Your newborn’s skin may be something that you love to touch, but it is also extremely delicate and needs special care.
WASHING THEIR HAIR
Use a shampoo especially for babies (try Babeeze Organic Bath Wash and Shampoo, £6.50, my-skincare.co.uk) as needed, you won’t need to wash your newborn’s hair every day. If your baby develops cradle cap- a scaly, red rash that doesn’t look very pleasant, but isn’t distressing for them – use a specialised cream like Metanium Cradle Cap Cream, £3.45, metanium.co.uk, to help alleviate the condition.
Your newborn may be prone to getting sticky eyes- a delicate area that you may be nervous to clean at first. Simply wipe the eye from the inside corner out, using cotton wool and cooled boiled water. Make sure you use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye.
Your baby’s ears may look waxy, however, don’t be tempted to start prodding around with cotton buds as this will do more harm than good. Your baby’s ears are self-cleaning and wax will naturally work its way out. Earwax is a healthy way of protecting your baby’s ear canal, and you can safely clean the outside of the ear using the corner of a clean flannel.
You may notice some tiny white spots on parts of your baby’s face. Known as milk spots, or milia, these spots are caused by your baby’s developing sweat glands and are completely harmless. Your newborn’s skin may sometimes develop small red spots, often over their face or neck. It is most likely to be heat rash and will disappear when their temperature has dropped. If you are ever worried about any rashes then contact your GP- don’t be tempted to pick at the spots yourself.
HANDS AND FEET
You may notice that the skin on your baby’s hands, feet or ankles is prone to peeling in the first few months. Your baby’s skin is just adjusting to the new environment and this is completely natural. Try using a dab of baby oil on any badly affected areas.
Nappies create a warm, moist environment and, as a result, are a breading ground for bacteria. Change your baby’s nappy regularly and let as much air to the area as possible to avoid nappy rash. Unfortunately this doesn’t always prevent it so, if your baby does develop a rash, use a cream like Bepanthen’s Nappy Care Ointment, £3.29, bepanthen.co.uk, to alleviate symptoms. If symptoms do persist for more than two days, or the skin is broken then seek advice from your health visitor or GP.
NOOKS AND CRANNIES
Bathe your baby two or three times a week during those early days. Nooks and crannies can hide milk spills, vomit or poo, so on non-bath nights top and tail your baby, using cotton wool and water. Clean and dry any creases thoroughly.
Birthmarks are not unusual- one in three babies has one. They vary hugely in size and shape, and are most likely to be found on the head or neck. Sometimes they don’t appear until a few weeks after birth. Whilst most are harmless, see your GP if the birthmark bleeds, changes shape or grows.
The main types of birthmark are:
Port-wine stain: dark red and permanent
Strawberry mark: bright red and raised. These usually fade.
Café au lait: brown and permanent
Congenital pigmented naevus: black/brown mole that is permanent
Salmon patch/storkmark/angel kiss: small, light pink marks that usually disappear
Mongolian blue spot: flat, irregular-shaped, blue in colour
For information about birthmarks, visit birthmarksupportgroup.org.uk