Supporting Healthy Skin Development
Interview with Christina Hinderlich
Babies’ delicate skin has special requirements and needs a warming, protective layer, rich moisture and loving, careful skin-to-skin contact. Parents are often unsure how to bath their baby for the first time or look after her skin properly.
Christina Hinderlich, our midwife, provides some answers to the most important questions about caring for babies’ skin.
What care does a newborn’s skin need right after birth?
CHRISTINA HINDERLICH: I like to answer this question with the phrase “quality over quantity”. A high quality, natural plant oil and a nappy cream are a great starter kit. I’ve had good experiences with calendula. Calendula can absorb lots of sunlight and warmth, and contribute to skin development thanks to their strong structural force. It has a soothing effect on the skin. Organic sesame oil is also a gentle skincare possibility for little ones. It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help the formation of the hydrolipid layer.
"A high quality plant oil can support the healthy development of the skin."
When should I start bathing my newborn?
CH: It’s good that in many places, babies are no longer bathed straight after being born. Gently removing blood and fluids is sufficient. And it is important not to remove the vernix, the special cheese-like white substance, from the skin. When a baby comes into the world, loving skin-to-skin contact is vital. In the first hours, a strong bond develops between parents and children. The baby should be warmed and allowed to arrive in a calm atmosphere.
A good time for the first bath is when the rest of the umbilical cord falls off. Before that it’s really enough to wash your baby daily with a damp flannel and some oil in any wrinkles, on the nappy area, hands and face. After the first week, the parents also become more confident in handling their newborn, so the first bath can be carried out in more relaxed conditions.
The Calendula Bath is a tried and tested bath product. It contains calendula and thyme extracts and sloe juice. The salt in the bath product is good for babies’ sensitive skin and thyme has wonderful warming qualities. Overall, this is the perfect bath for children of any age. It is warming, which helps the child to relax.
How often should a baby be bathed?
CH: Babies do not need to be bathed every day - once or twice a week is enough. If the family is very uneasy or stressed with the new daily routine, it is also sufficient to wash the baby thoroughly.
Should oil be used on newborns?
CH: As the newborn generally only has protective vernix left in a few wrinkles, and this is quickly absorbed, a high quality plant oil can support the healthy development of the skin. Careful application of a natural oil each day can contribute to a well-formed skin barrier. The heat balance is also supported by gently massaging in the warming oil.
"Babies do not need to be bathed every day - once or twice a week is enough."
What care do babies need for dry skin on their trunk?
CH: The epidermis, which was covered with the vernix in the womb, usually flakes off in the first 14 days after birth. This flaking is most commonly seen on the trunk, i.e. chest and tummy. To care for this, I recommend skin care with a high quality plant oil. If your baby shows signs of itchiness, a Calendula Bath, with calendula and thyme extracts and sea salt can alleviate the discomfort. Then oil the skin, as it can now absorb the oil particularly well.
Normal baby care products or care for highly sensitive skin?
CH: Where there is no family history of neurodermatitis or other atopic diseases, I recommend parents use a high quality care product for healthy babies’ skin. Because of the increased permeability of the skin that is not yet fully developed, we recommend products with no chemical additives or mineral oils.
Where there is no increased risk or signs of very sensitive skin, the newborn can benefit from the warming properties of usual baby care products, which also encourage skin development, more than a range that is specially designed for very sensitive skin. However, the Baby Derma White Mallow range is designed for the needs of highly sensitive skin and completes Weleda’s product offering.