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Caring for Your Newborn’s Skin, Hair and Nails

Caring for Your Newborn’s Skin, Hair and Nails

With a new baby comes so many new things to learn. From feeding routines to sleep routines, babies with their own individual personalities come with their own learning curves. Their softness invites not only cuddles and smooches, but also questions on how to best care for newborn skin.

Here are some tips on best practices to keep your baby’s skin healthy and happy, provided by board-certified dermatologist associated with the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Kachiu Lee. 

The umbilical cord is okay left alone.

The umbilical cord does not require alcohol or antibacterial ointments or any specific care. Monitor for redness or thick drainage from it and allow it to fall off on its own.  Once it does, baby is ready for the first bath!

Bathing does not need to be daily

Babies get wiped down often both during and between diaper changes and feeding times. This makes daily baths unnecessary. Wipe away any obvious soiling and bathe your infant in lukewarm water every other day or so.

Change diapers as soon as possible

This can reduce the risk of diaper rash and keep baby happy, too. If a diaper rash does develop, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests using a zinc-based diaper cream. If it does not improve in a couple of days, then see your pediatrician.

Wash baby’s clothes and blankets in dye-free detergent

Baby’s skin tends to be more sensitive, so the American Academy of Dermatology suggests washing all laundry in fragrance-free and dye-free detergents.

Keep baby’s nails trimmed

Use a baby nail trimmer to keep these little ones from scratching themselves.

Sun protect

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests keeping children under six months old out of direct sunlight. Avoid going out between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Have children wear a brimmed hat while outside. If shade is not available, however, small amounts of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher may be applied to the child’s exposed skin. Please read all warning labels closely before using.

Moisturize very dry skin

Babies live in water for months while developing into the little bundles we hold and enjoy. Their skin is likely to peel within a couple of weeks. No need to worry, this will pass and does not require any treatment. If baby’s skin seems overly dry, however, use a petroleum-based moisturizer to keep skin in great shape.

Take care of the nooks and crannies

Pay attention to all the skin folds. These areas tend to trap dirt and moisture, making it easier to get a rash in those locations. Clean these spots well with wipes. If any redness begins to develop, apply a small amount of petroleum-based moisturizer to keep the skin from getting irritated again.

With these tips, you can help keep your baby’s skin healthy, happy and ready for all the squeezes and cuddles to come.

Alicia Stevens, a resident of Pearl River County, is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two who enjoys traveling with her family and friends.

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