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caring for baby's skin

Natural Skincare

Rebecca McLeod


Natural skincare is a great option for a babies skin. The concept of a baby coming out into the world from their protected bubble and being smothered in highly perfumed and chemically derived ingredients is something more parents are turning away from.

That “Sweet Baby Smell”

When deciding what products to use on your baby it is worth considering:
• Do I want to use natural products;
• Do I want a fragrance or fragrance free range.

If you do decide to use natural products, try and get a great recommendation from a friends, or take a look at the websites of natural products.  Quintessence Health has a whole range of natural products for pregnancy and babies, so they are a good starting point.

Fragrance Free products are a fantastic first option, little noses are smelling the world (and you!) for the first time, there is no need to overwhelm them with fragrance…and you want to bond with your baby’s actual scent, not the smell of the product you are using. Just think whether you want to smell your babies actual smell (divine) or their washing product (once they get a bit older you may well want to mask their smelliness!)

Once the baby grows a bit bigger, and if no skin issues have arisen, then a fragrance can be introduced. Be sure to choose a range that uses high quality essential oils, lavander isn’t the only option these days, and there are some modern fragrances around with some great qualities for soothing and settling babies. Be wary of the of the products in the supermarket that say things like “natural fragrance” – these usually are not using essential oils, but synthetic ingredients trying to smell like the real thing (i.e. synthetic lavender).

Newborns

A great first product for a new mother is a really good sweet almond oil or blend of oils (free of essential oils) and barrier cream.

Oil can be used in many ways;
• you can pop a little bit in the bath water (not too much as you don’t want baby to be to slippery for getting out);
• can be used on scalp on areas of cradle cap to help soften and loosen crusty patches
• Massage – my favorite top tip for mothers, just get in there and do a massage, it is fantastic for bonding and helping you relax (and for 2nd and 3rd babies, make a cosy spot on bathroom floor while toddlers are in bath, might not be quite the experience a first born has for massage but definitely worth the effort). See how to massage a baby on You Tube here.

Barrier Crèmes are great for dealing with nappy rash, preferably a petroleum-free, which will soak in rather than just sitting on the top. If you can get one comes in a tube, it avoids the concept of “double dipping” while using during a nappy change. Watch out if you are using cloth nappies, as it is recommended to pop in a liner when using the zinc and castor oil based versions, as repeated uses can affect the absorbency.

While wipes are convenient, they seem to promote and irritate nappy rash, so at least when you are at home, just use a soft cloth with a bit of water.


Bathing

Once the time is right for you, introduce a gentle natural wash and lotion. By using these products skin will not be dried out by harsh detergents, and can prevent skin conditions while can be exasperated by dry skin.

If you don’t have time for a massage (or not in the right frame of mind), then you can apply a nourishing moisturiser after the bath. A gentle lotion can also be used for face and to keep dry skin at bay.


Problem Skin


Infant ache
Unfortunately usually appears just at the point when you feel ready to face the world with your beautiful baby. This is just the retention of some hormones after the birth, it should disappear owns its own after a few weeks. Resist the temptation to touch!

Cradle Cap
A scaly substance usually on the head or eyebrows. Massage with a small amount of sweet almond oil or an natural oil blend, leave on for up to 15 min and then gently brush or comb out, and then wash to ensure all oil removed. Washing hair regularly can also assist.

Eczema
A challenge for any parent and child. Can start as infantile eczema around 4 months, includes a red rash and itchiness. It is worth trying natural fragrance free products to see if they can assist (particularly once under control) but parents should see a doctor to discuss options.

Soft as a Babies Bottom
Just remember, when taking care of your baby’s skin, they only have one skin to last a lifetime – so give them the best care you can and it will teach them good habits for teenage years and sun care in the future.


About the author
Rebecca worked in Paris at the OECD writing reports on the impact of chemicals on the skin.  The birth of her first son inspired her to create Made4Baby, a range of natural, easy to use products that are made in New Zealand and free from harsh ingredients.
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