After birth, your baby loses the protective warmth of the mother's body and now the skin is the only border between inside and outside and the environment. Baby skin is five times thinner than adult skin and is still developing. Whilst in the womb, baby’s skin is covered with a white, waxy substance. This is called vernix (vernix caseosa) and it forms a protective barrier for your baby’s delicate skin. The amount of vernix decreases the closer to baby’s due date, and so your baby may come out covered in vernix, or it may already be mostly absorbed by the time they are born. Regardless of how little remains on baby’s skin at birth, it still has an important function. Not only is it a wonderfully nourishing and protective layer during those first few days, it helps to keep baby’s newborn skin soft, hydrated and in balance. It also helps with the development of the skin’s protective layer known as the acid mantle, which gives your baby’s skin extra immunity and protection against germs.
It is best therefore to leave this natural coating on baby’s skin to be absorbed naturally. After a few days, any remaining dry vernix can be gently wiped off with a body oil, and as baby’s barrier function is still forming, their skin is much more sensitive and will absorb what is applied to it far more quickly, so a gentle, skin compatible product such as Weleda Calendula Baby Oil is best.
During the first weeks of life baby's skin needs simple, gentle care, for example your baby doesn't need foam baths or shampoos as they only dry out the skin. A bath once a week is all that is needed, with topping-and-tailing as necessary to keep clean and fresh.
The most sensitive part is the nappy area, which needs extra special care. When changing a nappy, clean the skin with warm water (you can add a couple of drops of oil such as Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil or Weleda Calendula Baby Oil), and a soft cloth or cotton wool. If possible allow your baby to lie in a warm place for a few minutes, without a nappy on to allow the skin to have some fresh air. Finally, a layer of a nappy cream, such as Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream, offers protection against soreness.
Babies sweat glands are also not yet fully developed at birth, so baby's small body has trouble regulating its warmth independently. Natural, breathable fabrics, such as wool and cotton, are excellent at helping baby to keep warm without over-heating. As well as products to care for and wrap up baby, the best warm and protective coat is loving skin to skin contact with their parents.
Weleda Calendula Baby Care provides comfort and supports the development of healthy skin. From over eighty years of experience working with natural substances comes Weleda's deep understanding of the special needs of a baby's delicate skin. All of their products have been developed with the assistance of physicians and midwives and are dermatologically tested.
Tip: Make your own wipes for traveling: for the purest option add a few drops of organic baby oil to cooled boiled water. Place organic cotton wool pads in a shallow leak-proof container and pour the water and oil mixture over the pads until they are fully moistened. Keep the lid on to maintain the moisture and you are ready to go. As the liquid contains no preservatives or chemicals, make enough for just a couple of days at a time. You can also add some baby soap, but we didn't find this necessary. Essential oils can cause irritation to very sensitive skin.