Mums to be

Whilst becoming a mum is magical, we understand it’s not always easy! In this section you’ll find useful information to help you through pregnancy, getting ready for baby, and the first days with your new arrival.

Your pregnancy Skincare

Skin changes in pregnancy

Whilst common pregnancy skin changes pose no health problems, you should always talk to your doctor if your skin is inflamed, blistered, or you have a rash, irritation or itchiness that lasts more than a couple of days.

Because other conditions, unrelated to pregnancy, could bring about skin discolouration, you should always check with your doctor or midwife if you notice any changes, such as a change in the colour or size of a mole, or if pigmentation changes are accompanied by pain, tenderness or redness. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition, and make sure that you are given the appropriate treatment, should it be necessary.

Learn more about those skin changes by clicking on a topic below.

Chloasma
Linea Nigra
Pigmentation changes
Glowing skin
Spider veins
Spots and Acne
Stretch marks
Chafing
Sensitive, irritated skin
Rashes and itchiness

Chloasma

(pigmentation changes on your face and neck)
Also known as the 'mask of pregnancy', chloasma has the appearance of brown patches of pigmentation on the forehead, cheeks, and neck. It's caused by an increased production of melanin, the tanning pigment, which protects the skin against ultraviolet light.
Exposure to sunlight will darken the patches, making them more obvious, so protect your skin with a high factor sunscreen (SPF30 or more) and/or hat whenever you go out. If you feel the patches look unsightly, try blending in the colour with a tinted foundation. They will begin to fade within three months of your baby's birth.
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Linea nigra

(dark line running up your tummy)
This is a dark, vertical line, up to a centimetre wide, that appears down the middle of your stomach, often crossing the navel. It tends to appear around the second trimester and is caused by pigmentation in the skin where your abdominal muscles stretch and slightly separate to accommodate your baby as it grows.
This line of pigmentation will fade within a few weeks of delivery, although you may need to give it a gentle rub to remove any dry skin. You will notice that other areas with pigmentation - such as your nipples, moles and freckles - may darken too but this will also fade with time.
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What else can I do about these pigmentation changes?

With both chloasma and linea nigra, be sure to get enough folic acid by taking a folic acid supplement and eating foods rich in folates (the natural form of folic acid), such as whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Research suggests that folic acid deficiencies may increase skin discolouration.
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Glowing skin

The 'bloom' or 'glow' of pregnancy is not just a saying. Your skin retains more moisture during pregnancy, which plumps it up, smoothing out any fine lines and wrinkles that you may have. The pinkish glow that makes you look radiant is due to increased levels of blood circulating round your body. This may also make you feel slightly flushed sometimes. The downside of this effect is that you may look puffy from water retention and that any red patches that you already have on your face may become more visible.
Don't try to cut down on drinking water - your body needs fluids - but rest as much as you can. Any red patches will eventually calm down once you've given birth, but if you want to hide them, try using a moisturising foundation.
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Spider veins

These tiny clusters of broken capillaries (small blood vessels), or spider naevi as they are sometimes known, most often appear on the cheeks, and are common in pregnancy, particularly if you are already prone to them. They are caused by the increased volume of circulating blood putting extra pressure on the capillaries, which are also more sensitive during pregnancy.
To reduce the chances of spider naevi appearing, protect your face from extremes of cold or heat, as exposure to either can encourage the problem. The veins will fade once your hormone levels have settled down after delivery.
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Spots and acne

Pregnancy can sometimes trigger acne, which many of us have not experienced since adolescence. Higher levels of hormones can encourage the production of sebum - the oil that keeps our skin supple - and too much sebum causes pores to become blocked, resulting in greasy skin and spots.
Cleanse regularly with a gentle cleanser and use an oil-free moisturiser. Don't use acne creams unless your doctor or health care provider advises you to do so. A few weeks after delivery, your skin should return to its pre-pregnancy condition.
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Stretchmarks

The thin reddish or brownish (depending on your skin colour) lines of stretchmarks usually appear on the abdomen, breasts and thighs. They affect around 90 per cent of pregnant women and may appear as you put on more weight during pregnancy, causing the skin to stretch. Higher levels of hormones also disrupt your skin's protein balance, making it thinner than usual. After pregnancy, the reddish or brown pigmentation in the stretch marks gradually fades, and the streaks become lighter than the surrounding skin.
Some lucky women have more elastic skin than others, meaning they won't get stretchmarks, but for most of us they are simply a fact of pregnancy. You can't prevent them, but you can try to minimise them by rubbing oil or cream rich in vitamin E over your abdomen to keep it supple, eating a healthy diet and doing gentle exercise. It may take some time for them to fade after pregnancy.
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Chafing

As you put on weight, chafing can take place between your thighs or under your breasts, resulting in red, moist skin. Your skin may then become inflamed and blistered and you may notice an odour. This is a condition known as intertrigo.
Keep the affected area as dry as possible and use talc to help absorb any moisture. Keep your skin cool by wearing cotton clothes and avoid wearing tights. See your doctor about this chafing, especially if you are sweating a lot, as it may cause a fungal infection called thrush to develop. It is important to clear this up before your baby is born or it can be passed on to your baby.
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Sensitive, irritated skin

Skin tends to become more sensitive during pregnancy, not only due to higher hormone levels, but because it has become more stretched and delicate. Soaps and detergents may suddenly cause irritation, or conditions such as eczema may become worse. Your skin may become more prickly than usual when exposed to sunlight.

Try to identify what could be causing your irritation - could it be your washing powder or a perfume that you use? Also, choose loose, cotton clothes and keep your body well-moisturised. Long soaks in a warm bath will dry out your skin so keep these to a minimum, or add bath oil that will help keep your skin supple. Finally always protect your skin from the sun with a high factor sunscreen (SPF30 or more).
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Rashes and itchiness

It is common for temporary rashes and itchiness to come and go during pregnancy, without any obvious cause. Increased hormone levels make you more sensitive to contact with substances that would not normally affect you. For instance, you may find you become sensitive to chlorine in the local swimming pool. Thrush, which causes vaginal itching, and piles, which can cause itching around the anus, also occur more often in pregnancy.
Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes to keep your body cool. Talk to your doctor about safe treatments to use for thrush and piles, but for other areas, dabbing on calamine lotion should reduce the itching. If your rash or irritation lasts longer than a couple of days, get advice from your doctor.
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New Parent Shopping List

You’ve painted the nursery walls and child-proofed your home. You’re ready…almost. Here’s a handy shopping list to help you stock up with essentials for your newborn.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo
JOHNSON’S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash
JOHNSON’S® Baby Nappy Cream
JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil
JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion
JOHNSON’S® Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes
JOHNSON’S® Baby Nursing Pads
JOHNSON’S® Cotton Buds
Nappies

JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo

If your baby happens to have a lovely head of hair, our NO MORE TEARS® formula gently cleanses, without irritating her eyes. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash

The NO MORE TEARS® cleanser that’s independently proven safe for newborn skin from the first day. It’s formulated for use on baby’s entire body and hair, is hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Nappy Cream

Whilst nappy rash typically doesn’t become a problem until your baby is around 3 months old, it’s important to protect against the causes. JOHNSON’S® Baby Nappy Cream has a clinically proven formula to quickly soothe skin, protect against the causes of nappy rash, and help repair & strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier. Hypoallergenic & developed for newborn skin. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil

Our trusted Baby Oil has many uses! It spreads easily and locks in up to 10 times more moisture*, keeping skin babysoft. It’s also great for baby massage and for softening cradle cap so it can be rinsed away easily. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion

Clinically proven mild & gentle and with a wonderful babyfresh smell, use it every day to help keep your baby’s skin moisturised. Great for mums too! More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes

Independently proven safe for newborn skin from the first days, these are ideal for use at every nappy change. The NO MORE TEARS® formula is also kind to eyes, meaning they can be used all over baby’s body. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Baby Nursing Pads

An important buy for when you’re breastfeeding, these disposable pads can be worn in any regular or nursing bra. They provide advanced leakage protection, a unique contour shape & a non-slip adhesive strip to ensure discreet comfort. More info.

JOHNSON’S® Cotton Buds

100% pure cotton buds. Use to gently clean and dry in between baby’s fingers, toes and around the eyes, nose or outer ear. Soft & gentle for your skincare needs. More info.

NAPPIES!

You’ll go through many more than you’d think. Stock up with a couple of packs in Newborn size.

Guide to the first 10 days

Becoming a mum is a wonderful experience, but we understand that it does mean some big changes, and that there is a lot to take in. To help, we’ve put together a short guide, so you can get to grips with the basics you’ll need for the first 10 days with your new arrival.

Holding
Top & Tailing
Nappy change
Comforting
Baby Massage
Feeding
Taking temperature

Holding

Your newborn may feel fragile and delicate, but don’t be afraid to touch him. In fact, studies show that babies who are held for longer thrive better and cry less. Because your newborn’s neck muscles are not yet developed, you will need to support his head whenever you pick him up. You should also support his head against your shoulder or in your opposite hand, as you carry him. Some parents find that a sling or baby carrier gives them an extra sense of security when carrying their newborn babies. And your baby will love it too!

Top & Tailing

Until your newborn’s cord heals and falls off (usually in a week or two) you may prefer (or find it easier) to clean your baby with a sponge or cloth.

1. Lay your baby on a soft towel, or use a changing mat. Support your baby’s head and limbs throughout.

2. Clean around each eye – from the inside corner outward – with a separate cotton ball dipped in warm water.

3. Keep your baby covered with a towel to stay warm: uncover only the area you are washing. Using a warm, wet washcloth and mild baby cleanser, rinse arms, legs, tummy and nappy area, in that order. Always clean the nappy area from front to back. Clean the umbilical stump, separately, with a cotton ball dipped in clean water.

4. If your newborn has hair, clean it with baby shampoo and rinse with water.

5. Next, dry your baby in the same order you washed him from head to toe. Dry thoroughly, without rubbing too hard. Then wrap him in a dry, hooded towel.

For more information, see our how to bathe baby video & step-by-step guide

Nappy change

Many first-time parents are surprised by how many nappies they go through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, have plenty of nappies on hand before you bring your baby home.

Be sure to wash your hands before changing your baby’s nappy. It is important that you never leave your baby alone on the changing table or surface, so make sure that you have the following items standing by before you begin:

  • A clean nappy
  • Baby wipes
  • A plastic bag to dispose of soiled nappies
  • Nappy cream
  • A change of clothes for baby (just in case)

Instructions for changing a nappy:

1. Lay your baby on a flat, soft and secure surface. If you choose to use a changing table (handy in case of accidents!) keep a hand on your baby at all times. Don’t leave him – even for a moment.

2. Remove the nappy by lifting the adhesive tabs. Fold the tabs back on themselves so they don’t stick to anything (including the baby!).

3. With a baby wipe, clean the nappy area by wiping from front to back–for boys and girls. Fold the dirty nappy onto itself and move to the side. Place a clean nappy under your baby.

4. Apply a thin layer of nappy cream to create a barrier against wetness and irritants, to help protect from nappy rash.

5. Secure the clean nappy by fastening the adhesive strips from the back of the nappy to the front panel. It should be snug, but not tight.

6. Finally, dispose of the dirty nappy and wash your hands again. Done!

Comforting

Most babies cry for an average of two hours a day in the first three months. So while it may be disconcerting, it’s also normal. To comfort your baby, first try to determine the cause of his discomfort. Is he hungry? Does he have wind? Does his nappy need changing? Is it time for a nap? Is he over-stimulated by noise, lights or activity?

If the source of his discomfort is hunger, wind, or a wet nappy, the solutions are more obvious. To help soothe a sleepy or over-stimulated baby, hold him on your shoulder while gently rocking him. Sing or speak softly to him – reassure him with a calm voice. It can also help to rub his back as you do so. Try different positions to find one that’s comfortable for both of you.

Something else to consider: your baby doesn’t have much mobility in the first few weeks and may cry for help if he is lying uncomfortably in the crib. You can help him by gently shifting his position, but always place him on his back for sleep, for safety.

If your baby persistently cries or you are worried in any way, consult your doctor or health care provider.

Baby Massage

Research has shown that massage can relax babies, improve their sleep patterns, and calm them when they are irritable. Infant massage should last around 15 minutes. Don’t worry if you have only five or ten minutes: even a short massage is good for your baby. Choose a warm, quiet room and play background music if you like.

Using oil will help reduce friction and make the massage more soothing. Make sure you use a product that is gentle enough for your infant’s sensitive skin. Place a small coin-sized amount of oil in your palm and rub your hands together to distribute.

Try the following strokes:

  • Resting Hands – Begin your massage by gently resting your hands on your baby’s tummy. This resting hand technique is used before massaging any body area and is a good way for your baby to feel secure and enjoy touch.
  • Legs – With one hand, gently hold your baby’s ankle. Place your other hand at the top of your baby’s thigh, moulding it around the leg, and then slide it to the ankle. Repeat the firm yet gentle rhythmic strokes, one hand after the other.
  • Tummy – When your baby’s umbilical cord is healed, a gentle massage on the tummy can help with digestion and tummy troubles. Start by making contact with your baby’s tummy with a reassuring relaxed hand. If your baby is happy, make gentle padding strokes, with one hand following the other.
  • Back – Holding your baby close to your chest, massage your baby’s back beginning at the neck, swooping down to their bottom.As you give your baby more massages, you’ll gradually find a routine that works best for both of you. And with all your love and attention focused on him, you and your baby will be truly in touch.

For more detailed guides on baby massage, for various ages, please visit our massage section

Feeding

Healthcare professionals agree that nothing is better for your newborn baby than breast milk. Nutritionally speaking, it’s tailor-made for your infant. Of course, sometimes mothers cannot breastfeed, due to medical problems or other special circumstances. Discuss with your midwife how best to feed your newborn. No matter how you decide to feed your baby, be sure to always hold him while feeding. The cuddling that comes with nursing and feeding helps to build a strong, loving bond between you and your baby.

Download our handy guide to nursing your baby

Taking temperature

Should your baby appear to have a fever, knowing the best way to gauge your baby’s temperature is the first step. A fever is a temperature of over 37.5ºC (99.5ºF). Fevers are quite common in young children but are usually mild. If your child’s face feels hot to the touch and they look red or flushed, they may have a fever. You can also check their temperature with a thermometer. Measured under the arm, normal temperature is about 36.4°C (97.4°F). Under the tongue, normal temperature is slightly higher, at about 37°C (98.4°F). This may vary a bit.

  • In infants under the age of 4 weeks, body temperature should be measured with an electronic thermometer in the axilla (under the arm).
  • In children aged 4 weeks to 5 years, body temperature should be measured by one of the following methods:
    • electronic thermometer in the axilla
    • chemical dot thermometer in the axilla
    • infra-red tympanic thermometer (thermometer inserted in child’s ear, always read the label carefully)
  • Forehead chemical thermometers are unreliable as they only show the temperature of the skin, not the body and therefore are not an accurate way of taking your baby’s temperature.
  • The oral and rectal routes should not routinely be used to measure the body temperature of children aged 0–5 years.

Yourself post-birth

 

With all the hustle and bustle of bringing your baby home, you may have forgotten to take care of that other important person...you! You know your new role as parent is deeply rewarding, but you may also find it overwhelming at times. Now more than ever, you need to remember to nurture yourself, so you can better nurture your baby.

They say: "when a baby is born, so is a mother (and father)." You already know that having a baby is one of the most rewarding events of your life. It is also one of the most challenging. First of all, you're going to feel a bit worn out. And no wonder – you just gave birth! Even under the best circumstances, labour is mentally and physically exhausting. If you lost a lot of blood, became dehydrated during labour, or are anaemic after childbirth, it may take you a few extra days or weeks before you start feeling like yourself again.

Help
Relax
Hydrate
Sleep

Help

This is no time to be heroic:  accept offers of help when you need to! That might include a friend who offers to do the laundry, your mother-in-law who brings in a few prepared meals, or your husband who offers to look after your baby while you have a nap. If no one offers to pitch in during the early days, or if you live far from family, consider hiring a doula (a specially trained mother's helper) or a housekeeper. If hiring someone is not an option, simplify and cut down on chores. For example, instead of cooking a meal each night, alternate with take-aways.

Relax

Your muscles are likely to be tense from lifting, carrying, feeding, rocking and soothing your baby during all hours of the day (and night!) – now's the time to ask your husband to give you a massage. You probably already know the benefits of massaging your little one, but now more than ever, you need the pampering, soothing effects that massage offers for you. Your husband can help relax your muscles with firm strokes along your shoulders, arms, lower back, thighs and calves. Remember to use a gentle lotion or oil to help make the massage more comfortable. JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil is a good choice for your grown-up skin – it’s hypoallergenic and locks in up to 10 times more moisture*.

*On wet skin than many lotions on dry skin

Hydrate

Dehydration can really wear you down, without you even realising it. If you're breastfeeding, you run an even greater risk of becoming dehydrated, so remember to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks. Both will only end up making you feel more exhausted, plus caffeine can pass through your breast milk to your baby, making her even more restless! The best thirst quencher is water, so drink lots of it – about six to eight glasses a day. An easy way to remember is to drink a glass of water whenever you sit down to feed your baby. Avoid heavy foods which can weigh you down (burgers or pizza, for example). Instead, eat lighter foods, including moisture-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, with a little pasta.

Don't forget that your skin needs moisture too. To help replenish your skin's moisture - and to take a much needed moment for yourself - take a shower or bath. In addition to helping hydrate your skin, a shower or bath will help to relax your sore muscles. Be sure to use a gentle, moisturising cleanser. JOHNSON'S® Baby SOFTWASH™, enriched with one-third baby lotion, can help your skin feel moisturised while it gently cleans. A warm shower can help you relax. If you've had a caesarean section, talk to your Midwife or Doctor about exact instructions for bathing and showering.

Remember to apply a moisturiser to your damp skin after your shower, to help seal in moisture. A moisturiser such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil or Lotion can also help your skin maintain its suppleness, as both are hypoallergenic and with a clinically proven mild formula.

Sleep

Remember, you need sleep too! Resist treating your baby's naptime as your chore time – take a nap when your baby does. Try to wind down when your baby sleeps. Avoid all caffeinated beverages after lunch. Make your bedroom as quiet and comfortable as possible. You will sleep better if your bedroom is cool and dark. Take a bath, listen to music, or ask your husband to give you a massage to relax. Why not try JOHNSON'S® Baby Bedtime routine which can help you as well? Learn more in our Bedtime section. You may not get a full night's sleep anytime soon, but at least you can make the most of any opportunity you do get to sleep, even if it's just a nap.

JOHNSON’S® EXPERTISE

Learn about the science & testing which ensure JOHNSON’S® Baby products are safe, mild & gentle for your baby’s skin, and why they’ve been trusted by mums for over 100 years.