Looking at the pictures and the movies, you would expect your baby to be a perfect, photo shopped version of a baby-product advertisement. Well, that ain’t the case, even remotely. A newborn baby’s skin looks wrinkled, blotchy, purplish and anything but far from perfect. A newborn’s skin is very fragile and sensitive, and requires a lot of care to get that buttery, soft, feathery feel and touch. For the first few months of your baby’s life, his or her skin may not be that dream-like, but here is what you should expect and take care of your little munchkin’s largest organ- the epidermis.
7 Amazing Facts About Newborn Skin
- He will look reddish-purplish: No matter what your color is, your baby is bound to be somewhat reddish-purplish for the first few days of life. As the baby’s circulatory system develops, and the skin is thin, you may see a lot of redness around. If your baby is born prematurely, his body will be covered with lanugo, a fine coat of hair, and a greasy coating of vernix- that protects the baby from running his skin dry in the uterus. Not to worry, these two things will be shed off in a few weeks, while the skin may take about 6 months to arrive on a permanent skin tone. However, do watch out for a yellow tinge to the skin, which could be indicative of jaundice
- Baby acne is real: No, he is not hitting puberty yet, but your baby’s skin is pretty prone to rashes, blemishes, and baby acne. You might notice white-heads-like dots on the skin as well. The cause? The maternal hormones that get transferred to the baby before the placenta detaches itself. Avoid going overboard with scrubbing or cleaning or squeezing and just let them be. They will go off on their own
- Baby skin is ultra sensitive: It’s thin, it’s fragile and it is ultra-sensitive. That is why it absorbs and leaves water quickly, thus being prone to dryness, eczema, and irritation. Choosing baby care products that pH balanced, free from chemicals and allergic substances, and 100% soap free. Be gentle with the clothes you dress your baby with, ensuring they are also irritant and allergy free. Ask your pediatrician to recommend suitable brands for your little one
- Cradle cap? It’s your hormones: No cradle cap is not a sign of poor hygiene and you have done nothing wrong to your precious bundle. Close to your due date, the maternal hormones make way to the placenta, increasing his oil production. Within a few weeks and a month or so, the baby will start to flush them out. The cradle cap will also go away on its own, and though it may be bothersome to you, it really is not causing anything to the baby. Seek your pediatrician’s advice if you feel it is not going away or is getting worsened
- A daily wash is not necessary: Bathing a newborn can be a tedious task, like holding your heart out. The tiny, wriggly body actually does not need to be bathed daily, unless you let the baby wander off in some mud pool. Because your baby’s skin is super sensitive, washing it daily can cause it to become even drier and prone to irritation. A warm, sponge bath is usually fine, followed with a healthy body massage that leaves his skin soft and supple. Avoid soaps and oils that are full of fragrance, and opt for natural oils instead, from this list. Never compromise with oils and lotions that are not specifically meant for babies
- Baby’s skin is prone to burning: Avoid taking your little one out in the sun especially between the peak sun timings, like 10 am to 4 pm. Your baby’s skin is super sensitive to the sun and can develop sunburns quickly, because it is yet to develop melanin. If you have to move out in the sun, make sure your baby is safely and properly dressed. Sunscreens? No, not the ones used for adults yet, but the ones for babies to be dabbed on the cheeks and the ears. Cover the rest of the face with a hat and always carry an umbrella for shade
- It will settle with time: Your baby’s skin will turn smooth and feathery and dreamy in about some 6 months, when it settles into this world’s environment. Maintaining hydration levels, avoiding irritants, choosing only baby specific products, and being sensitive to his needs are some ways to ensure that your baby lands with the perfect skin. Shower your love, kisses and hugs, and all the touch stimulates the production of the love hormone, oxytocin, which boosts the bonding process
And after some time, when you and your baby take pictures or when you rub your fingers on his smooth, gentle skin, you’d know the journey.