Most newborn babies develop dry skin, and it's not always a cause for concern. Here are some ways to provide a little one with some relief.
Everything that happens during the first few months of a newborn baby's life can be pretty scary for a parent, especially if it is their first child. Every time an infant coughs or sneezes most new moms and dads are likely to be terrified that something is seriously wrong. The best advice is to remain calm and think rationally. The bulk of the time nothing will be wrong or it will be something that's easily fixed or treated.
Which leads us on to the topic of this article, dry skin. Dry skin is not rare in newborns, in fact, most will suffer from it at one point or another. As outlined by Medical News Today, while in the womb, babies develop a waxy coat on their skin called vernix caseosa. It's there to protect their skin from the amniotic fluid and when they're born, losing that layer can lead to the baby's skin becoming irritated.
While babies being born prematurely usually find more problems compared to those who go full-term, this is actually not the case when it comes to dry and irritated skin. The earlier a baby is born, the more of the vernix remains, so the less their skin is irritated when they're out of the womb and into the world. But, even preemies can suffer from dry skin, and thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help a newborn baby's sensitive skin feel better.
For starters, try to expose a new baby to cold air as little as possible. Also, while most of us have dehumidifiers at home, parents of babies with dry skin should switch them out for humidifiers instead. Moisture in the air will obviously help with dry skin, as will keeping a baby hydrated. When it comes to bathtime though, limit the time in the tub. Overdoing it can actually dry out a baby's skin. Be sure to use lukewarm water as well, and maybe even consider using an oatmeal bath which can be found in many drug stores.
Using special moisturizers and ensuring that the baby always wears soft, loose-fitting clothes is also essential to fighting dry skin.
The take home message though? At the end of the day, dry skin is usually no cause for concern. Most of the time you can treat and remedy it yourself with the above methods. If it becomes red, cracked, itchy or swollen, however, that's when it's time to seek medical attention.