With newborn skincare, the adage is "less is more." Once-a-week sponge baths are best for newborns with the cord still attached. Resist the urge to bathe your baby frequently. Too-frequent bathing – more than three times per week during the first year of life – removes the natural oils that protect the baby's skin. That may leave the baby's skin vulnerable and dry. It may also aggravate eczema.
When you are done doing a sponge bath or a real bath, gently pat baby dry so they are slightly moist, do not rub with a towel. Apply moisturizer immediately to lock in the moisture. Apply moisturizers as often as necessary. It’s okay to put thick layers on the baby.
In general, ointments tend to have the greatest moisturizing effect, followed by creams and then lotions. Moisturizer should be applied to the whole body at least once a day, even if you are not doing a bath on that day.
To prevent redness, chaffing, and peeling, clean all of the baby’s nooks twice a day. You may wish to use water or a gentle cleanser to rinse out any milk or food remnants. Continuously wipe the baby’s mouth and make sure he wears a bib during mealtime. Clean baby’s bottom every time you change diapers.
Don't use scented baby products in the early months. This can irritate your baby's delicate skin. Also, stay away from baby powder. Experts say to avoid using it as babies could inhale the powder into their lungs. If you have to use powder, shake the powder into your hands far away from the baby, clap your hands together to remove excess powder, and apply a thin layer to your baby’s skin.
Avoid ingredients that are known to cause irritation, including parabens, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate, and triclosan. Undiluted essential oils should also be avoided, especially in children under 6 months of age, as they have not been deemed safe for babies and some, like lavender oil, have been flagged as potential hormone disruptors in young males.
Wash baby's clothing before it's worn. Use only baby laundry detergents that are fragrance- and dye-free. Wash baby clothes, bedding, and blankets separately from the family's laundry or use the same detergent for the entire family.
Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under six months old because sunscreens haven’t been tested for this age group. But if the baby is going to be exposed, experts believe it is better to use it than not. The best protection is to not let the sun directly hit the baby’s skin. Once baby hits the six-month mark, look for a sunscreen with inorganic filters (e.g. zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), because they won’t irritate baby’s skin and eyes.
While many rashes in babies are normal and benign, it is always a good idea to discuss any skin changes with your pediatrician. Especially if there are any signs of infection, such as pustules (like a blister or pimple with pus), fever, raw or very red areas.
Recommended: Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion, and CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo. Cetaphil also has good baby skincare products.