Handle with care: Looking after your baby’s sensitive skin

Here’s our cheat sheet on how to care for your baby’s delicate skin.

There’s nothing you like more than cuddling your baby’s super soft skin. So it’s a good thing your baby’s skin is so sensitive that your touch is soothing, nurturing and vital to their development. The downside though, is that your baby is also prone to rashes and other skin irritations. But don’t worry, with our tips, you can protect your baby from these skin problems.

Go easy on baths

In your baby’s first month, especially before their umbilical cord drops off, a daily sponge bath is more than enough to keep your baby clean. When you start bathing your baby, 3–5 minutes in the tub is more than enough. Any longer and your baby’s skin will dry out, so don’t let your baby soak or play too long in soapy water.

Choose baby safe products

Look for gentle soaps and lotions that don’t have any dyes, fragrances, parabens, deodorants, alcohol and other ingredients that could be harmful to your baby’s skin. Tear-free formulas are less likely to irritate your baby’s eyes. These gentle soaps won’t provide as much lather as an adult soap, so don’t add more soap to try and create more suds. A tiny amount is more than enough to clean your little one.

It’s never too early to moisturise

Your baby’s skin can dry out so remember to keep it moisturised. Use baby safe, non-toxic emollient cream or ointment immediately after a bath. Spread the cream on while your baby is still wet, then pat dry gently. In our humid climate, moisturising once a day should be enough for your baby but go ahead and moisturise more often if you think your baby needs it.

Indulge your baby with massages

Cuddles and kisses aren’t just about showing your baby affection, they’re actually necessary for survival. Your touch triggers hormones, boosts immunity and helps fight disease. Babies who are massaged are also calmer, sleep better and cry less. So take the time to shower your baby with gentle caresses.

Stay out of the sun

It’s good for both of you to get out and get some fresh air but keep your baby out of direct sunlight for the first 6 months. Apply sunscreen to the areas that aren’t covered by clothes, like your baby’s face, hands and feet, and use a hat or your stroller’s sun shade to block out the sun.

Be particular about laundry

Always wash new clothes before you dress your baby in them. You don’t have to use a special laundry detergent for your baby’s clothes but you might want to consider switching to one that’s free from perfumes and dyes for the whole family. An irritant on your clothes or the bedding could give your baby a rash. You should also skip the fabric softener for your baby’s laundry.

Protect your baby from bites

Dengue fever is always a concern but even harmless mosquito bites can cause your baby discomfort. Keep the bugs away by using a gentle, baby safe mosquito repellent. Stick to natural, made-for-babies products for your newborn. You can use a DEET-based mosquito repellent on babies older than 2 months, as long as the DEET concentration is not more than 30%.

Even if you follow all these tips, your baby might still get the occasional rash. This is normal and as long as the rash disappears after a few days, you shouldn’t have to worry. Do look out for signs of infection, such as cracked skin, bleeding and pus, and speak to your doctor immediately if your baby experiences any of them.

Another common skin problem for babies is diaper rash.