How to Care for Your Baby’s Skin
A baby’s skin needs extra special care. Weleda, experts with nearly 100 years of experience in natural and organic skincare, explain what we need to know to take care of our baby’s skin
8 min read
Choosing the right skincare products specially formulated for the young, delicate skin of babies is essential, as they are not just mini-adults, they have specific needs and are dependent on you to provide the right care. Truly natural products that are free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colourants, mineral oils, GMOs and so forth, is our recommendation.
Caring for your precious baby’s skin, naturally
Congratulations on bringing into this world a special little human, what an exciting time for you. Caring for your new baby is both rewarding and daunting, isn’t it? Nothing is more precious than your child and you rightly want the very best care and protection for them.
Creating new life is an experience that gives us a feeling of an intense connection with nature. In this unique time, nature gifts us the strongest feeling we are capable of, the unconditional love between a parent and child. This is the intuition that allows mum and dad to know they are doing the right thing. Weleda also believes that nature provides everything parents need to protect and care for their children
The special character of babies’ skin
Babies’ skin is five times thinner than adults’, meaning that it absorbs externally applied substances more quickly and reacts more sensitively. In fact, your baby’s skin is still developing after birth, with the stratum corneum gradually offering increasing protection from external influences as your baby ages. The acid mantle and barrier function must also develop. And because the sweat glands are not yet fully formed, the little body struggles to regulate its heat balance independently.
Babies need a warming, protective covering after birth. And not only with natural, breathable materials used to cover and clothe the baby’s skin, but also particularly natural, gentle care products and loving skin-to-skin contact, an important contribution to helping your baby’s development.
Our little one learns a lot about the world through the skin. With each touch, a baby finds a new point of reference in this new life.
The care a baby’s skin needs
In the first few months, it is important not to overdo the products used on your baby’s skin. Much can be avoided, for example, your baby does not need bubbles in their baths. One bath a week is sufficient in the first few months, and on other days you can wash your baby with a damp soft flannel. After washing or bathing, you can help protect your baby’s skin and provide it with moisture, by applying a body lotion, especially formulated for babies.
As a newborn generally only has protective vernix left in a few wrinkles, and this is quickly absorbed, a high-quality plant oil-based skincare product will support the healthy development of the skin. Careful application of a natural oil each day can contribute to a well-formed skin barrier. The heat balance is also supported by gently massaging in the warming oil.
When to start bathing your newborn
It’s good that in many places, babies are no longer bathed immediately after being born. Gently removing blood and fluids is sufficient. And it is important not to remove the vernix, the special cheese-like white substance, from the skin. When a baby comes into the world, loving skin-to-skin contact is vital. In the first hours, a strong bond develops between parents and children. The baby should be warmed and allowed to arrive in a calm atmosphere.
A good time for the first bath is when the rest of the umbilical cord falls off. Before that, it’s really enough to wash your baby daily with a damp flannel and some oil in any wrinkles, on the nappy area, hands and face. After the first week, parents also become more confident in handling their newborn, so the first bath can be carried out in more relaxed conditions.
You can add a baby bath product to the water, especially one containing sweet almond and sesame oils due to their warming qualities, which helps keep baby’s skin smooth, supple and protecting it from moisture loss. A bath product that also contains calendula extract also helps soothe the skin.
How to care for a baby with dry skin
The epidermis, which was covered with the vernix in the womb, usually flakes off in the first 14 days after birth. This flaking is most commonly seen on the chest and tummy. To care for this, we recommend skincare with high-quality natural plant oils. If your baby shows signs of itchiness, a Calendula Bath, with calendula and thyme extracts and sea salt can alleviate the discomfort. Then oil the skin, as it can now absorb the oil particularly well.
Care for highly sensitive skin
Where there is no family history of neurodermatitis or other atopic diseases, we recommend parents use a high-quality natural care product for healthy babies’ skin. Because of the increased permeability of the skin that is not yet fully developed, we recommend products with no chemical additives or mineral oils.
Where there is no increased risk or signs of very sensitive skin, the newborn can benefit from the warming properties of baby care products for normal skin, which also encourages skin development, more than a range that is specially designed for very sensitive skin.
If your baby has highly sensitive skin and is prone to atopic dermatitis or eczema, we recommend you look for natural skin care products designed for hypersensitive and dry skin, that are fragrance-free. Products containing white mallow are ideal, as they help rebalance the skin’s natural barrier and stimulate its regenerative powers.
Our tips for caring for hypersensitive skin
Wash or bathe your baby in warm water (37 degrees) and add a fragrance-free natural baby oil to the water. If your baby’s skin is itchy, they should have trimmed fingernails and wear cotton mittens at night. Clothing made of organic cotton, silk or linen is most comfortable on the skin. Remove all laundry tags, as these can cause irritation.
Use fragrance-free, natural skin care products, especially formulated for hypersensitive, dry baby skin.
Regularly go outside with your baby for fresh air and several times a day, air the rooms where your baby spends time.
The special care that the nappy area needs
The area covered by nappies is the most sensitive part of the body. The warm, damp environment is a challenge for the developing skin and can encourage the growth of bacteria.
As the skin in the nappy area comes into repeated contact with baby wee and poop and is warm and damp, it can quickly become irritated or inflamed. At each nappy change, it’s good for the skin to be cleaned with warm water, a soft cloth and then cared for with a few drops of a baby oil, made from pure natural plant oils then carefully drying the skin by gently patting. Allow the area to come into contact with the air, by letting the baby wriggle around naked for a while. Then apply a natural barrier cream, especially developed for the nappy area, to protect and prevent soreness.
How to ease redness and rashes on your baby’s bottom
Throughout the time your baby wears nappies, little spots and pustules, and slight or severe redness can appear on their bottom, and can often cause pain. When this is the case, children often dislike having their nappy changed, but cleaning the area is very important. Using soft cloths, for example, cut up muslins, can make the cleaning more comfortable for the baby. In this case, we also recommend cleaning the skin first with lukewarm water then with natural plant-based oil. The oil leaves a soft film on the skin, making the next nappy change a little more comfortable for the baby and caring for the skin.
While the irritation continues, change your baby’s nappy at least every two hours and several times in the night. After cleaning your baby’s bottom, you can also apply a cream with natural oils and zinc oxide once or twice per day.
If the soreness lasts more than two days or you are unsure, ask your midwife or healthcare professional for advice. It can be more common in the first weeks and months, but don’t hesitate to ask for advice and help.
Check the ingredients of products you use for you baby
Because babies’ skin is special, care products need to be specially adapted to their needs. Few, but nevertheless high-quality natural ingredients are perfect: the composition of natural plant oils resembles the composition of the skin’s hydrolipid layer. Weleda baby skincare products therefore blend into the natural protective film on the skin and thanks to the natural ingredients, no sealing coat is created. This means the delicate skin can breathe and develop, while being protected.
As ingredient listings can be challenging to understand, and many products try to look natural when sadly they are not, we recommend you look for products that are certified natural or organic. That way you can truly trust, with peace of mind, the products are guaranteed natural.