My second son was born just a few weeks ago, and I was immediately struck by how incredibly beautiful, soft, and delicate newborn skin is. Is there any better ‘drug’ than the musky scent and the satin feel of your infant’s new skin?
Skin is our largest organ. It amounts to around 16% of our body weight. Newborn skin is particularly delicate, being around 30% thinner than adult skin, and therefore more vulnerable to irritants and the absorption of toxins.
Newborn skin is constantly changing and growing, and can be susceptible to dryness. Adult cosmetics products are generally too harsh to use on baby skin – and as such, it is important to use only products that have been designed specifically for babies. However, there’s a lot we can do to care for our baby’s skin without spending a great lot on special products. A lot of benefit can be gained from just ‘simplifying’ your baby’s hygiene routine.
Here are some tips for caring simply for your baby’s precious new skin:
Delay the first bath – When your baby is born, he/she may be covered in a white waxy substance. This is known as ‘Vernix’ and acts as a temporary barrier, to protect baby from infection and environmental stress. Delaying your baby’s first bath, means that he/she maximises the benefit of this coating.
Bathe baby infrequently – babies don’t really get dirty do they? I remember I bathed my first child every night as a baby. I had read that giving baby a bath each evening was part of establishing a bedtime routine. However, bathing can tend to have a drying effect on the skin, and really isn’t necessary daily. My son’s dry skin issues improved dramatically once I reduced the frequency of his baths.
Use cotton wool and water instead of baby wipes – I have seen advertising for baby wipes which states “cleansing as gentle as cotton wool and water”. In that case, why use anything else? Even ‘gentle’ wipes can irritate very new skin.
Only use a ‘cleanser’ for hair initially – a baby’s body doesn’t get dirty enough to ‘cleanse’. Cleansers (unless extremely gentle) can strip the skin of its natural oils. However, hair will need a wash now and then.
Moisturise with an oil – choose something light and easily absorbed such as sunflower. It doesn’t need to be expensive. ‘Creams’ and ‘butters’ are great as a denser, heavier and more protective emollient, but unless your baby has especially dry skin problems, a light oil should be sufficient.
Always choose unscented products for your baby. Unless you are a qualified Aromatherapist, you can’t be sure of the effects of essential oils. Furthermore a ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ is generally a synthetic ingredient. Besides, babies smell gorgeous naturally right?
Always use natural ingredients/products, and check your labels. INCI names are confusing but can be easily ‘translated’ via Google. Be sure and confident about what you are applying to your baby’s skin.
Remember issues of dermal absorption and how much more vulnerable to this newborn skin is. What you put on, goes in, to a certain extent. Try to minimise the exposure your baby gets to ‘products’.
Don’t change baby’s clothes unnecessarily. As with bathing, babies don’t tend to get ‘dirty’ often and frequent changes can ‘disturb’ and ‘irritate’ sensitive skin.
Stay on top of dampness and soreness in the nappy area. I swear by Baltic amber for teething and avoiding nappy rash. You can also easily make your own natural talcum powder to keep the delicate nappy area dry (see below). Caring for your newborn’s skin doesn’t need to be complex, or expensive. Less is really very much more.
(thanks to The Holistic Beauty Book by Star Khechara)
50g arrowroot powder
30g orris-root powder
20g powdered lavender flowers
All ingredients available to buy from www.aromantic.co.uk
Cath Mather is a mother to 2 boys, and an experienced Occupational Therapist, Hydrotherapist, and Reiki practitioner. She also finds time to run her own small children’s natural skincarebusiness. You can contact her here www.barebodycare.co.uk
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