Being a new mom means that you are experiencing life all over again through your child.
Sometimes, everyday situations that can be easily remedied as an adult and wouldn’t cause you to think twice seem to throw you for a loop as a parent. Chapped lips are one of them.
We’ve all experienced them throughout our lives, but what do you do when your little one has chapped lips?
As an adult, you can dig for that tube of chapstick that lies at the bottom of every woman’s purse; the quick fix for those dry, cracked lips.
However, is lip balm safe for a baby? Are there better alternatives? Are you able to prevent chapped lips from even happening?
What causes chapped lips?
Chapped lips are dry lips that sometimes crack and can even bleed. Healthline.com notes that there are several things that can contribute to chapped lips.
The first is dry air. Lips are covered by a thin layer of skin, so they can dry out easily. During the winter, or in dry climates, a lack of moisture in the air along with wind causes your lips to dry out and crack.
Too much exposure to the sun can do the same thing. Dehydration can also cause a lack of moisture in lips. You might also notice them if your baby has a cold and is breathing through his or her mouth, which causes a constant stream of air to pass over the lips.
Finally, continuous licking of the lips can cause chapping; a teething baby seems to have an endless stream of saliva pouring from his or her mouth so it’s no surprise that babies can develop chapped lips.
While chapped lips are more an annoyance to adults, for newborns, dry lips can make feeding more difficult because it’s uncomfortable. Since consistent feedings are so important for newborns, you will want to treat their lips.
What can I use to treat chapped lips?
Chapstick is not recommended for use on babies and children under two. Commercial lip balms for adults have many other additives, like menthol that can provide a numbing effect for sore lips, in them that are not meant for babies.
Unlike adults, you can’t stop a baby from licking and eating some of the chapstick from his or her lips. Flavored lip balms may encourage an older infant to continue to lick his or her lips since that taste would be interesting to their curious tongue.
This would cause the baby to ingest more of the product and continue to contribute to the chapped lips.
Instead, use a lanolin product to treat your child. Lanolin is an organic product used by breastfeeding moms to help moisturize cracked and sore nipples. It is safe for baby, so moms do not have to wipe it off every time they nurse.
Just dab some lanolin on your child’s lips throughout the day to help moisturize and create a barrier. You can also put some lanolin on their lips at night to help protect them from the overnight drool effect that will continue to dry out their lips.
For breastfeeding moms, a common piece of advice you might hear is to try leaving some milk on baby’s lips after a feeding; the milk has antibacterial properties that can help prevent an infection forming within the cracks of the skin.
If you don’t see an improvement within a few days, or if it your baby’s lips seem to get worse, call your child’s pediatrician.
How can I prevent chapped lips?
While it is inevitable that your child will likely experience chapped lips throughout his life, there are some steps you can take to try to prevent a reoccurrence or lessen the severity.
- Stay hydrated – Make sure baby is drinking enough; you can find out more about signs of dehydration in infants here.
- Limit exposure – If it’s cold and windy outside, the perfect recipe for decreasing the amount of moisture in baby’s lips, then cover his/her face with a scarf or cover the baby carrier with a blanket while you are outside. If you are holding the baby or baby is in a carrier, turn the baby away from the wind.
- Add moisture to the room – Set up a humidifier in baby’s room. This is also helpful if your little one has a cold and is having difficulty breathing through the nose.
No mom, new or experienced, likes to see her child uncomfortable or in pain no matter how big or small the problem is. Luckily, dealing with chapped lips is simple. While chapstick is not appropriate for baby, with a little lanolin cream, time, and attention, you can easily treat your little one’s chapped lips.