Massaging the baby with oil is an age-old technique followed by almost every Indian household and has various benefits. According to the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), massaging when done systematically with the right baby oil results in less stress behaviour, lower cortisol levels and improved cognitive performance in the baby.
‘A newborn baby’s skin is 40-60 times thinner than an adult and hence needs the gentlest care and nourishment.’
The ideal time to massage is when a child is relaxed and not hungry. Ensure the room is warm and begin with a small amount of oil by pouring it into the hands and gently glide over the skin. One should use light and non-sticky mineral oil with enriched vitamin E.
Avoid rigorous massaging, instead, do it gently with upward strokes and circular motions in the front and back. The process when done with the gentlest touch will improve the parent-child bond and add warmth to the baby’s skin which is beneficial during the changing temperatures of monsoon.
Bathing with ease
Bath time like massaging is a good opportunity to engage with the child. During monsoons, a daily bath is not necessary, two to three times a week is ideal. Bathing should be done in a warm room with lukewarm water. Parents can choose to use a baby cleanser or baby soap for bathing the baby. One needs to ensure the products are free from parabens, dyes and phthalates, clinically proven mild and suitable for a child’s skin. Baby soap enriched with milk protein and vitamin E is best as it will gently wash away germs and leave behind soft and smooth skin. Like the soap, baby wash with ingredients like natural milk extracts, rice bran protein and 24 hours moisturizing are also easily available in the market.
After bathing, the baby should be dried with a soft and warm towel. The creases should be dried properly to avoid rashes.
Moisturizing is important
As per research, 2 out of 3 babies in India have dry skin. Using a good moisturizing cream or lotion will help to retain moisture in the baby’s skin. A good product will not only nourish but also protect the baby’s skin. A lotion having a 24-hour locking system with glycerin or milk extracts and rice bran protein can be used, especially after bath time.
While applying the moisturizer, squirt a little on both hands and apply in a heart shape on the child’s front and back. A baby cream with vitamin E and milk extracts can be used on the face and the lotion on the rest of the body.
Taking care of the diaper area is important. Baby in a wet and tight diaper, especially during humid weather can cause increased sweating leading to diaper dermatitis and infection in the perianal area.
Frequently change the diapers or keep the baby diaper-free whenever possible. Use alcohol-free wipes with moisturizing content to clean the diaper area. Keeping the diaper area clean and dry will avoid rashes. If the problem with rashes persists, consult a doctor.
During the monsoon, full-length cotton clothes will allow the passage of fresh air to the skin, avoid rashes and prevent mosquito bites. Make the child wear a soft woolen sweater if the temperature decreases due to heavy rains.