Peeling Skin

Peeling Feet

Your baby came from the constantly wet environment of mom's uterus. The whole top layer of her skin is adapted to being wet all the time. Now her skin must adjust to being dry.

The top layer of a new baby's skin peels and flakes off in the first two to three weeks. This is especially apparent on her hands and feet, because she is flexing them and moving them a lot. Sometimes the cracks on her ankles and fingers may even show a little blood.

In two or three weeks, your baby will have replaced the peeling water-adapted layer with new skin that is adapted to the air, and her skin will look like you think it should.

Using Lotion

If you want to put lotion on her hands and feet, go ahead. Many babies do fine with any lotion. However, some babies can be sensitive to the perfumes and dyes that are put in lotions to make them more appealing — even baby lotions can have perfumes and dyes in them. So, until you know your baby has no sensitivities, I recommend using lotions with no perfumes or dyes.

Please don't put lotion on your baby's body until after you leave the hospital. This is purely a hospital thing. If, for some reason, your baby needs to be monitored, the lotion will prevent the monitor pads from sticking.

Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.