Long gone are the days when babies were sprinkled with perfumed baby powder during a diaper change. A sprinkling of baby powder was once a common occurrence yet seems to be another ritual that has taken a back seat in modern parenting.
Baby powder is usually made from talcum powder or cornstarch. Both talcum and cornstarch baby powder are meant to absorb excess moisture, prevent chafing, and soothe diaper rash or other minor itchy skin irritations. Baby powder can absorb moisture on your baby's thighs, under arms, and in all those creases and folds where moisture develops, preventing irritation and chafing from rubbing.
Baby powder is available scented and unscented. Many are made with ingredients such as aloe vera to help moisturize your baby's skin.
Many parents have refrained from using baby powder out of fear of talcum powder, the most common form of powder used in baby powder. Inhaling talcum powder can cause your baby's lungs to swell, irritating them and leading to breathing problems. Talcum powder can also irritate and inflame broken skin or a raw diaper rash. Talcum powder has also been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in females who use talcum powder around their genitals.
The talcum powder scare has led to a rise in baby powders made with cornstarch. Cornstarch based baby powders are coarser than talcum powder, but absorb moisture and reduce rubbing and chafing just as well.
Whichever powder you choose, use it carefully. Never shake baby powder directly on your baby or near your baby. Sprinkle a small amount into your hand and then apply it to your baby.
Always wash away powder that accumulates in your baby's folds or creases. Powders easily cake and hide away in skin creases and can lead to irritation and rashes. If your baby powder is made with cornstarch, a build up of powder can lead to the growth of harmful fungi. Washing or removing baby powder when changing your baby's diapers is also a good idea to prevent build up on your baby's legs.