Your newborn’s skin is delicate and soft and may be sensitive to skin care products. The best rule for newborn skin care is “less is best”. Avoid using powder, oil or lotion on your baby’s skin. Your baby will not need these baby products and they may clog pores and actually increase the natural newborn rash that resembles teenage acne. This newborn acne will resolve in a few weeks and is the result of your hormones passed to the baby during pregnancy. While baby products smell wonderful, many can be harmful to your baby’s lungs if he/she should breathe it in while being powdered.

Your newborn may also have skin that is dry or peeling, especially on the feet, hands and scalp. This may be more pronounced the longer the pregnancy lasted. This dry skin will shed on its own in a few days.

Bath Time For Baby

Contrary to popular thought, most babies do not need a bath every day. With all the diaper changes and wiping of the mouth and nose after feedings, most babies may only need to be bathed two or three times a week or every other day. However, baths are a wonderful time for interaction with your newborn and you can give your baby a sponge bath as often as you would like. Once the baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, baby can have a tub bath. Your baby’s first bath at home can be an exciting but challenging experience.
Many babies do not seem to enjoy sponge baths. You can make the experience more pleasant for your newborn by preparing the site with comfort in mind:

  • Pick a spot that is the comfortable height for you. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you will be and your relaxation will be sensed by your baby.
  • Place several thick towels on the surface to absorb water and provide a cushion for your baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Turn off any ceiling fans or anything that would cause a draft which can chill your baby.
  • Keep a soft blanket or small towel handy to cover the body parts that are not being bathed at the time. This will help to keep baby warm during the rest of the bath.
  • Have all your supplies at hand before you begin the bath. You will need a tub or basin of warm water, baby soap, baby shampoo. A large towel and a soft washcloth.
  • Talk softly to your baby while you give the bath. This relaxes both you and the baby and your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice and the interaction it provides.

First place your baby on the soft surface you have prepared. Wash your baby’s face with the washcloth moistened with water only. Clean from the inside corner of the eye to the outside and repeat on the other eye.

Next shampoo the baby’s hair. Take special care to gently clean over the areas of the “soft spots,” or fontanels with the balls of your fingers. If you do not clean these areas, your baby can develop baby dandruff, commonly called “cradle cap.” To rinse your baby’s hair, hold your baby in a football hold over the tub. Wet the cloth and gently wipe the shampoo from the baby’s hair. Then, immediately dry your baby’s face and hair with a dry towel. Each body part that is cleansed and then rinsed should be dried before cleaning another part of your baby’s body. This prevents chilling and makes the experience more comfortable for your baby.

Now, take off baby’s shirt and soap baby’s neck, chest, arms, hands and back. Take special care to cleanse well where skin folds are located. Rinse your baby with clean water and a washcloth and dry this skin well. You can place the second smaller towel across baby’s chest to help prevent chilling as you wash the rest of the baby’s body.

Now remove the baby’s diaper and soap the baby’s abdomen, buttocks, genitals, legs and feet. Be sure to wash between the baby’s toes. Rinse your baby with clean water and a washcloth and dry this skin well. When you finish put a clean diaper on your baby and dress him or her quickly. Baths can be given any time of day. Bathing before a feeding often works well. Many parents prefer to bathe their baby in the evening as part of the bedtime ritual. This works well especially if bath time is relaxing and soothing for the baby.