Winter’s harsh cold temps are tough on everyone’s skin, especially a baby’s delicate skin. Pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes joined me for an interview on Friday to discuss how parents can protect their infant from getting chapped skin this winter, she also discussed which fabrics are safest for baby’s tender skin, the proper detergent to wash their clothing in and how often your baby should be bathed.
Candace Rose: How can parents protect their baby from getting chapped skin?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “There are a few simple tips that I like to recommend to parents. The first one is just to be prepared. When you know the weather is changing, it’s going to get cold and windy, I like to recommend to parents that they pack a diaper bag or have some petroleum jelly on hand, so you can have one in your diaper bag, one on the changing table, one by the door when you’re leaving the house. It’s always good to put some on the baby’s cheeks, under their nose, on their lips before you go out of the house and that’ll really protect and create a barrier from the wind and the cold.
The second thing is that I like to tell parents that if you’re going to leave the house, layer your baby. Put on nice cotton clothing, put on a jacket and maybe one or two soft blankets. I always recommend that they wash all of this clothing and garments in Dreft detergent before they leave the house. Dreft is the number one choice of pediatricians because it’s gentle and hypoallergenic on the skin. Dreft has been trusted for more than 80 years. It’s completely safe on a baby’s skin, it does not irritate them.
If you’re going to outside and you know you have your jacket, your blankets, I also like to recommend a plastic shell on those windy or rainy days to cover the baby from the elements. They can still see outside and really enjoy their walk, but they won’t have that harsh wind on their face.”
Candace Rose: How should parents wash the fabrics that touch their baby’s skin?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “I recommend that they use Dreft, which is hypoallergenic. What’s great about Dreft is that it actually takes the pills (the fuzzies) off the clothing. It has special enzymes, it makes the clothes really nice and smooth. I think it’s great when you have a newborn at home or an infant that the whole family uses Dreft because you put your baby on your shoulder and if you don’t wash your clothes in Dreft, that might irritate your baby. I recommend staying away from fabric softeners because those can be irritating to babies.”
Candace Rose: What kind of fabrics are best for baby’s clothes and bedding?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “The best is 100% cotton, but of course 100% is a little bit more expensive. If you can’t buy 100% cotton and you get some kind of blend that might have a polyester in it, what I recommend is that you use Dreft because the fabrics that are not 100% cotton get more of those pills. The Dreft will help minimize those and make them less irritating to your baby’s skin.”
Candace Rose: How many times a week should parents bathe their baby and for how long?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “A baby should not be bathed daily. That upsets a lot of my families, but washing a baby every day actually washes off the natural oils of their skin, so I recommend bathing a baby for 10 minutes maximum two to three times a week using a hypoallergenic baby wash. As soon as they come out of the bath, you should put on a hypoallergenic lotion and massage it into their skin. Do the lotion twice a day, even on days that you’re not bathing your baby, it’s really good to have a lotion on them twice a day.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information that you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “When your home is really dry, I think it’s a good idea to keep a cool mist humidifier on at home. It keeps the air nice and moist, it’s great for your skin and your baby’s skin. If you don’t have a humidifier, if you have a hot radiator in an older home, you can actually put a pot of water on a radiator and you can put some vanilla in it or cinnamon and that actually creates more moisture in the air and keeps the baby’s skin nice and soft and it prevents them from developing eczema.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Dyan Hes: “Parents can go to www.Dreft.com to learn more about Dreft. They can also find a two dollar coupon online.”