Soft baby skin: looking after your baby
Changing and bathing your baby offer great opportunities for loving physical contact. Changing nappies, bathing, massaging – babies experience tenderness through their skin and store the experiences to create the foundation for a trusting future.
- Change nappies as quickly as possible after wetting or soiling to prevent painful skin irritation and infections. You should also change your baby when he wakes up, before he goes to bed, and after feeding.
- Most babies need around 6 to 8 nappies a day, maybe even 10 in the first few weeks.
- You can use either cloth or disposable nappies. It’s a personal choice. Both types offer advantages and disadvantages.
- You’ll spend a lot of time changing nappies every day, so it’s all the more important to use this time to be close to your baby and to play, cuddle and flirt with him. You and your baby will both enjoy touching, tickling, singing and holding eye contact. You can also hang drawings or a mobile above the changing table.
- Make sure that the changing table is at a comfortable height to protect your back. It’s also important to make sure that the changing table has side guards to prevent your child from falling off, particularly as he gets more mobile. Never leave your baby unsupervised on a changing table!
- Not all babies enjoy water from the word go, but it won’t take long before even the most reluctant of bathers is splashing about.
- You only need to bath your baby once a week and for no longer than 10 minutes at a time, because baby skin dries out faster than that of adults.
- You can use baby oil to protect sensitive skin. Apply it only after your baby has had a bath, because if you apply it before, the oily residue may cause your baby to slip from your hands. However, you should use cream or oil very sparingly and only in case of dry or irritated skin (see “Care products” below).
- Bath fun can start as soon as your child’s belly button has healed, i.e. when it’s dry.
- Fill a baby bath or bucket with lukewarm water (approximately 37 degrees Celsius).
- During bath time, it’s important that you always have a secure grip on your baby and support his head at all times. Use one hand to keep his upper body, neck and head above water and use the other to wash him gently.
- Have a bath towel (preferably one with a hood) ready so you can wrap your baby up quickly after the bath.
- Massages are a great way of relaxing your baby. They reduce stress hormones and activate immune cells. This, in turn, strengthens the body’s own defences.
- Massages also help soothe and ease colic and constipation.
- For a massage to be effective, your child must enjoy it. As with bathing, there are also babies who don’t like massages.
- Don't massage your baby if he’s been vaccinated the same day or the day before, suffering from an infection or other illness.
- Baby skin is very sensitive and quick to display minor, usually harmless red patches that disappear on their own. In the beginning, use only water to wash your baby. Later you can use a mild, non-perfumed, pH neutral moisturising solution without colourings.
- Use care products such as oil, lotion and creams sparingly and only in case of dry or irritated skin, because using too many or the wrong products can cause allergic reactions. Products containing alcohol, urea, emulsifiers, perfume or preservatives and cleansing wipes or neomycin creams (against infection) can be harmful to baby skin. It’s a good idea to use natural products without perfumes and conservatives, for example almond oil, olive oil or jojoba oil. Look for products labelled “hypoallergenic” as these are less likely to trigger skin allergies.
- Bath products should also always contain gentle, moisturising agents and be pH neutral.
- During the first year, do not expose your child to direct sunlight for longer periods. Use creams with the highest possible sun protection factor (SPF) to protect your child’s face. Always use products based on micro-pigments; chemical products are unsuitable for baby skin. In winter, special skin ointments will protect your child’s face against the cold.