For my next installment of my collaboration with Cetaphil, I’m going to be talking about bathing.
Our little Juliet is a month old, and we honestly can’t imagine life without her. I wish I could tell you that everything is instinctive and just falls into place, but this is life – OF COURSE it doesn’t. There are as many opinions on everything to do with babies (take your pick from feeding to sleeping to mom’s recovery), as there are actual babies on the planet. It’s a confusing, overwhelming minefield of information. And I use the word information in it’s most basic form – simply a collection of data; whether or not it is accurate or useful is completely dependent on your baby, circumstances, beliefs etc.
But, mercifully there was one topic that we got a unanimous opinion on was when to wash Jools after birth. My gynae, paed and breastfeeding specialist all said that we should try and wait as long as possible before washing her. The nurses in the hospital tried to get us to wash her every day we were there, but we rebuffed their advances.
This may sound gross to some of you, but their reasoning behind it is that babies are born with what is arguably the best moisturiser and barrier cream on the planet; vernix. Vernix is the white waxy substance that babies come out covered in. It contains a potent cocktail of fatty acids, cholesterol ceramide and squalene. Its primary function is to keep the baby warm (think of the cold water long distance swimmers who cover themselves in Vaseline or animal fat – same principle). On a secondary basis, it also protects the baby’s skin from moisture evaporation, keeping the delicate skin moisturised and supple, as well as acting as a protective barrier from bacterial infection.
It just makes sense that you’d want to keep this on as long as possible before washing it off. And babies don’t have functioning sweat glands to speak of, so what exactly would be the point of washing her, anyway? Obviously nappy and milk spills require bathing action, but otherwise, there is literally NO reason. You also have to take into account how different baby skin is to our own. It is obviously much thinner and has a higher pH than an adult’s. This is because the acid mantle hasn’t yet formed properly. This thinner skin also means that it can become dehydrated much quicker than ours would.
We waited 2 weeks before we washed Jools, but then the question was what to wash her with. Now, before she was born, I instinctively wanted to use a certified organic baby wash, to minimize applying chemicals to her skin. (Yes, I’m not normally the organic product seeking type, but once you realise how delicate your baby’s skin is, everything changes). But then I chatted to my paed, and she made an excellent point that my hormone flooded brain just hadn’t though of – organic doesn’t mean hypoallergenic. Doh! Of course it doesn’t – in fact, it can often mean the exact opposite. This is because essential oils can be serious allergens. Remember that just because it’s natural, it doesn’t mean it can’t harm for you – would you eat Deadly Nightshade? No? Why not, it’s natural? You need to choose the correct natural products for each situation or requirement.
Hypoallergenic means that a product has been tested to ensure that it has the lowest possible chance of causing an allergic reaction. This theory was proven a few weeks ago when Jools developed a small rash on her bum (I had opted for the natural and organic bum cream), so I switched to a non-organic, but hypoallergenic cream, and the rash disappeared in two days and hasn’t returned. Sadly there is no industry standard that governs what classifies a hypoallergenic product, so, again, you have to go with a trusted brand.
Anyway, what to wash her with… I chose to go with the new Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo because the formula is soap, mineral oil and animal origin ingredient free. If you are concerned about parabens, it doesn’t contain any of those, either. (I’m not even going there in this post!!)
This product is the reason why I decided to partner with Cetaphil for this series of posts – I use the brand on myself every day, and trust the science behind their formulations. The fact that they launched their baby exclusive range just when my daughter was born was fortuitous (their normal range can be used on babies, but there was a gap in the market for baby-only products).
The formula is enriched with glycerin and panthenol, both of which help to maintain and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, rather than stripping it like many baby washes would. It is vitally important that this barrier is protected at all costs as an impaired barrier is what causes infant skin problems like eczema.
We’ve been using the Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo on Jools for two weeks now, and her skin is looking great. It foams enough to wash, but not dehydrate the skin and has a pleasant, subtle scent. She has quite a lot of hair, and it works a treat on that, too. It leaves the hair soft and fluffy without aggravating the scalp.
Overall, the product has made for two reassured parents and one happy baby with super-soft skin. There is also a Daily Lotion with Shea Butter in the range, so keep an eye out for my review on than in the new few weeks.
The Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo is available at Clicks, Dischem and Alpha Pharmacies for R69.99.