Skin Care For Your Newborn
A baby’s soft and delicate skin needs special care. Generally, it is best to use products made especially for babies, but your baby’s healthcare provider can advise you about other products. Products for adults may be too harsh for a baby and may contain irritants or allergens. Many parents like to use lotions. But unless the baby’s skin is dry, lotions really are not needed. Powders should be avoided, unless they are recommended by your baby’s healthcare provider. When using any powder, put the powder in your hand and then apply it to the baby’s skin. Shaking powder into the air releases dust and talc that can harm your baby’s lungs.
Many babies have rashes and bumps that are normal. Some rashes may be a sign of a problem or infection. Diaper rash can be irritating to the baby and needs to be treated. If you have concerns about a rash, or your baby is uncomfortable or has a fever, call your baby’s healthcare provider.
Laundry detergents may cause irritation to a baby’s delicate skin. If your baby seems sensitive to detergent, you can use a special detergent for babies with sensitive skin and give the laundry an extra rinse with plain water to remove any leftover detergent.
Can You Use Baby Powder On A Newborn
Baby powder has long been used to keep the diaper area dry and rash-free. However, baby powder is not recommended.
Many baby powders contain talc, which has been linked to ovarian cancer.
That being said, even natural powders are not recommended. Powder can cause respiratory issues if its inhaled, and unfortunately, it is very easy for a baby to inhale these particles. Plus, in many cases, powder can be too drying.
How Do I Bathe My Baby After His Circumcision
You can wash your baby’s penis 3 to 4 days after the circumcision. Drip warm water gently over his penis to clean it. Put petroleum jelly inside his diaper so the diaper will not stick to his penis while it heals. If a plastic circumcision device was used, do not use petroleum jelly. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider for more information.
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What Do I Need To Know About My Baby’s Skin
- Your baby’s skin is sensitive and fragile. Your healthcare provider may tell you to wash your baby only with warm water during the first month after birth. If you do use soap, use only gentle baby soap on areas that are dirty, such as his bottom. The soap you use on your baby should not contain any preservatives, alcohol, or perfumes. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider what type of soap is best. Wash your baby’s skin gently. Do not rub.
- If your baby was premature, his skin may be thinner and more sensitive than other babies. Your premature baby may not need a sponge bath as often because his skin may dry out faster. Soap may irritate his skin.
How To Give A Newborn A Sponge Bath
This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Dr. Marusinec is a board certified Pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is on the Clinical Practice Council. She received her M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pediatrics in 1998. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 5,045 times.
Newborn babies need sponge baths for the first several weeks after birth. This is important, as the babys umbilical cord stump needs time to fall off and heal without getting too wet. Giving a newborn a sponge bath is somewhat tricky due to their small size and fragile nature. Not only do you need to keep parts of them dry, but you need to keep them calm and comfortable, too. Ultimately, by preparing and taking your time, you’ll be able to make a newborn’s sponge bath go smoothly. Gather the supplies you need ahead of time, carefully clean your baby, and take measures to keep them warm and dry after the bath.
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Carefully Place Baby In The Baby Tub
Cover baby with a dry washcloth or small towel to keep him warm while you wash different parts of his body. Because babies chill so easily, consider running the towels through the dryer before bathing baby. You can also run a small space heater in the room to make the air a more comfortable temperature for baby. You can also run shower to create a steam room, which also keeps baby warm.
Are There Any Harmful Effects Of Using Baby Soap Daily
Using a soap daily on the babys sensitive skin can have the following harmful effects:
- Frequent use of baby soaps can make your babys skin dry
- If your baby has eczema then she may be particularly sensitive towards the ingredients present in soaps
- While buying baby soaps, check its ingredients as they may contain toxic substance which can harm your babys skin. Stay away from the ingredients that contain the letters such as polyethylene and polyethylene glycol, they are known harmful toxic substance present in baby products
- Steer clear of fragranced soaps or the ones that have parabens
- Using regular shampoo can be harsh and can irritate the skin of your newborn
- Swallowing baby soaps containing any toxic substance can have negative impact on their health as well
- Soaking your babies in a soap water for a long time can irritate urethra and can cause urinary tract infections especially in girl children
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If Your Newborn Hates The Bath
Its actually very common for newborns to dislike bath time, especially at first. You may be surprised to learn this, and even think you are doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with your baby if they cry or fuss during bathtime.
One reason some babies resist bathtime is that they dont like the sudden temperature changes that happen. You can mitigate this by gently transitioning your baby into the water. Wrap them in a towel at first and gradually immerse them in the water, keeping the towel on until they are all the way in.
You can also experiment with bath temperatures to see what your baby likes best. And always have a warm towel ready when they come out so that transition isnt too jarring.
Some newborn prefer bathtime if you are holding them completely. As such, many parents decide to bathe with their babies in their arms. This can be a wonderful bonding experience. However, you must consider safety here. Only bathe with your baby when you are fully alert. Make sure you have a towel ready, and possibly another grown-up to hand your baby to when you are done. Dont use soaps and other bath products geared toward adult skin.
Finally, keep bathtime fun for your baby! Newborns cant play with bath toys yet, but that doesnt mean they cant be entertained by them. Funny faces and games of peek-a-boo can be very helpful as well.
You can spot clean your baby in the meantime. And most babies will eventually enjoy bath timeall in good time.
Give Only Sponge Baths Till The Umbilical Cord Falls Off
During the first couple of weeks or so, specifically, till the umbilical cord stump falls off, your baby should only have sponge baths. This is so the stump doesnt get wet.
To give a sponge bath: Lay your baby on a flat comfortable surface in a warm room. If the surface is above floor level, place a hand next to the baby to make sure they dont fall. Dampen a clean washcloth with plain water and wash the face before using soapy water to clean the rest of the body. Pay attention to skin creases and do the diaper area last. Keep your baby wrapped up during the sponge bath and only expose the part that youre actively cleaning.2
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Best Temperature For A Bath
You can experiment to see what temperature your baby likes their bath best. In general, lukewarm temperatures are ideal. You dont want the bath to be too cold, but you certainly dont want it too hot.
Some parents err on the side of heating the bath up too much, and risk scalding their babies. The AAP recommends that your babys bath be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Its helpful to fill the baby tub or sink with a few inches of water before immersing your baby in it. Test the water first to see if it is an appropriate temperature for your baby.
How Hot Should The Water Be
The water temperature to bathe your baby should be warm, never hot. The ideal temperature is 98.6°F . You can use a bath thermometer to monitor the temperature, or check the water with your wrist or elbow to confirm its warm and not hot.
Also, check different sides of the tub or baby bath to confirm there are no hot spots. If using a tub or basin, turn on the cold water first and then the hot water to fill it.
If you live in a house, you can also adjust the water heater to ensure it doesnt go above 120°F , which can badly scald your babys skin. You likely cant adjust the water heater if you live in an apartment complex or condo.
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How To Give Baby A Sponge Bath
Your newborn should be bathed with a sponge bath for the first few weeks of life. This is the simplest way to clean your baby before the umbilical cord falls off.
Sponge baths are also the best way to bathe boys who were circumcised while the circumcision site heals.
You can also give your baby a sponge bath anytime you want to wash one part or all of their body without getting them soaking wet.
Before giving your baby a sponge bath, make sure you have all the supplies you need within easy reach. Youll also want to warm up the room to keep your baby comfortable.
Once youve gathered your supplies, follow these steps:
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How To Wash Babys Scalp And Hair
Plan to wash your babys scalp or hair twice a week. To wash your babys scalp or hair, gently massage a baby shampoo into their hair, if they have any, or directly onto their scalp. Rinse it out by dabbing with a wet washcloth.
In a baby tub, you can also gently tip your babys head back and keep one hand over their forehead while you pour on some warm water. The water will spill over the sides of their head to rinse out the shampoo.
Gently washing your babys hair will not hurt a soft spot, but talk with your pediatrician if you have concerns. If your baby has cradle cap, you can gently brush your babys hair and scalp. But take care not to pick or scrape at their scalp.
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Best Time Of Day For A Bath
Similar to the question of how often to bathe your baby, what time of day to bathe your baby is really up to you!
Many families adopt the bath before bed routine, as baths can help your child relax before bedtime, and can become part of a routine that signals to them that sleep is coming.
Evening is also when parents usually have the time to dedicate to bathing their baby. However, if you prefer bathing your baby in the morning or during the day, thats perfectly OK.
When considering what time of day to bathe your baby, also consider when you are going to be most alert. Bathing babies, and especially newborns, takes good hand-eye coordination, patience, and must involve vigilance on the part of the parent.
If you think you will be distracted with other responsibilities, or with your other children, choose another time to bathe your baby.
Helping Baby Enjoy Bath Time
To help your baby enjoy bath time, you can try placing your hand gently on their tummy. You can also place a warm wet washcloth on their chest and tummy. This can help your baby feel safe and secure in the bath.
If your baby doesnt like baths, give them a top and tail bath one day and a proper bath the next. Generally, babies get used to baths by around three months.
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Care For The Cord Stump
With a clean, damp washcloth, carefully pat the area around the cord. Gently lift the clip to reach all sides, never pulling or tugging on it.
In the summer, dress baby in a diaper and loose T-shirt. This ensures nothing is pulling at the cord. It also allows airflow, keeping the area dry and possibly accelerating the stumps removal .
What Else To Know About Newborn Baby Tub Baths
Bathe baby 2-3 times per week in the baby tub.
- The youngest babies don’t need a daily bath, unless they have eczema.
If baby is upset about the tub bath, don’t worry.
- Transition back to the sponge bath for a few times, then try the baby tub again.
And remember: closely supervise baby at all times when you bathe them — no matter what type of bath you give!
For more essential ways to keep baby safe in the bath — as a newborn and beyond — don’t miss our previous article on bath safety tips.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
See the FDA Peanut Allergy Qualified Health Claim at the bottom of our homepage.
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