Baby Skin Care
The other day i have had the opportunity to interact with this wonderful & happy child, whose mother had come to consult me about his skin care. It made me really happy to witness this change wherein an Indian mom is in the dermatologist's clinic just to know the correct way to care for her baby's skin, coz generally parents come to visit the dermatologist only if they notice some sort of ailment or abnormality in their newborn's skin!
So here are the instructions as given to the mom, albeit a little in detail. (primarily focusing on full term babies)
Bathing & Washing
- Immediately after delivery, its advisable to wipe the baby with plain, clean water.
- Defer routine bathing for the first 5-6 hours after birth, to avoid hypothermia (a condition wherein the core body temperature falls below 35 degree Celsius)
- Bathing frequency should be kept at 2-3 times per weak. In places with warmer temperature, everyday bathing can be done.
- Keep the bath time short, five minutes is just fine.
- The water should be boiled & the temperature should be kept as close to body temperature as possible.
- Mild cleansers or syndets that do not irritate the skin or eyes should be used.
- Immediately after bath, the baby should be wrapped in a soft cotton towel & dried thoroughly, especially skin creases, groins & underarms.
- Apply an appropriate emollient (meant for babies) after bath in order to prevent dryness & flaking. This reminds me about the culture of an oil massage given to newborns before bath, especially in India. It is not only a way to keep the skin barrier function intact but also is beneficial in neuromotor development, weight gain, better sleep-wake pattern & bonding. Its important to choose the oil wisely. Coconut oil, olive oil, safflower oil are some of the good options. Mustard oil should be avoided as it is capable of causing allergic reactions.
- Well, as far as powders are concerned, better to avoid them in babies, as there are two concerns, one - excessive use of powders can block the sweat ducts & two -starch in the powder if inhaled accidentally can cause irritation.
Care of the Diaper Area
- this one everyone knows- use of good quality absorbent disposable napkins. BUT, you know still the good old cotton ones are preferrable! only thing is these days we lack time to wash them throughly in warm water, dry them in sun & iron them before each use.
- nappies should be changed frequently as the area is a closed environment suitable for the growth of microorganisms!
- at each nappy change, apply a water repellant emollient like vaseline.
- warm water & soft cotton wool must be used to wipe the nappy area.
- skin should be dried throughly each time the diaper is changed.
- always wipe the bottom from front to back to avoid contact of fecal matter with genitals.
- mild baby shampoo which are fragrance free should be used in minimum quantity.
- the umbilical cord dries & falls off generally within 5-10 days after birth, hence one need not apply anything there for helping it fall off. Lets just few things happen naturally.
well, i think i have summed up the important points. rest i believe that no one knows the best for a child than her/his own mother, not even Johnson's, ha ha!
Happy skin to you & your babies!
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