While awaiting the arrival of their baby parents complete a layette – clothes, a bed, a collection of baby care products. But that’s not all – it is equally important to prepare yourself for the first wash. JELP experts explain which substances found in standard detergents should be avoided and what you should do to protect your newborn from allergens.
According to the World Allergy Organization increasingly more people suffer from allergies – even 40% of people in Poland (data of Medical University of Warsaw) and one in four children in kindergarten have an allergy. Avoiding substances that can provoke allergic reactions is an extremely important task of newly minted parents. Remember that during infancy your baby’s skin is extremely delicate and sensitive to allergens.
– Infant’s sensitive skin is twice as thin as an adult’s skin and it hasn’t got a tight and protective lipid barrier that could protect it from excessive water loss and harmful external factors. Sebaceous glands that are very active during antenatal development become practically inactive during early childhood. The sweat glands too are less efficient than they are in adults, hence children often develop miliaria , adds dr n. med. Izabela Rogozińska, paediatrician and Jelp expert.
This is why you should prepare not only for the first baby bath, but for the first wash too – a lot of detergents contain irritating ingredients and artificial colours that can settle on baby clothes. You will learn about best ways to wash and iron newborn’s and infant’s clothes in another of our articles.
– Chemical agents added to standard laundry detergents available on the market can provoke allergic reactions in babies. You should carefully analyse the ingredients when you pick a washing powder, gel or a fabric conditioner. It is important to opt for detergents that are safe from first days of life, says Izabela Jaskólska, representative of JELP, the first brand in Poland offering hypoallergenic laundry detergents.
Avoid enzymes and artificial colours
In infants food allergens are the most common cause of allergies. In case of baby’s skin, however, even very small amounts of allergens can be harmful. The infancy period is a test for your baby’s skin that in mother’s womb is constantly moisturised by the amniotic fluid free from bacteria.
– Upon arrival into the world, newborn’s skin is immediately exposed to a number of microorganisms present in the environment and to the risk of drying out evidenced by scaly skin in the first days of life. This makes the baby’s skin even more fragile, says dr Rogozińska, Jelp expert.
What can you do to prevent your baby from getting allergies? Create for your baby an environment that is free from allergens and irritating agents. The substances usually found in laundry detergents that can lead to irritation of sensitive skin include: optical brighteners, chemical brighteners, TAED activators and artificial colours. In hypoallergenic washing powders active oxygen assumes the role of the cleaning agent in place of a bioactive detergent. You shouldn’t buy detergents that contain the latter one if there is a small baby or a person with allergies at home.
There are increasing numbers of artificial fragrances present in our environment and your baby during their first months will use olfaction to distinguish parents. Hence baby bedding, blankets, underwear, clothing and diapers should be washed in fragrance-free or subtly scented detergents that won’t irritate their respiratory tract. Is a fragrant laundry bad for people with allergies and small babies then?
– The market offers hypoallergenic laundry detergents and fabric softeners with a detectable subtle fragrance that is safe and pleasant for the baby. The intense aroma of substances found in standard detergents can collide with the natural scent of the baby whose respiratory tract is, after all, still developing, adds Izabela Jaskólska, JELP representative.
When you shop for baby-safe laundry detergents check if products have relevant approvals that guarantee that they are 100% safe for your baby. Hypoallergenic detergents should be clinically tested and approved by the Institute of Mother and Child.
Parents who wish to verify if a given product meets restrictive safety requirements should search the label for such information or consult a producer’s website. Aside from the most important approval granted by the Institute of Mother and Child, appropriate certificates are issued by institutions such as the Polish Midwives Association, research centres (e.g. Dziecko Alergiczne Research Centre) or medical universities.