Baby tips passed down from your parents and grandparents are sweet gestures intended to make your job as a new parent easier. But the old-school advice might be dangerously out of date. Let’s look at some of the newborn skincare myths that keep making the rounds and set the story straight.
You’re told: You need to bathe baby every day
Fact: Most pediatricians recommend bathing baby just 2-3 times a week and keeping bath times short. Wash the face and neck, hands, and bottom, then quickly wash hair and do a clean-water rinse. Longer baths and adult soaps increase the risk of irritation because they strip away the natural oils of the skin.
You’re told: Only use water for baths
Fact: Water alone cannot take wash away germs and dirt. Use PH-balanced baby wash and baby shampoo. A washcloth is useful for cleansing wriggling limbs.
You’re told: Remove cradle cap flakes by hand
Fact: It’s tempting to pick at these unsightly patches but using your fingers or a comb can break delicate skin and introduce bacteria. Let the flakes fall off on their own or use oil and a specially-designed soft brush during bath time like the Bean-B-Clean cradle cap brush.
You’re told: Babies skin is naturally moisturized
Fact: While baby’s skin feels soft and smooth, it is producing some oil. Just like adult skin, air, temperature, harsh soap and products, and the environment can all dry baby skin. You can gently massage baby with a few drops of baby oil or a mild lotion.
You’re told: Bathe baby in milk
Fact: Milk baths can cause allergies, irritation, and attract insects and pets. Milk baths run the risk of harming skin when not rinsed properly. If you feel your baby needs moisturizer, a small amount of mild baby lotion should do the trick.
You’re told: Use powder for diaper rash
Fact: Powder might keep your baby dry, but it promotes bacterial growth and is harmful if inhaled. A much safer choice is diaper cream with zinc.
You’re told: Always keep baby bundled up
Fact: Baby’s body has not learned to properly regulate temperature, so you do need to pay attention to this. Dress baby in layers. A rule of thumb in winter is to consider what you are comfortable wearing and add a layer for baby. Start with a body suit and snug leggings, then layer on a long sleeve shirt and pants. Head outside with baby in a jacket, hat, mittens, and warm booties. Know the signs of heat rash – a rash on the torso or limbs or irritation around the folds of baby’s skin – from being too warm.
Follow the facts when it comes to baby’s skin.