Premature babies can sometimes have more difficulty with temperature regulation and skin issues than babies who aren’t preemies. Knowing what to do for your baby’s skin during cold winter weather can help immensely.
Bathe Sparingly with Soap-free Cleansers
Babies don’t get nearly as dirty as toddlers do, and as such they don’t need full baths every single day. When it is time for a bath, the water needs to be lukewarm rather than hot, for several reasons. First, you don’t want to risk scalding at all and second, lukewarm water is less drying to your baby’s skin than hot water is. Also, avoid soap-based cleansers as much as possible. Soap-free cleansers are far gentler on baby’s skin.
Use Lotions and Moisturizers
Lotions and moisturizers help to lock moisture into the skin. Babies don’t need highly fragranced lotions. In fact, the fewer chemicals and fragrances in your lotion of choice, the better. Apply lotion when the baby’s skin is still a little damp to help keep the skin soft and protected. Use thicker lotions when your baby’s skin is dryer. Thinner lotions are fine when the skin is already well-moisturized.
Bundle up Outdoors
Being outside in winter with the wind and the super cold air is not fun for anybody, but it can be especially difficult for your preemie. Layers are definitely the way to go but be careful because heat rash is still a potential problem. Check often to see if you need to add or remove layers to help keep your baby as comfortable as possible.
Check Temperatures Inside and Consider a Humidifier
It might be cold outside, but indoor air has its own issues for babies and their sensitive skin. If the temperature inside is too warm, that can cause your baby’s skin to dry out. One idea might be to consider using a humidifier or even keep a pan of water out on the counter to raise humidity levels just a little bit.
Skin Rashes and Eczema Are Common
Heat rash can lead to diaper rash and itchy skin in other areas, too. Another situation to watch for is eczema. Babies may be especially prone to developing patches of eczema in winter weather, with all the temperature changes and possible skin irritants at play. If you notice anything that looks serious, always talk to your baby’s doctor.
Caring for a preemie’s skin during brutally cold winter weather can be difficult, especially if eczema and other skin conditions flare up. Pediatric home health care providers can help you to manage all of those issues and they can offer respite assistance, too.