Newborn Chapped Lips: Why It Happens and What to Do

Newborn Chapped Lips: Why It Happens and What to Do

Newborn chapped lips are usually nothing to worry about. Let’s reassure you as we take a look at the causes and treatments for this common condition.
You’re staring at your lovely brand spanking new baby and notice their lips are chapped.

Is it normal? Is it painful? What should you do?

Don’t worry mama, we’ve got you.

Let’s look at the causes of and what to use on newborn chapped lips.

In this article: 📝

  • Is it normal for a newborn to have chapped lips?
  • What causes newborn chapped lips?
  • How can I treat my newborn’s chapped lips?

Is it normal for a newborn to have chapped lips?

First up, newborn chapped lips are totally normal!

For the most part, it’s a natural part of their gorgeous new skin adjusting to the outside world.

In some cases, it could be a result of medications or an allergic reaction.

In very rare instances it could be a sign of something more serious.

What causes newborn chapped lips?

So why do newborns have chapped lips?

Let’s break down what could be going on.

Life outside the womb

Baby’s newly adjusting to the dry outside world after being in a very wet bath for many many months.

You’ll probably notice some peeling of your newborn’s skin in the weeks following birth.

This is completely normal and is just part of settling into life outside of the womb.

Chapped baby lips can be an extension of this.

The weather

Much like us; dry, hot, or windy weather will sap the moisture out of baby’s perfect pout.

So when heading out wrap them up out of the wind and when staying in, fire up that humidifier!


Just as the weather can dry the moisture off a baby’s lips on the outside, we need to make sure they’re getting in enough fluids to keep them hydrated on the inside.

This is easier to track when baby is formula-fed, but keeping an eye on diaper changes in a breastfed baby can help reassure you if you’re worried.

Other signs of dehydration include a sunken fontanelle, no tears when they cry, irritability or lethargy, and no wet diaper for three or more hours.

On very warm days, top them up with an extra bottle or breastfeed.

If your baby is older than 6 months a little water may also help.

Sucking reflex

Many babies are born with a strong sucking reflex which may mean that they lick and suck on their own lips even when not feeding.

When the saliva evaporates this can cause them to dry out.

Other rare causes

If your baby is taking any medication, this could be a side effect.

It’s worth checking in with your doctor just in case.

It could also be a reaction to the chemicals in any perfume or makeup they come into contact with or in the wet wipes or bath lotions you use.

Best to keep it as simple and natural as possible.

In very rare cases, dry lips can be a sign of serious illness like Kawasaki disease.

If the dry lips are accompanied by fever, red eyes or rash, and swollen limbs, it’s time to see a doctor.

It’s important to know though that this hardly ever affects newborns.

So now we know why, let’s look at what to put on newborn chapped lips.

How can I treat my newborn’s chapped lips?

You may be wondering, “can you put chapstick on a baby?”, the short answer is nope.

It’s a great adult go-to, but with the sensitivity of newborn skin, we want to stay away from as many chemicals and artificial fragrances as possible.

Here are some other options to treat baby’s chapped lips.


Lanolin is a great medicine cupboard staple.

It both heals and soothes anything from cracked nipples, to heels, to diaper rash and and and and and.

It is a waxy substance found naturally in sheep’s wool and is a great option to soothe those angelic lips. It’s at the top of our list!

Breast milk

If you happen to be breastfeeding, this is the perfect helpmate.

Dab a little on baby’s lips and leave it to dry on its own.

An all-natural baby lip balm

Sooo chapstick for babies?! Sort of.

There are lip balm products designed especially for use by babies.

Natural and gentle.

Bet they’d be good for mama too!

Petroleum jelly.

This good ole product is a legendary barrier cream.

Just be sure to use it sparingly.

Similarly, olive oil (not just for pasta) has long been considered a safe oil for baby massage.

Again if using on your baby’s lips, be sure to use the smallest amount possible and not too often.

Experts agree that in the absence of any other symptoms, a well-feeding baby with chapped lips, is nothing to worry about.

As it’s such a normal part of their development, it’s worth keeping some lanolin, petroleum jelly, or natural baby lip balm on hand.

If nothing else; self-care, y’all.

Your lips will look AMAZING!

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Mosquito Bites on Babies: What You Should Know
What to Know About Baby’s Umbilical Cord Falling Off
Newborn Dry Skin: What to Know and What to Do
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