Once your baby is born it is very normal to want to bath your baby so that they are clean and smell nice for the visitors. However are you actually harming your babies skin in the process?
When your baby is in utero, they are covered in a lovely thick, sticky white substance called vernix. Vernix is a natural moisturiser for babies skin, and is the best defence against skin damage or infection. Vernix is absorbed very quickly after the birth and acts as a barrier to protect your babies skin.
So when should you bath your baby for the first time?
The general consensus amongst midwives and health care providers, is to wait until baby's cord has fallen off. If there was meconium at birth they by all means wash the babies hair, just leave the skin to do its thing.
How often should you bath your baby?
Is is understandable that you want to bath your baby every night to establish a good bedtime routine, however it is not needed. A simple sponge down around the face, ears, creases and nappy area in between bath days is advisable.
If you do bath your baby every night then you might find that your babies skin dries out and there is more chance of developing eczema.
What should I put on my babies skin?
There are so many products and creams out there that companies try to sell you because it makes your baby smell nice. However, the best thing to put on your babies skin in the bath is nothing. Using warm water and a cloth cleans your baby just as well, plus there will be no nasty chemicals to irritate your babies skin.
If your baby does have dry skin then after a bath use some organic baby cream or oil and give baby a nice gentle massage. It is a lovely way to release any tension before bed and have some contact with baby.
Is my babies skin infected?
Around the 3 week mark your baby may break out in hormone spots which look like acne. Hormone spots appear due to the high level of hormones in the mothers system when pregnant. Once the baby is born, the hormones will level out, this is what causes the hormone spots.
Red hormone spots are normal, but if they develop white heads on them or scabs then you will need to see your GP. You quite often find that the culprit is staphylococcus aureus and may need to be treated with antibiotics.
The hormone spots will go away all by themselves so do not worry. Keep your babies finger nails short so that they do not scratch themselves.
Keep your babies skin hydrated with olive oil and stay away from the products with chemicals. If you are concerned about your babies skin, whether it be an infection or the start of eczema then make sure you see a specialist.
For more informative pregnancy, birth and baby articles, read our Maternity blog