Post-bath care is as important as the pre-bath massage and the actual bath itself. Your baby’s skin in later years, will depend on the care you give it now. Besides, post-bath care gives you the chance to pamper your little one and spend a little more one-on-one time with him/her.
Once your baby is bathed, wrap him/her in a towel and bring out of the tub into a drier part of the bathroom or bedroom. Use a soft towel to pat dry; do not rub. Dermatologists say rubbing can chafe the tender baby skin and rob it of its moisture. Now lay the baby on a blanket/changing pad for dressing.
CARING FOR UMBILICAL CORD
Until the umbilical cord stump falls off and the skin around the area heals, it’s important to keep it dry as wetness may cause infection.
After the bath, dab it dry with a wash cloth/ cotton wool, and clean by rubbing alcohol or an antiseptic powder over it. When dressing the baby, fasten the diaper below the navel so that there’s no fear of it getting wet even if the diaper leaks.
“Dry skin is an increasingly common problem among Indian children,” says Dr. Chhabra; keeping the skin moisturized is extremely important. If ignored, it tends to get itchy. When the baby scratches, the skin can crack or get in?amed and lead to infections. So, immediately after the bath while the body is still damp, slather on generous amounts of cream/lotion and gently rub it into the baby’s skin using the massaging strokes described earlier.
WHICH CREAM/LOTION TO APPLY?
For a normal, healthy skin, a light lotion will be enough. However, if the skin is excessively dry, use a thicker cream. Creams/lotions containing almond and olive oils will help soothe the skin and keep it supple. Medicated moisturizers can also be used after consulting a pediatrician.
There’s little need to brush your baby’s hair as it will rarely stay the way you intend it to. Besides, most children lose hair in the ?rst few months and combing it may only give you unnecessary worry. But Dr. Chhabra clari?es that if parents enjoy brushing their baby’s hair, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t do it. Just ensure you use a soft baby brush and comb the hair away from the eyes.
Lay out the baby’s clothes before the bath. Doctors across the world advise cotton fabric over synthetics. “Cotton has pores, which lets the air in and allows the skin to breathe. It also absorbs sweat and thus keeps the baby’s skin cool,” says Dr. Wadhwa. So as a rule, and especially if your baby’s prone to allergies, the ?rst layer of clothing should always be made of cotton. Even during cold climates, slip on a full-sleeved cotton vest before layering the baby with woolens.
THE PULL-ON TRICK
Pulling on that tee will be easy if you know that baby-heads are shaped like eggs, not donuts; you need to stretch the neck opening length-wise rather than widen it. Gather up the tee to form a loop. Slip the loop over the back of your baby’s head ?rst, and then down the front, gently clearing his/her forehead and nose. Now scrunch up the sleeves and slip in the arms one at a time. To take off, ? ex the arms and slip them out of the sleeves. Now loop the front of the sweater and slip it over the baby’s nose and forehead. Once the face and forehead are clear, raise the baby’s head and pull the tee toward the back of the head