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It is the first defense barrier of a person, but at first it is too sensitive

The skin of a newborn is very sensitive since, unlike that of adults, that of babies does not yet have sufficient defenses to face external aggression . Defenses that will gain little by little, but that, for the moment, are lower at an anatomical and physiological level and make it rather delicate and, therefore, it needs special care .

The main function of the skin is to become our first barrier to the outside. However, having been sheltered in the uterus, where it is surrounded by fluid, when a baby is born, everything it finds is new and, for the skin, too. " It assists us to save ourselves from injuries, bumps and scratches, but also from infections and helps us to properly regulate our temperature, " says the Federation of Associations of Midwives of Spain (FAME). But, for this, you need some preparation time.

We tell you what you should take into account to take care of it during this process, what products you can use, which ones you should avoid and other basic aspects such as the temperature of the bath water or why at first they do not need to be soaped with a lot of gel.

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What should the baby's first bath be like?

During the first weeks of a newborn's life, the number of baths that you should give is reduced to a maximum of two or three times a week and never more than five minutes . This is a very common query among parents (whether or not to bathe their baby daily) and the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) itself tells us that “it is not necessary to clean all areas of the body every day, since their skin has self-cleaning mechanisms ”.

In addition, while the baby keeps his umbilical cord , it is best to take a bath in parts , which is known as cat washing ; just with a sponge and hot water . However, it is not inadvisable to give a full bath either, but make sure it is quick and drying the entire area of   the umbilical cord very well, preventing it from softening and slowing down the fall.

The Temperature and hotness of the water and the bath

Another of the most frequent doubts of parents when giving the first baths to the baby is the temperature at which the water should be or whether or not we can start using soap at some point. Two questions that must be resolved when preparing the bathroom.

- The temperature of the water: you have to keep in mind that the bath water should be preheated, never with the baby inside and should be about 37 ° C .

- The ambient temperature of the bath: it should be around 20 or 22 ° C.

- Keep all the products you will need at hand, such as the sponge or towels, to prevent the water from getting cold or the baby staying too long in the water.

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Liquid soap should be mild and with a certain pH

We must take into account the delicacy of the baby's skin, which, initially, lacks the bacterial flora that will protect it throughout its life and, in addition, we have the open wound of the umbilical cord. For this reason, not just any bath product can be used . And it is that, as Jonhson's Baby explains to us, “when the baby is born, its skin is up to 30% more final than a mature skin , which makes it much more sensitive and we have to look for a range that contains a balanced pH , which is ultra-light and does not interfere with the development of the newborn's skin microbiome ”(like their new CottonTouchTM range , which incorporates real cotton”.

The pH of a baby's skin is acidic and varies between 4.5 and 6, depending on the areas, so we must avoid alkaline soaps that increase its pH and lead to irritations or infections . Therefore, we must always use neutral and mild or slightly acidic liquid soaps, whose pH varies between 4 or 4.5 and without perfumes . Also, it is better not to foam too much and use a moderate amount. When lathering, always with your hand or a very soft sponge .

Do not abuse antiseptics and take care of the quantity

The AEP itself rejects the abuse of antiseptics added to cleaning products, since their excessive use can produce a change in the normal microbiological ecosystem of the baby's skin and favor the proliferation of other microorganisms . In the case of alcohol, for example, they warn that products that contain it can be harmful when absorbed, causing burns or changes in pH.

In addition, regarding the amount that we apply of any product that we are going to use, the FAME warns us that “due to the fact that the skin is not fully developed in the infant , locally applied substances can penetrate more intensely, so We must administer the products in a dosed manner and with care, without exceeding the quantity ”

Always Well Hydrated Skin

Babies' skin is thinner than adult skin for two reasons: it has fewer protective layers and the cells that make it up are further apart. Therefore, they absorb more water, but they also lose it more quickly, which influences their barrier system and elasticity . Thus, hydrating your skin a few times a day is essential. In addition, it is always better to do it several times a day with little product than to apply a large amount once a day. If you add a gentle massage to its application , you will see how your baby relaxes and you can also alleviate the possible colic of the infant .

In the case of newborns, on the other hand, the FAME tells us that “the skin is dry and can become peeling; If we want to avoid this dryness, we can use moisturizing lotions after bathing ”.

Can I put perfume on my baby?

The colognes, fragrances and perfumes, despite being very attractive to our smell, in addition to giving a feeling of cleanliness and freshness, it is better that they are not part of the baby's hygiene routine. If we want to take care of your skin correctly, do not overdo it and never apply it to your skin directly. You can use a few drops of alcohol-free cologne, spraying them on your clothes .

Babies are clean and neat with their daily bath, it is the hygiene habit they need. The colonies, in general, are not very delicate and can cause irritation . If you still want to use a small amount as directed, look for one that is alcohol-free and hypoallergenic. To do this, read the label, which has few ingredients and does not contain any of the aromas considered allergenic by the Scientific Committee of the European Community.

Extra care in the diaper area

The diaper area requires special attention, to avoid the appearance of possible dermatitis. It is a part of the body that is not exposed to air and, as a result, NIVEA experts tell us, " redness, irritation and even rashes can appear ." Changing the diaper frequently can aerate the area and avoid these problems, but we must also take care of and protect this area with an effective but gentle cleaning.

For example, they tell us from NIVEA, "we can apply a cloth soaked in warm water or specific cleaning wipes for the baby to help us regenerate the area." We will always prioritize cloth and warm water . In addition, we can use other types of products created for the care of the diaper area that prevent inflammation and rashes. Now, don't forget: neutral pH, compatibility with your baby's skin type and a gentle formula .

Protect from the sun in summer

Now that we are in summer, we cannot forget to protect our babies from the sun. You have to know that the skin of babies has very few melanocytes, which are those that fulfill the function of protecting them from the effects it has. Therefore, the general recommendation is to avoid exposing children before six months . Therefore, babies should not be given sunscreen before this age.

After six months, they can already be applied the specific sun cream or emulsion with a protection factor never lower than FP50 + and avoid exposing your baby to the most intense hours of sun. Neutrogena, for example, has a range with protection factor FP + 70, suitable for dry and wet skin.

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