourself well hydrated to maintain that radiant skin.
Moisturizing and using a soft diaper are the basic things to do to keep the baby skin safe. Baby’s bottom needs a special care as the skin there would not be exposed and can catch infections easily due to sweat. Using diapers like Pampers Premium Care Pants help you deal with the problem. Read more about it here.
“Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy. ”
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Always use a good moisturizer to keep your skin smooth and hydrated to keep away from all that harm Air can do indoors. Also use quality and reliable diapers like Pampers for the cute little bottom to get sufficient air. Pampers new Premium Care pants are made with a super fine quality material that allows skin to breath. It also helps in absorbing liquid quickly and keep the area dry for long.