New parents are always worried about doing the right thing, but in some cases, less is more. Soft, clean newborns can be intoxicating, but almost all babies will go through a period of rashes and discomfort. The good news is that most skin problems in babies are minor issues. If your infant is currently suffering through skin troubles, avoid these common mistakes that will only make it worse.
1. Bathing Too Often
When you first bring your baby home, your instincts may tell you to keep them clean with daily baths. But while slightly older humans need regular bathing, it can do more harm than good when it comes to infants. Your baby's skin is sensitive and can have a hard time replenishing its natural oils. As a result, too many baths can leave your baby's skin dry and flaky. Instead, give your baby a bath every few days or as needed.
2. Washing With Standard Soaps
In the same way that daily baths can be too much for an infant's skin to handle, regular soaps and shampoos are too harsh for most babies. Only use formulas specifically designed for infants. These products are as mild as possible, ensuring that your baby stays clean without putting too much stress on the system.
3. Keeping Your Baby Too Damp or Dry
Keeping a baby happy is a constant balancing act, and so is their skin care. You don't want any residual wetness from diapers or sweat, which can collect in folds and irritate the skin. At the same time, overly dry skin can flake and itch. Over time, you will learn to recognize what your baby needs. Until then, focus on keeping the diaper area dry and applying soothing lotions to any dry patches that appear.
4. Not Accounting for the Weather
Taking baby outside to see the world can be enriching and fun, but it presents challenges for newborns. Infants under six months of age should not use sunscreen, according to FDA guidelines. This means your baby will need to stay in the shade or under a protective covering to avoid painful sunburns.
Winter provides similar challenges. Cold, cloudy days are often accompanied by icy winds. The cold air flow can strip the skin of oils — leaving your baby's face exposed to the elements. Whenever you take your baby outside during the first few months, make sure your baby has adequate shelter from the weather and is kept out of direct sun or wind. Doing so will help your baby stay happy and comfortable as they explore the world.
5. Ignoring Painful or Itchy Rashes
Rashes are a normal part of infancy, and every parent will need to deal with one eventually. Some rashes, like heat rashes, will go away on their own given time. However, others can be symptoms of a problem that needs professional attention. Eczema is a common condition in children that can be managed if not cured. More serious viral infections may also appear as rashes accompanied by fever.
Whenever your infant has a fever or experiences an uncomfortable rash for more than a few days, you should visit an experienced dermatologist or pediatrician for answers. A pediatrician may be necessary to rule out and treat viral infections. Less urgent conditions like eczema or dry skin can be managed with the help of your local dermatologist.
Our experts at Calais Dermatology Associates understand that new parenthood can be both an anxious and a joyous time. When your baby is uncomfortable and crying, your first priority is to find some relief. Schedule an appointment with us today to track down the source of your baby's irritation and begin treating it.