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WDSD Quick Win 3 : Dry Skin

By Jess

Babies with Down syndrome do tend to have dry skin and I was aware of this when I had Frida but for some (baby brained) reason I didn’t take a good moisturiser for when she was born. I had some at home, but I failed to take it with me. Silly. Luckily I had packed nipple cream so I slathered that on to Frida's wrists and ankles for her first few days of life. When she was born they were so dry they were cracked and bleeding.

With the power of nipple cream they had soon healed and when we got home I started a twice-daily regime of covering Frida in coconut oil to add moisture back into her skin. It had the added benefit of giving her a massage and helping her learn that being touched on the face and body in a firm but gentle way was ok. She did not enjoy it at first but now she absolutely loves it when I put cream on her and she will giggle in anticipation as I get near her chin(s).

Until last month (at about 6 months old) regular coconut oil was all she needed to keep her skin really soft and she had no dry patches at all. I don't know whether it was the really cold weather, our heating being on or her skin changing but all of a sudden I discovered rough patches on her arms and legs. I had some E45 kicking around and switched - now her skin is softer than ever. From speaking to one of my friends whose little boy was born the week before Frida, his skin became drier at exactly the same time and she had to make the switch too.

I think we are going to need to continue to apply cream regularly and I want Frida to be able to do this for herself when she is old enough so it is one of those things that I hope she just does because she has always done it. Having soft skin will not only feel better but it will avoid unnecessary infection creeping in.

Other friends with babies the same age as Frida (more on them another day!) have also done the same and we all just apply cream regularly - always immediately after a bath to lock in the moisture and then when we can throughout the day. One of Frida's mates has his eye cleaned regularly which makes his cheek really sore and Aveeno seems to do the trick for him. Another has dry heels and ankles and hers are sorted with a bit of baby Dove or Johnson's baby cream.

So be prepared to add a quick all over moisturise into your baby's daily routine and that should, fingers crossed, keep any severe dryness at bay. If not then please do get in touch with a healthcare professional who will quickly take a look and prescribe something more potent and suggest other ways to treat dry skin.

So my top tips here are pack coconut oil or a baby moisturiser in your hospital bag and moisturise your baby daily or more frequently if you have time. And whilst you are at it pack some nail clippers, scissors or something to get rid of the razor sharp nails that some babies are born with (both of mine were!). Frida looked like she had been in a fight with a cat for the first few days of her life…

[Picture is of Frida's gorgeous baby legs. You can't easily see the chunky thighs which were, along with her ample cheeks, the first things I fell in love with as she was shown to me but you can see the dryness on her ankle and foot].