Since a newborn’s skin is rather sensitive, it’s not uncommon for newborn babies to develop rashes or allergic skin reactions.
The good news is that with proper skin care these conditions can be treated, prevented and minimized.
Caring for your little one’s skin isn’t a complicated process, but it does require some diligence on your part.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you offer your infant the right kind of skin care during that first critical month or two:
Wash your newborn’s clothes before having your infant wear them, and make sure to use fragrant-free and dye-free detergents when doing so to avoid exposing your baby’s skin to irritant chemicals. Wash your baby’s clothes and blankets separately from your family’s laundry, and rinse them more thoroughly than you would normal washing.
Avoid bathing your newborn too often, as doing so can remove the natural oils that protect the baby’s skin and expose it to potential allergens that can cause rashes or skin problems such as eczema. Giving your newborn a sponge bath 2-3 times a week during the first month should be sufficient to keep it clean. You can wipe your baby’s mouth and diaper area clean with water or a gentle cleanser during regular days. For newborns with darker skin tones, sponge bathing once a week is recommended as their skin type tends to be drier and more vulnerable to skin problems such as eczema. You should also make sure to dry your baby’s skin properly after baths to avoid the development of diaper rashes.
During the first few months after your baby’s birth, it’s best to avoid using baby products that might contain skin irritating allergens, particularly if you have a family history of asthma, skin problems, or allergies. Other things that you should keep away from coming into contact with your newborn’s skin include chemicals, detergents, perfumes, and clothe dyes, as exposing your child’s skin to such chemicals can put it at greater risk of developing skin allergies later on.
Make sure to change your baby’s diaper as soon as it is soiled to avoid the development of diaper rash. To treat and prevent diaper rash, check your baby’s diapers frequently and change them promptly when wet or soiled; wipe the diaper area thoroughly with water or a mild fragrance-free cleanser, or squirt water onto the diaper area and pat dry if the irritation is severe; let the diaper area air and fully dry before putting on a fresh diaper; and avoid using baby powder until your baby’s rash is gone, since powders promote the development of yeast growths.
Giving your newborn a massage on a regular basis not only helps you and your baby bond and grow closer, it also helps boost your newborn’s immunity and triggers the production of certain hormones that help the baby fight off diseases according to recent research. In addition, studies show that infants who are massaged regularly tend to be calmer, cry less and sleep better. To massage your baby, simply place your little one on a soft blanket or mattress, pour a small amount of baby oil onto your hand and warm it, then gently massage your baby’s chest and stomach. If your baby fusses during the massage, it might not be ready for it yet or the massage might be too forceful. Use a gentler touch or postpone the massage for another time when your child is more receptive.
The good thing about most newborn infant rashes is that they tend to be harmless and usually clear up on their own without medical treatment. However, it’s important that you talk to your pediatrician if your baby develops fluid-filled blisters, which can indicate the presence of a bacterial infection or herpes. You should also have your baby checked if small red or purplish spots appear on your baby’s body, which might be caused by a viral or a possibly dangerous bacterial infection. If your baby develops a diaper rash that doesn’t clear up within three days, talk to your doctor.