Because of how soft and supple baby's skin is, we tend to worry about what can mar that skin somehow (rashes come to mind). So our skin care becomes a lot about prevention, which isn't bad. But there are times when the best preventive skin care is to just give the most basic care, no need to go overboard on products, especially when it comes to newborn skin.
That's what we learned at the Smart Parenting Baby Shower held at Makati Diamond Residences. Our event co-partner, Nivea Baby, invited Dr. Giselle Adasa, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist and a member of the Philippine Dermatological Society, to talk to soon-to-be moms about newborn skin care. Here were three questions that we get asked frequently.
"Why is it not advisable to use soap on newborn's face. When can I start cleaning baby's face with soap?"
A newborn's first bath is a sponge bath, and it will do until his or her umbilical cord has fallen off on its own usually after five to seven days. You can use a bath sponge, a damp cloth, and even wet wipes to clean baby's face (just observe the one-wipe per sheet rule).
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The risk, Dr. Adasa explained, of cleaning your baby's face with soap and water is getting the soapy water in your little one's eyes. "Although baby care product lines usually have a 'no tears' formulation, you still don't want to expose the baby to that risk," she said.
"Is baby powder harmful to babies? I grew up with it, and I turned out healthy."
"Speaking as a pediatric dermatologist, we don't really recommend powder for babies anymore," Dr. Adasa said. She added the reason is to avoid triggering asthma. "Once you trigger an infant's asthma, other related conditions may be triggered as well," she added.
Doctors don't recommend the use of powder because of its tiny (and easily inhaled) particles. "If you're using a liquid powder that can eventually dry up into small particles, then I'd still not recommend it," advised Dr. Adasa.
It's best to avoid using baby powder for your baby at least for the first year of his life. "As the baby grows, you can start using baby powder — that is kapag wala naman siyang asthma and other related conditions."
"We have pet dogs that stay inside the house. Would that be okay when my newborn arrives?"
Dr. Adasa advised, "If your family has a history of asthma, whether it's respiratory or skin asthma or even allergic rhinitis — yung bahing ng bahing sa umaga — then it's best that you don't have pets inside the house."
Studies have shown that parents with a family history of asthma usually means there's a 60% chance that it would be passed on to the baby. If you don't have a family history of asthma, Dr. Adasa says having pets may not pose a risk. But, "it's still a case-to-case basis," Dr. Adasa adds.
Aside from animal dander, pet hair harbors dust mites invisible to the naked eye, which can trigger asthma or allergies. Dr. Adasa says, "If your baby is exposed to animal dander (tiny particles of skin shed by animals) or dust mites in pet hair and develops a rash, respiratory or skin asthma, or allergic rhinitis, then automatically, you should remove pets in your home."