Father holding baby

What You Should Know

At birth and into the early weeks, baby’s skin continues to adjust from being in the protective environment of the womb to the drier, harsher conditions of the outside world. As such, baby skin is thin, dry & sensitive, its protective barrier is vulnerable, and can be prone to common baby skin conditions like dry skin, baby rashes, and baby acne.1 Knowing what to expect, and why these changes occur can help you care for your baby’s skin during your first week at home together.

Baby Skin Care Tips

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying baby’s first wash until at least a full 24 hours after birth.2
  • Give your baby sponge baths until their umbilical cord stump falls off.3
  • Less is more when bathing your baby. During the first year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends at most, three baths a week to avoid drying out their delicate skin.5
  • To help prevent diaper rash, expose baby’s bottom to fresh air whenever you can.4

Baby Skin Rashes

Baby rashes are extremely common. About 50% of babies develop a red blotchy rash with small white bumps on their face or torso by day two or three. Meanwhile, 40% of babies are born with milia, which appears as a smattering of small, flat, yellow or white spots on baby’s nose, cheeks, and chin.10 Both baby rashes typically disappear by week three without treatment.11


Spit-up rash may also occur during baby’s first week. This may irritate baby’s mouth and chin, especially after prolonged exposure while sleeping. To help, wipe away spit-up with cool water.12


Diaper rash is also common in those first days. To help ease the pain and prevent future rashes, change baby’s diaper as soon as it’s wet or dirty. If baby’s bottom is very irritated, you may want to forgo wipes, and wash with water and a gentle cleanser instead, then apply a cream or ointment.


Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin

In the womb, babies have a coating on their skin called the vernix caseosa. It is made of water, protein, and lipids (such as Ceramides) that help skin seal in moisture and keep impurities out. This coating is designed to help protect baby’s skin barrier as it develops.6 When baby loses this coating after birth, it’s common to see dryness and peeling as a result.7 Babies do have thin, delicate skin that loses moisture easily, which may result in noticeable dryness and even cracking, particularly around the ankles and hands.8 Regular moisturizing of baby’s skin with a small amount of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion may help.9


While the first week at home with your baby may feel both thrilling and overwhelming in many ways, understanding some skincare basics can help so you can enjoy every day with baby.

Skincare 101: Our Tips to Care for Your Baby’s Skin in the First 7 Days

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