A guest blog from antenatal teacher Lucy Gulland, who advises new parents to keep it simple!
A dramatic question, and one that many anxious first-time parents might be asking themselves - as if they needed anything else to worry or feel guilty about!
The simple answer? You’re very unlikely to be poisoning your baby with anything that has passed the proper legal tests for inclusion in a baby product, chemical or natural.
But it’s certainly true that babies are more likely to react to irritating substances, even in the permitted low concentrations of toiletries: a fragrance in a shampoo that might be fine for the general population may well not be tolerated by a tiny baby, let alone the 1 in 5 children who have eczema.
The list of things parents are advised to avoid in baby toiletries is ever-growing and can be utterly confusing if you’re just trying to do the right thing.
In fact, the list of things parents are advised to avoid in baby toiletries is ever-growing and can be utterly confusing if you’re just trying to do the right thing. Ask on any parenting forum and you’ll get told that mineral oil, parabens, perfumes, triclosan, propylene glycol, phthalates, colourants, SLS, harsh preservatives, even that old favourite, talcum powder, are all firmly on the NO list for the delicate skin of tiny babies. And those things are EVERYWHERE!
So how to navigate these confusing waters? My advice to new parents is that babies need very little in terms of skincare. Stick to a couple of basic all-natural essentials and you can save yourself no end of panic over ingredient lists!
Guidelines For Baby Skincare
Downsize Your Toiletries
For the first year at least, babies’ skin can be kept clean, protected and moisturised with just warm water, a pure baby oil and a natural ointment. Once they start walking, you may want to add a natural hair and body wash.
No Bubbles In Baby Baths
Babies don’t need bubbles in their bath, as they’re likely to cause skin irritation: just warm water and nothing else is fine.
If your baby is prone to dry skin then use natural baby oil afterwards to lock in the moisture. Baby hair is pretty much self-cleaning and only needs washing with water until they start getting sticky stuff in it; then you can use a gentle SLS-free hair and body wash.
Soap can be damaging to baby skin, but you can clean effectively with oil and cotton wool, whether it’s topping and tailing (under the chin, under arms, in folds and around the face) or nappy changes. Use water-only baby wipes when out and about.
Use a good natural barrier balm only if it’s needed, ie if your baby shows signs of nappy rash or as protective barrier against dribble rash, teething rash or on patches of dry skin.
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.