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Caring for your Newborn Baby’s Skin – A Guide to the First 10 Days


Congratulations! After nine long months of waiting and wondering, your baby has finally arrived. As you gaze down at this unfamiliar little person, you might be surprised to find he or she doesn’t look exactly as expected – and the possible challenges of dealing with vernix, the umbilical stump and newborn skin might suddenly seem overwhelming! With a range of products that are mild and gentle for baby’s delicate skin, the JOHNSON'S® Brand offers the following tips on caring for your little one’s skin during their first precious ten days of life.

When a Baby is Born

Holding baby

New parents can be nervous of handling infants and, after nine months curled up inside your womb and surrounded in fluid, your baby is bound to look a little fragile. Don’t be afraid to touch them; they won’t break! Before picking them up, gently slide one hand under their neck to support their head, then the other hand underneath their back to support their lower half. They can be held in this position or smoothly transferred to the crook of your arm, or up onto your shoulder. As long as you take care to support their neck, they will thrive on the physical contact, soothed by your smell and the recognisable sound of your heartbeat.


Your baby’s skin may be blotchy and it will probably be covered in a greasy white substance called vernix, which is nature’s way of protecting their delicate skin against minor infections and keeping it moisturised. Your midwife will either clean this off for you, or leave it to naturally rub off over the first couple of days. Also the stump of the umbilical cord remains, along with its clamp. Over the next week or so the cord will shrivel up and drop off, leaving the belly button we are all used to! While you’re waiting to discover if your baby is an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’, it is important to keep the navel area clean and dry.

Bathing baby

If you’re a new mum, your midwife will teach you how to bathe your baby, but you might also find it helpful to follow these steps:

  • Make sure the room is cosy and warm, and run a bath, adding a mild cleansing product that has been developed specifically for baby’s delicate skin.
  • Taking care that the water temperature isn’t too hot (test it first using your elbow or a bath thermometer), carefully lower your baby into the bath so they are facing you
  • Keep them in a semi-upright position, continue to support baby’s neck with one hand while you gently bathe them with the other
  • Place your free hand under their bottom, carefully lift them out of the water and lie them diagonally on a towel
  • Swaddle your baby in the towel and give them a reassuring cuddle before softly patting them dry, paying particular care to the creases of their skin
  • Use a specially formulated baby moisturiser to keep dry skin moisturised

Your baby won’t need a bath every day, as they can be kept clean with a quick top and tail of their face and genital area, using cooled boiled water and cotton wool balls or pads.

Hair care

Don’t set too much store by your baby’s hair colour within the first ten days – you may well find it all falls out, only to be replaced by hair of a completely different shade! Whether your baby is bald or sports a full head of hair, you need to take extra care when washing it for two reasons. Firstly you may find a diamond-shaped soft spot on the top of their head; this is the fontanelle, where the skull bones will not properly fuse together until the age of 12 – 18 months. Although you’re unlikely to damage this area, it’s important to be gentle in these early days. Secondly, for your baby’s comfort, take care to prevent suds dripping into their eyes – the JOHNSON'S® brand proudly displays the esteemed NO MORE TEARS® trademark on our soap-free baby shampoos.

The nappy area

Although newcomers view this part of parenting with understandable trepidation, soon enough they will be able to handle it with their eyes closed. Well, almost.

Changing a newborn’s nappy:

  • Wash your hands
  • Place your baby on a comfortable, flat and secure surface, and stay with them at all times
  • Remove their nappy by lifting the adhesive tabs, then fold the tabs back over the nappy to seal the contents
  • Using cotton wool and water or mild baby lotion or baby wipes that are suitable from birth, gently clean the nappy area by wiping from front to back
  • Apply a thin layer of nappy cream to protect from nappy rash
  • Place a clean nappy under your baby and fasten it using the adhesive strips, making sure that it’s snug-fitting, but not uncomfortably tight
  • Safely dispose of the dirty nappy, wash your hands again and give your clean baby a reassuring cuddle

The JOHNSON'S® brand cares for you and your newborn

Your baby’s skin is up to 30% thinner than an adult’s and is incredibly delicate, so it’s vital to only use mild and gentle products that have been developed especially for baby’s delicate skin.

For further information on the JOHNSON'S® brand and our product range visit our website here. There are also several money saving offers in our coupons section – click here to view the latest offers on JOHNSON'S® products. 

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