Baby skin care is a major concern for new parents, and knowing which products to use on sensitive baby skin is essential. Asking a pediatrician or experienced infant caregiver for advice can be helpful. Proper care of a newborn's umbilical cord area can prevent irritation and infection. Preventing diaper rash by keeping the infant clean and dry is another important aspect of baby skin care. Using detergents that are gentle to baby's skin and avoiding alcohol-based products can prevent skin irritation.
Sensitive baby skin needs special care, especially until after the newborn's umbilical area has healed. Bathing a newborn in the first week or two is not necessary and can delay healing of the umbilical cord site. Gentle sponge baths are a good method of baby skin care during the newborn stage. To avoid diaper rash, it's important to thoroughly clean the diaper area after changing the baby. Chemicals in baby wipes can irritate newborn skin and should be used with caution.
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When changing a baby's diaper, it is best to let the skin air dry, as exposure to the air can help promote healthy skin. An infant's delicate bottom should be gently patted to dry. Allowing an infant to go bare-bottomed for an hour a day can also help heal diaper rash.
Many experts believe it is not necessary to use lotions or other baby skin care products on a newborn's delicate skin. During the first month or two, gentle cleansing with warm water or a mild soap should suffice. After the first few months, it should be fine to use a skin care product as needed, as long as it does not contain harsh chemicals.
For parents concerned about chemicals or additives in baby skin care lotions and products, there are alternatives. Choosing natural or organic skin care products can be best for infants with sensitive skin. Baby soaps, lotions and sunscreens often contain harsh chemicals, although organic brands are plant-based and not as likely to cause irritation or skin allergies. It's best to avoid products with fragrance or those that are petroleum-based.
Dressing a baby in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, especially during the warm summer months, can prevent skin chafing. Cotton is a better choice than rayon or polyester, although bamboo fiber can wick away moisture better. If taking a baby outdoors in the sunshine, a protective hat should be worn. Sunscreen formulas for infants should be waterproof and fragrance-free.