Premature babies: Here’s why using correct baby wipes is important for tender care

January 12, 2021 12:45 PM

The thin and tender skin means premature babies are at a greater risk of infection and loss of heat and water through the skin. Until the skin matures, it doesn’t offer a good protective barrier for the baby and needs to be handled with utmost care to prevent tearing or bruising.

Unfortunately, some of these ingredients have a greater risk of causing allergic reactions with frequent contact with the skin, especially in case of premature babies. (Representative image)

By Deepak Singh

Having a newborn baby is already overwhelming and if the baby is born premature, it can be an extremely emotional and formidable experience. While every newborn baby’s skin is the softest and most sensitive thing, with premature babies, the skin is not as fully mature as a full-term newborn. A premature baby’s skin is thinner. There are fewer layers of skin because they were born early and they didn’t have that ability to develop those extra layers.

The thin and tender skin means premature babies are at a greater risk of infection and loss of heat and water through the skin. Until the skin matures, it doesn’t offer a good protective barrier for the baby and needs to be handled with utmost care to prevent tearing or bruising.

This is why it is important that parents of premature babies are extremely careful with any product they use for their little one – especially products like baby wipes that come directly in contact with the baby’s skin. Although baby wipes are a very convenient way of cleaning up the baby, a premature baby’s skin may be sensitive to irritation and breakdown from the ingredients in it.

While, in general, baby wipes are safe, some still contain ingredients that may not be the best for the tender skin of premmies. Even the wipes available in the market that are considered ‘pure’ or ‘natural’, the average number of ingredients can start at seven. Pure Wipes may contain upto 7 ingredients, those labelled Natural Wipes contain upto 10 ingredients, Sensitive Wipes contain upto 15 ingredients and standard wipes contain upto 16 ingredients. This is because when different ingredients are present, often emulsifying agents are needed to allow the ingredients to mix together evenly. A buffer may be required to maintain the pH levels and sometimes a thickening agent to ensure the solution is the right viscosity.

Unfortunately, some of these ingredients have a greater risk of causing allergic reactions with frequent contact with the skin, especially in case of premature babies.

This is why, most often, doctors and nurses recommend the best way to clean a baby is with the use of cotton wool and water. However, for some parents, this may be a little impractical and difficult considering there may be a need to change countless nappies a day.

Even if, as a parent, you decide to go ahead with a baby wipes brand and feel comfortable to use it, it’s best to watch the ingredients carefully. Also, there are certain brands of wipes available in the market that are extremely pure and have been carefully designed to be gentle on the babies’ sensitive skin. They provide gentle cleansing for even the most delicate newborn skin and can be used on premature babies as well.

The best course of action for new parents is to make sure they are choosing a wipe with least number of ingredients which are less likely to disrupt the skin’s natural barrier. Since a premature baby is extremely vulnerable, it is better to choose brands that can offer a commitment to being pure and gentle for the most sensitive skin.

After all, with so many concerns and challenges to think about, it’s important that parents who have had a premature baby feel confident that they are doing the best for their baby.

(The author is Marketing Manager APAC, WaterWipes. Views expressed are personal.)

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