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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How-to Get Rid of Cradle Cap!

Cradle cap. Lots of babies get it at one point or another, and if your baby has it, don't feel bad. You haven't done anything wrong as a momma, and the reasons behind it are most likely hormone-related. Of course, that doesn't stop those who are uneducated about cradle cap from thinking that your baby has a disease and/or that you don't wash your baby often enough.

So the best thing to do seems to be to just get rid of it. But how? If you do a web search, some sites will actually tell you to peel the scales off with your fingernails, but I advise against that. For one, your baby can't be happy having you pick at their head. Secondly, what happens if you slip? You run the risk of accidentally digging your fingernail into baby's soft skin - ouch!

Outlined here, I've put my tried and true method of getting rid of cradle cap. Best of all, it's a great opportunity for you and baby to bond, and most babies love the feel of the mini-massage they get with the soft brush. (Before we go any further, I just want to point out that I do mention the fact that I use Ivory 2-in-1 below, and in an effort to disclose, I want my readers to know that I received the product to check out for free from Influenster. For more on my disclosure policy, click here. Now read on for my awesome cradle-cap removal how-to!) 

Step 1) Assemble your tools. You don't want to get half-way through baby's bath, only to realize that you left something in another room. I'm sure it goes without saying (because we're all smart parents, right?), but never ever leave a baby unattended in a bath, not even for a few seconds. Here's what you'll need to grab: olive oil, a towel, a soft bristled brush (the kind specifically made for babies), a warm & fuzzy towel, washcloth, and soap.

Step 2) About 20 minutes before you are going to give baby a bath, gently rub some olive oil into her scalp. This isn't meant to be an intense rubbing, and a little goes a long way. I don't use more than a teaspoon or so on my baby's head when I treat her cradle cap. Leave the olive oil on for about 20 minutes.

Step 3) Prepare the bath. Make sure that you don't lay the baby on anything that could possibly stain. His little head is covered in olive oil right now, and oil can ruin fabric. I recommend letting another adult hold him (if possible) while you get the water to the right temperature.

Step 4) Begin to wash the baby just like you usually would, but save the hair for last. I was recently given a bottle of Ivory 2-in-1 (for hair & body) for free from Influenster, and I've found that not only is it gentle enough for the baby's skin and hair, but it saves me the hassle of having to deal with two different products - which is pretty nice when you have a slippery baby to think about. Plus it smells really good and it didn't dry the baby's skin out - she feels as soft as, well, as a baby.

When you are ready to wash your baby's hair, get a handful of water and just barely wet her hair. Now take her out of the bath, and roll her up like a burrito in the towel.

Step 5) With your little one in front of you, add shampoo to his hair and use the brush in a soft, circular motion. When you have baby's hair nice and sudsy, it's time to rinse him in the tub.

Step 6) If you have control over the temperature of the water in your home (in other words, the temperature will not suddenly fluctuate due to toilet flushing), I always recommend this form of rinsing baby's hair. It keeps soap and water out of their eyes and is a lot easier than holding them half-upright with one hand while you (try to) use the other hand to rinse their hair. Keeping baby in the towel-burrito, put him or her under your arm like a football. Make sure to support their body with your arm and their neck with your hand. Turn on the water and make sure it isn't too hot or too cold. Rinse baby's hair underneath the running water.

While rinsing, use the brush to get the bubbles out. Not only will this clean the soap out of the brush, but it makes sure there is no soap (or olive oil) left in baby's hair.

Step 7) After all the soap has been rinsed out, sit down in a quiet corner with your baby. Lightly pat (don't rub) his hair dry. Now use the brush to give baby a mini-massage by going in soft and gentle circular motions.

As you brush his hair, not only will you notice that much of the cradle cap will begin to flake off as it dries, but you will also notice that as the cradle cap comes off, brand-new shiny baby hair will be released from underneath.

Many times the growth of new hair will get stuck inside or underneath the oily growth of cradle cap, and this process of gently removing the scales will allow it to come free without accidentally pulling it out. (Which is another reason to avoid removing the scales with your fingernails!) This should cause your baby's hair to look thicker than it was before. My daughter had several "bald-looking" spots that went away after I did this with her. Plus, her hair smelled & looked clean and fresh!

Don't worry if all the cradle cap doesn't come off in one try. Wait a day and then do it again, and the remainder should be removed. Even if you only treat once, remaining scales will usually fall off on their own and flake away during the course of the following days. If your baby's cradle cap comes back, retreating is as simple as repeating the above process. It may be tempting to leave oil on baby's scalp to try and "nourish" it, and it may also be tempting to pick at baby's scales, but please don't. Picking at the scales may cause fresh hair to be pulled out with it, and putting oil on the scalp when you don't intend to wash it off will actually provide a platform for the scales to build on.

Hopefully these tips help anyone out there who is struggling with this. I treat my kids using this method and their scalps always come out looking fantastic! Let me know if you try this and how it works for you. I love to talk with my readers, feel free to leave questions and comments below!

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