Newborn Chapped Lips Causes, Prevention and Treatment

You may be wondering:
What can I put on my baby’s chapped lips? Is lip balm safe?
These are common questions especially from first-time mums who have not had any experience caring for a newborn. This post explores these questions in depth. You will learn what causes newborn chapped lips, treatment using breast milk and lanolin as well as why you should not use chapstick on your baby and much more.

Newborn Chapped Lips

A baby’s skin is fragile and susceptible to effects of the new environment. Their skin is drier than an adult’s and certain factors aggravate the chances of their skin drying up, an effect commonly manifested by the appearance of newborn chapped lips.

Chapped lips in newborns are seen when the skin on the lips becomes sore, dry and scaly. The condition is not of health concern but can be quite uncomfortable for your munchkin. The symptoms of lip chapping include:
  • Dry lips
  • Cracking of the lips
  • Darkening of the skin around the lips
  • Bleeding in cases of severe chapping
  • Sore lips

Causes of Newborn Chapped Lips

When they occur in adults, chapped lips are not only annoying but uncomfortable too. It is therefore normal to be concerned when they are on a newborn. Why are the lips of your newborn chapped? There are various reasons why the lips may get dry and starting cracking and peeling off.

Lip Sucking or Licking

Babies tend to suck on their lips or lick them a lot. When they do, they deposit saliva on the lips which then evaporates and leaves the skin on the lips dry.


Dehydration may result from dry weather or generally dry skin on the newborn’s lips. If exposed to a lot of wind, the lips could lose too much moisture and cause chapping. When a baby sweats too much it is necessary to replenish his fluids.

Extreme Weather Conditions

The hot summer, dry winter and too much wind are all enough reasons for chapped lips.

Breathing through the Mouth

When they breathe through the mouth, air is constantly released through the lips. This is quite common when a baby has a cold or flu and their noses are stuffed. The constant flow of air will result in dry lips and chapping.


It is possible for a baby to suffer allergic reactions to various items. Their skins are sensitive and products or even clothes they wear could result in chapping. If you use cosmetic products avoid touch their lips. Do not kiss their lips with lipstick on. Lip eczema in babies could cause the same.

Nutritional Deficiency

Babies born lacking some nutrients and vitamins may experience chapping and drying of the lips. This deficiency coupled with their unstable immune system could render newborns likely to suffer such skin problems.


Newborns require up to 12 feeds in a day. Less feeds could result in undernourishment and dehydration which may be seen in dry and splitting lips

How to Prevent Chapped Lips

Preventing newborn dry and chapped lips is essential for their overall comfort and health. Keep the temperatures inside your house right. To add moisture and avoid dry air, use a humidifier during winter. When venturing out, cover your newborn’s lips to keep the lips protected against severe sun and wind damage using a light breathable fabric. You can have the baby turned against the direction from which the wind is blowing to prevent it from blowing to their face.

How to Treat Chapped Lips on Newborn – Remedies for Chapped Lips in Newborns

Babies are not like grownups. Once the skin has dried up, what can you use for baby’s chapped lips? Can you put lip balm on baby? If you are treating them from home, you want to be careful about what you expose their skin to. The ordinary over the counter products shouldn’t be used so do not put lipbalm or chapstick on them. Instead use the following:

Breast Milk

Babies are likely to ingest whatever you put on their mouth. Breast milk is quite safe and contains natural sufficient benefits to the baby’s needs. Dab a little breast milk on the chapped lips. You should not rub the skin while applying. The milk will safely hydrate the lips and protect the skin from harmful microorganisms too. This is the best remedy option for newborn chapped lips.

Nipple Cream

Nipple creams are made bearing in mind that a baby will breastfeed. They are meant to stop the nipples to crack during breastfeeding. You can talk to your doctor and see if you can use the same on your child’s lips.

Coconut Oil for Baby Chapped Lips

Coconut oil contains lauric acid just like breast milk. You can safely use it on the lips of your toddler. Rub some on your clean fingers and smoother it on the affected lips. Repeat whenever you notice the lips drying out.

Lanolin Petroleum Jelly for Newborn Cracked and Dry Lips

This can be used as a baby lip moisturizer and help to treat a newborn with chapped lips. Lanolin for dry baby lips is a gentle and easy form of treatment for chapped lips on your newborn. The oil is safe even when they lick their lips.

Dab some lanolin on your finger and gently smoother it on the baby’s lips. For maximum effect, treat the lips before they sleep. This will moisturize the lips and stimulate them to heal. Vaseline can be used in the same way.

Lip Balm for Infants

Although you should never use your cosmetic products on your baby, there are some lip balms for infants. Talk to your health care provider to recommend one that is safe for use on a newborn. These usually contain natural ingredients and will deliver their healing properties when used as directed.

Newborn Chapped lips from Breastfeeding

A newborn will get chapped lips when they are breastfeeding. This, though, does not mean that the nursing process is what is causing the lips to dry. Proper latching and enough times of breastfeeding will prevent the lips from drying out. Also, dripping breast milk on the lips when feeding will provide a natural cure. On the contrary, failure to feed enough times will result in dehydration and dry lips in your baby.

Although they do not pose any health concern and may only worry you unnecessarily, chapped lips in newborn should be treated immediately as they could negatively impact on a baby’s feeding and sleeping. If the dry and peeling lips are left out to escalate into severity, they could give room for blistering, bleeding, and infections on the lips. Talk to your obstetrician whenever in doubt or have concerns.


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