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CLEANING YOUR BABY

Cradle cap

When your baby is between a month and six months old you may notice a yellowish crust on his or her scalp under their hair. This is called 'cradle cap' and is a condition so common that almost every baby has it.

Although unsightly, the condition is harmless and left alone will disappear completely as your baby grows. However, you might wish that you could do something about it if it is very noticeable. (Whatever you do, don't try to pick it off or brush it out as you could pull the baby's hair out or cause an infection.)

You can try the following:

• In mild cases use baby shampoo.

• Massage a tablespoon of almond oil or olive oil into your baby's scalp, leaving it for an hour and then shampooing and rinsing thoroughly. The disadvantage here is that your baby can end up smelling like a salad! Also, remember that you must keep the oil away from your baby's eyes while applying it. Also make sure that your baby's fingers don't touch the oil and then get it in their eyes.

• Try a bicarbonate of soda rinse: dissolve a teaspoonful in 500ml of warm water and dab it on with a cotton wool pad. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly. You will need to do this one or twice a week.

• Combing the hair gently little and often will help to loosen the flakes.

If you are seriously concerned, ask your health visitor for advice. If you notice patches of redness or soreness on your baby's neck or behind their ears then this may be eczema. Again, ask your health visitor for help to tackle this.

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