Photography: Pornchai Mittongtare. Prop styling: Amy Paliwoda.
Any day now you’ll be reaching for summer’s first tube of sunscreen. You’re not alone if you’re wondering just what’s in it and, most importantly, if it’s safe for you and your kids to spend the season slathering it all over.
With the right gear and these expert tips, you can bathe your baby with ease. These tub-time essentials make a splash. You may also find this newborn advice helpful: • How to Calm a Colicky Baby
Very common: At least 1 in 50 babies has these dimples. In fact, I see them every few months, and my advice is always the same: Do nothing at all, but watch for any discharge or swelling. If you do notice either of these, your doctor will want to make sure your child doesn’t have an infection or that a cyst isn’t beginning to form. If, on the other hand, your baby has a large dimple that is unusually colored, or that has any drainage or seems to be tender shortly after birth, your doctor will need to order tests immediately—likely an ultrasound and/or MRI.
Insect repellents containing DEET are most effective against ticks (transmitters of Lyme disease) and mosquitoes (carriers of West Nile virus), and they’re safe for babies 2 months and older, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Use a product with 10 percent to 30 percent DEET, and wash it off once inside. Another option: Cutter insect repellent. It contains picaridin, an odorless and nontoxic chemical that has been proven nearly as effective as DEET.
Follow these simple, doctor-recommended tips for keeping your baby clean and comfy.
It’s disconcerting to see a newborn with a red, blotchy face, but baby acne is a common and harmless condition.
Care tip: Wash your baby’s face daily with a mild baby soap.
There’s nothing cuter than your baby’s tiny corn-row toes, but they—as well as other parts of your baby’s body—can quickly become endangered by what’s known as a hair tourniquet. “This happens when something very thin and pliable, such as a hair or thread, gets wound around a digit or other appendage, even a penis,” says Madelyn Goble, R.N., an ER/trauma nurse at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif. Left unnoticed, a hair can get wound so tightly that blood flow is compromised.
I just got home from a "Target Run." In addition to coat hangers and underwear, my main purchase was a whopping bag of baby wipes. Do I have a baby in the house? Nope, not anymore. What first time parents may not know is that baby wipes rule the world. No really. Once you pop open your first package, you'll wonder how you ever survived without them. I'm grateful though, that I already know my brand—Huggies Natural Care Unscented. Target had a half aisle dedicated to all kinds of baby wipes. There were too many kinds in too many scents with too many features.
Diapering your baby may seem like a no-brainer: Off with the old, toss it, and on with the new. But considering that newborns typically need six to 10 diaper changes a day—more, if you’re using cloth diapers—the decision about what type of diapers to use is an important one. Cost, convenience and your baby’s needs are issues to consider when making the decision.
Breast milk is enough for babies even in the hottest weather, but if you're not convinced, monitor the color and quantity of your daughter's urine. It should be pale yellow or clear, and she should produce her normal amount. If it's dark or there's less than usual, she needs more fluids. (You, however, definitely need more, especially since you're breastfeeding.)
Eczema is an allergic skin rash often triggered by substances in the baby's diet. Before you resort to using cortisone cream, try dietary changes: If your baby drinks formula, talk to your doctor about trying a soy or hypoallergenic brand. If you're breastfeeding, consider eliminating potential allergens from your diet--the most problematic are dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat and citrus. In the meantime, fewer and shorter baths in lukewarm water can bring relief, as can using a "baby-friendly" laundry soap such as Dreft or Method and avoiding scented lotions and creams.
Applying sunscreen to babies younger than 6 months is generally not recommended because it can be absorbed through their thin skin and nobody knows for certain if it's harmless or not. At this age the best sun protection is to keep your baby in the shade and covered in loose clothing and a hat with a brim to shield his eyes and face.