Caring for baby's sensitive skin

May 21, 2010 at 6:41 p.m. ET

Those first few days when you care for your newborn, you will want to stay away from any creams and soaps that might cause irritation to the skin. When my daughter was first born, we cleaned her with cotton balls and warm water. And as she grew, we found that she was one of those babies who was sensitive to anything that remotely had a fragrance that might react negatively with her skin. In fact, we even relied upon hypo-allergenic wipes when it came time to cleaning her bottom because if we used anything else, it would turn beet red. Ouch!

Mom giving baby bath

So what can you do to care for a baby with sensitive skin?

Here are some tried and true tips:

  • During the first month, use cotton balls and lukewarm water while changing a diaper
  • During the first few weeks, give the baby a sponge bath every few days – you do not need to bathe her every day – in fact, if you do, that might irritate the skin even more.
  • In the early months, avoid using creams, wipes or soaps that contain fragrances
  • Wash any new or used clothing, bedding and blankets in a detergent designed specifically for sensitive skin
  • If you take your baby for a swim, make sure you rinse her off with water immediately afterwards to wash off the chlorine
  • Always have powder and petroleum jelly on hand in your nursery – these are must-have items that usually won't irritate sensitive skin.

If your infant suffers from severe dry skin, you will want to consult your pediatrician who may advise that you use a topical crème like hydrocortisone to moisturize the area. And if your newborn develops any sort of rash you should contact your doctor immediately to diagnose the condition.

For more information on common rashes and skin conditions in newborns, visit Healthy

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