There is nothing quite like that new baby smell. Even when they’ve projectiled their entire milk feed onto your t-shirt, they still smell naturally clean and fresh.

So what’s their secret?

We have uncovered some surprising things about your Bub’s skin that you probably never knew about:

1. Why does my baby smell so good?

Scientists believe that a baby’s aroma encourages mums to bond with their babies and to take care of their newborns. The smell is supposed to make exhausted mums forget about their lack of sleep and the 100 nappies they’ve changed and focus on loving and looking after bub.

We’re not exactly sure what causes the delicious scent, but we know that it only lasts about 6 weeks and could be caused by leftover amniotic fluid. Another theory is that it comes from chemicals secreted from a baby’s sweat glands. Or the odour could be from the whitish, waxy stuff (vernix caseosa) that coats the skin of a newborn. This is usually washed off immediately, but the smell may remain on the skin for a little while.

2. Why is my baby all red, dry and wrinkly?

When my daughter was born, I thought she was the most gorgeous being in this world. But when I look back at her newborn photos, she actually looked a little bit like an alien. Her skin was wrinkly, dry and red and she looked like she was in dire need of a skin makeover.

Many babies aren’t born with a lot of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat to plump them out so this may make their skin look a bit crumpled. But rest assured, as they start to grow, the wrinkles will soon iron out.

Newborns are born with reddish/purple skin that then changes to pinkish-red within a few days. The pink tint is caused by the red blood vessels that can be seen through your baby’s very thin skin.

Some babies may also have dry skin, which may even start to peel. This is more prevalent if your baby was born at over 40 weeks. Your newborn’s skin has not fully developed so it is prone to dry out. So you should take extra care when picking baby products as well as limiting baby’s exposure to the sun.

We recommend using Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo, which is a mild and gentle wash to nourish baby’s skin without drying. Our Mouths of Mums testing panel raved about this product and gave it lots of 5 stars reviews. Read what our mums said. We also love the Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion which helps nourish and protect baby’s skin from dryness.

3. Why Is Baby’s Skin Sensitive to Rashes?

It’s not unusual for baby’s skin to come out in blotchiness and rashes. Baby’s skin is super sensitive as it is still developing so it is vulnerable to damage and dryness, caused by a number of irritants (for example: saliva, chemical wipes, soap).

Baby heat rash can be caused when bub’s sweat glands become blocked and trap sweat under the skin. This looks like tiny red bumps which often appear on baby’s head, neck and shoulders, and sometimes on their chest.

It’s best to use a sensitive baby skin cleanser, such as Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo, to help wash away the sweat and keep baby’s skin clear.

4. Baby’s skin is super thin

Baby’s skin is three to five times thinner than adults and is also made up of smaller cells. This means that an infant’s skin can more easily absorb water and other substances into the skin. In addition, baby skin has fewer elastic fibres than a grown up’s. Baby’s skin is essentially like a sieve and allows more substances to pass through their skin. Since baby’s skin is more absorbent, you should be doubly careful as to what skin care products you use on baby. Avoid ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, dyes, and synthetic fragrances.

We love using Cetaphil’s Baby range as we are confident that these products are specially formulated for healthy baby skin development. The range includes key ingredients and botanicals to offer the needed support and protection that infant skin needs to grow strong. Cetaphil Baby Washes and Daily Lotion tick all the right boxes – they are soap-free, paraben-free, mineral-oil free and hypoallergenic.

5. Baby Spots

It’s not only teenagers that get acne, babies can too. But usually, it’s nothing to worry about.

Many babies are born with milia, small white or yellow dots on their face that look like tiny pimples. These usually don’t require any treatment and disappear on their own in three or four weeks.

Newborn acne is a result of mother’s hormones that circulate in the baby’s body after birth. It often appears on the infant’s forehead and cheeks and can get worse if baby lies on sheets that have been cleaned using harsh detergents. When baby is awake, place a soft, clean cotton blanket under her head. Also, use a baby-sensitive cleanser to wash her face daily to remove irritants.

Our mums put their trust in Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo and gave it glowing reviews.

MuthaNit said:
“Blows other brands out of the water! After using this product for a while I was so impressed with it that I found myself raving and recommending it to my mum friends. My baby’s skin was left feeling buttery soft and smooth and her hair silky to the touch with a nice light layering of scent. Would definitely recommend it to other parents, it’s topped every other brand I’ve ever tried!”

Normal baby acne should disappear within a few months once excess hormones have subsided.

6. Don’t over bathe your baby

As a first-time mum, I had no idea what was best for baby when it came to baths. Bath after every poo-nami (that would have meant a bath every few hours), once a day, once a week or never?

My bub loved water so we tended to bath her once a day in the evening – it always seemed to relax her and get her in the mood for sleep. Experts recommend that bathing more than once a day could dry out baby’s skin so it’s best not to bath more often than this.

You could also bathe your bub every second day and then do a cloth wash in between.

Most important is your choice of bath products. Make sure they are specially formulated for baby, like the Cetaphil Baby range. Our mums reported that Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo was the perfect choice. They said this product left baby’s skin feeling soft and smelling clean and highly recommend it for sensitive skin.

We loved finishing off the bath routine with a gentle massage using the Cetaphil Baby Massage Oil. Sheer bliss for bub.

This article was commissioned by the team at Cetaphil Baby as part of the Cetaphil Baby product review campaign. The Mouths of Mums editorial team compiled this article after working with the team at Cetaphil Baby and realising that they provide top quality baby products.

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What do you do to keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Babies smell gorgeous indeed, it’s like a natural perfume.


  • We bathed every night


  • We give our almost 4 month old a bath everyday at night to relax him and also so that he feels refreshed before bed.
    I use Dove moisturiser as I love the smell and really took to it when I got the chance to review it.
    I use baby aveeno lotion for the face area as I know it’s a brand I can trust.


  • I was quite surprised by the first smell fact!


  • Baby oil has helped with my daughter’s sensitive skin.


  • put the bath bottle bed routine out of whack if you do every second day lol


  • Great article! I remember when our baby was just a newborn. Her smell was amazing. Being a first time mum
    I found this incredible! How amazing is life?!

    My tip would be to bath baby in a little breast milk. It keeps their skin soft & you don’t have to worry about the ingredients! All natural:)


  • Some good tips and pointers in this article


  • Babies have naturally a beautiful smell indeed.


  • I’m still juggling with how many baths to give my 1year old each week. Meal times are messy business but also managing eczema with my baby is quite tough. Trying to find a balance that will keep her skin from suffering!


  • My second son very rarely got a bath! Only once he started crawling and eating did I start daily baths.


  • I used to put baby oil in the bath water to keep my son’s skin soft.


  • So interesting – some of these things I didn’t know


  • I agree, once a day is enough. I always found it a good relaxing time before bed.


  • I did not know that their skin was so thin!


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