Chapped lips on a newborn are more than just uncomfortable; they can negatively affect feeding and sleeping and may lead to potentially serious infections. Because of this, treating a newborn's chapped lips as quickly as possible is important. In most cases, chapped lips can be treated at home and will take only a few days to heal. Chronic chapped lips require medical attention to rule out dehydration or other health conditions.
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Apply lanolin to your newborn's lips. Lanolin creams, such as Lansinoh, are available at most pharmacies and retail stores and are often used by breastfeeding mothers to soothe dry, cracked nipples. Lansinoh is safe for use on newborns.
Leave a small amount of breast milk on your baby's lips after nursing. Breast milk will not only help moisturize your baby's lips, it will help prevent infection from developing in any cracks or cuts.
Use a clean cotton swab to apply a small amount of olive oil or petroleum jelly to your newborn's chapped lips just before bed. This will help hold in moisture while protecting your baby's lips from drool during sleep. While petroleum jelly is non-toxic, your baby may develop diarrhea, abdominal pain or coughing if the product is ingested, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Cover your baby's lips before you take him outside. Apply a tiny bit of natural lip balm to his lips will help protect them from the drying effects of the sun, wind and cold.
Run a humidifier inside your baby's room at night. Increasing the moisture level inside your home will help hydrate your baby's lips and skin.
Keep track of how much and how often your baby is feeding. Dehydration can cause chapped lips in newborns. If your baby does not seem to be eating as much as he should be, if his urine output is reduced, or if he shows other signs of dehydration, call your pediatrician immediately. The Mayo Clinic states that sunken fontanelles on your baby's head, a lack of tears, extreme sleepiness and rapid heartbeat are signs of severe dehydration in infants.