There isn’t anything quite like a newborn baby. Their beauty, innocence and gentle perfection can take your breath away. Until birth your baby had everything she’s needed, tucked up and protected in your womb. All that changes at birth, and for that reason here are our top 5 tips for keeping your baby’s skin as pure as the day she was born…
Don’t wash it off! Fresh out of the womb, babies are covered with the most luscious, thick, creamy, moisturizing substance called vernix caseosa. This is the perfect covering for the baby as it encounters the harsh climate of the world. Scientists have studied the components of vernix and have identified lipids, amino acids, proteins and beneficial microbes.
When we talk about vernix we can’t help but talk about the microbiome as well. The human microbiome is used to describe a bacterial world that subsists on and in humans. A baby is virtually microbe free before it’s mother’s waters break. The first microbes to make contact with one’s body come from the birth canal. These microbes colonise deep into the skin and influence the skin microbiome all the way into adulthood. Babies born via C-section do not have the same microbial colonisation and are more prone to eczema and other skin conditions. Let your newborn absorb it!
Keep it simple:
Don’t be fooled by smart marketing. Babies need very little after they are born. Savour that magical hour (that first hour post-birth) where one can establish breastfeeding and enjoy immediate skin-to-skin contact. Babies are clean – they don’t need a bath immediately after birth. In fact, the World Health Organization advises delaying baby’s first bath for 24 hours. When you are ready to give your baby her first bath, simply use clean water or a completely natural wash. Harsh, synthetically fragranced soaps strip the body of its natural oils. If you prefer using a baby wash, the Pure Beginnings Probiotic Baby Cream Wash for sensitive skin is microbiome friendly and pH balanced.
It is quite common for babies to develop what we call ‘baby acne’. These are tiny pink bumps on a baby’s face, neck and chest (usually occurs in a fifth of all newborns in their first month of life). Often it disappears by itself, and there is not much you can do – the cause is often related to the mother’s hormones in the baby’s body after birth. Unlike adult acne, infant acne requires no special treatment. Try to keep your baby’s skin clean and dry, and don’t squeeze the bumps or apply any lotions.
Don’t be tempted by that ‘baby smell’:
Don’t expose your precious little bundle to unnecessary chemicals. Increasingly we are learning of the devastating long-term effects of chemicals in baby products. A newborn’s skin is so delicate, it is important to avoid any products with the words ‘parfum’, or ‘fragrance’ in the ingredient list (unless these have been approved for use in certified organic products). Conventional synthetic fragrances in baby products are one of the leading causes of allergies and irritation on the skin. Organic essential oils are nature’s way of providing the most wonderful, honest and natural scents. Pure essential oils are completely volatile, which means you get the wonderful natural aroma when bathing and applying lotion, but they don’t sit on and irritate the surface of the skin.
Introduce products with natural pure essential oil fragrances whenever you are ready, as they’re completely safe. However, we do recommend fragrance-free in the first few weeks to assist with mom and baby bonding.
Anticipating nappy rash:
The most common skin ailment one can expect with a newborn is the dreaded nappy rash. Unfortunately, the materials which keep disposable nappies from leaking, also prevent air from circulating, and this, combined with the fact that a baby’s skin barrier is not yet fully formed (the skin structure is still developing and the layers of epidermis are thinner than in adults), creates the ideal environment for a rash to develop. When it comes to your newborn’s little bottom, the cleaner and drier the skin, the better. Regardless of whether you’re using disposable or cloth nappies, we recommend you use natural (ideally biodegradable) wipes, and a natural bum cream to create a thick barrier on your baby’s bottom. If a rash does develop, treat the affected skin with a bum cream that contains natural plant oils (rather than petroleum bases), which allow the skin to breathe, supports a healthy microbiome and has a pH which matches the natural pH of the skin. Also remember it’s a good idea to give your baby some nappy-free time for a few minutes each day.
In a way, a newborn baby provides us with a clean slate. By creating holistic skincare habits and following these simple tips, we hope you will spend less time worrying, and more time cuddling with your baby.