There’s no denying that winter is magical, especially when you have a little one joining in on the fun. From building their first snowman and watching the season’s first snowfall, winter is filled with such precious moments.
Despite its absolute beauty, it’s also a time of year marked by runny noses, chapped lips, rosy red cheeks, and dry skin. For your baby’s precious new skin, the colder months can be an absolute nightmare. If not addressed properly, these conditions can lead to more serious issues. To prevent them, you’ll need to keep your baby’s skin protected during these cold winter months.
Fortunately, there are a handful of preventative measures (and products) that can help protect your infant’s delicate skin from the harsh winter weather.
If the air in your home feels a bit dry, it’s time to dig out the humidifier that’s stowed in the nursery closet. By adding moisture to the air, you can help lower the chances of your baby developing dry skin and combat a runny nose. When your little one breathes in the moist air, the stuffiness they’re feeling begins to thin, allowing them to breathe more easily.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using cool mist vaporizers over warm mist options that can pose a burn risk if it accidentally falls over or is touched. Place the humidifier several feet away from your infant and crib to prevent any injuries, such as on a dresser or table.
It seems like a no-brainer to warm your baby up with a soothing bath before bed during cold months. While heat is comforting, be sure to use lukewarm water over hot to avoid drying out your little one’s precious silky skin. Also, keep bathtime short (no more than five minutes) to further reduce moisture loss. Or opt of bathing every day, as babies don’t need it daily.
Just as adults lather up with extra lotion in colder seasons, infants can benefit from doing the same, too. Add lotions and oils that are loaded with cocoa butter, shea butter, or jojoba oil to your baby’s winter arsenal. This helps prevent flakiness, irritation, and cracking.
Pro tip: It’s best to moisturize your infant within minutes of removing them from the tub. Pat them dry (don’t rub!). Immediately apply lotion all over their body to lock in moisture and keep their skin supple.
Not only is fragrance loaded with toxins, but it can also contribute to dry skin and cause irritation. Replace scented shampoos, soaps, lotions, and even detergents with fragrance-free counterparts.
Fragrance is also one of the leading causes of allergic contact dermatitis—a skin rash caused by fragrance in children. If you want to continue using scented products without causing harm to your bundle of joy, look for the incorporation of essential oils like lavender.
Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. UV rays are harmful year-round and can harm babies’ delicate skin, even in winter. If it’s snowing, the sun’s rays can also reflect off the ground and cause sunburn.
For infants six months and older, turn to a non-chemical sunscreen high in SPF that contains the active ingredients of either non-micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Products free of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are also a great option, as some babies are sensitive to it.
Chapped lips are yet another woe of harsh weather that affects babies and adults alike. As baby’s drool, the top skin layer above and below their lips becomes irritated from the constant wetness.
To combat dry, cracked lips, look out for lip balms made specifically for infants, containing safe, natural ingredients. Kiehl’s allergy-tested baby lip balm blends Vitamin E and shea butter to heal the sensitive area and keep their lips soft and smooth.
Layering shirts may have been “so 2000s” fashion, but your newborn can benefit from the extra pieces of clothing in winter. Add a blanket, gloves, beanie, and fuzzy boots to keep them warm. But remember not to overdo it. Too many layers can cause your baby to sweat, leading to skin irritation or a heat rash.
Check on your baby often by putting your hand under their clothes to see if they’re warm and not sweaty and ensure their face isn’t flushed.
Thick, greasy ointments are a blessing for your tot’s chin, lips, and nostrils that may experience redness, dryness, or irritation. Lather on a healing balm, such as unscented Badger Balm, to the affected area throughout the day.
As a preventative measure, apply a generous amount to their mouth and chin to create a protective barrier from the harsh elements.
To help battle the cold months ahead, create your winter toolkit filled with lotion, ointments, sunscreen, or an extra blanket, so your baby’s skin is protected whether you’re at home or out enjoying winter festivities.
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