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Baby Bath Gone Wrong

Updated on November 4, 2019
AshlyChristen profile image

Mom's helping Mom's. Parenting is challenging, rewarding, chaotic and always a surprise around every corner. Mom of 3 boys, teacher to many!

Baby Bath Gone Terribly Wrong

Baby Bath Gone Terribly Wrong
Baby Bath Gone Terribly Wrong

Baby's First Bath

The birth of a child is a time of celebration of welcoming a new family member. It is a time of bonding, lack of sleep, healing, and adjustments. Typically the first few days in the hospital consist of around the clock monitoring from nursing staff, time to rest and heal and lots of feeding and snuggles. It was about day two at the hospital when the nurses came in to my room.

“It is time for his first bath.” I agreed thinking nothing of it. It is totally normal for baby's first official bath at the hospital with nurses.

I figured it wouldn't take long so I dozed back off for a mini nap before the nurses came back to check my blood pressure, check my temperature, etc etc. Time seemed to crawl, I watched the clock, my heart was beginning to race and I could feel my anxiety rising as each moment without my baby boy passed. Each passing tick of the clock I wondered if I should pull myself out of the bed and investigate. What was taking so long? Was he scared and screaming his heart out? Did they take my baby to the wrong room? Every possible bad thing began to race through my mind. Finally after what seemed like forever a nurse I had not met wheeled my little one back in and brought him to me to eat.

“He looked like this after his bath,” the nurse said as she wheeled his bed next to mine. My head began to fuzz as anger, frustration and confusion bubbled to the surface, immediately surpassed by worry. His face was bright beet red across his cheek, lip and nose! It looked like chemical burn or an allergic reaction! When he went in to his bath his face was perfect, flawless baby smooth.

“What happened?” I asked. The nurse shrugged and repeated how after his bath his face broke out red. “What soap did they use?”

“Johnson and Johnson.”

Red flags go off everywhere in my head. I remember when my other boys were little, after bath time specifically when using Johnson and Johnson baby products they would break out in red spots all over their back and belly. However it looked nothing like this! This was different.

My poor newborn baby, he was not even 24 hours old and this happens! I told myself that I would watch and wait, maybe it would go away. Immediately I took a picture. Shortly after my husband returned from running a couple errands.

“Babe look at his face!” I said. Tears welling up in my eyes. “They brought him back from the bath and said that he broke out like this, but I think it's getting worse!”

“What the heck?! That is not normal, his face was not like that when he went in!” he commented , worry and confusion cross his face. "We will keep an eye on it, It's going to be okay."

I was far from okay. I messaged my mom, sister, my best friend and grandma right away.

“Johnson & Johnson soap made him break out here!” I said

“Aww, why did you use it?” my sister asked, knowing the history with the boys and the fact that I did not want the soap used in the first place.

“They used it here at hospital,” I answered. “His face is so red.” I send them the picture and they respond with shock and surprise as expected. My mind was filling up with questions and panic. I wanted answers!

Before and After

Click thumbnail to view full-size
before the bathafter the bath
before the bath
before the bath
after the bath
after the bath

Who's Fault Is It?

A couple hours pass and the bright red began to fade some, but then I noticed it started to bubble and then get crusty and scab like. I called for the doctors and nurses, practically hounding them through out this. The pediatrician was called to come take a look. She was also surprised, and just simply shocked.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” she said

“I am thinking someone messed up, something had to of happened and no one is saying what or how. Maybe someone dropped soap on his face,” I suggested after she said they don't put soap on the baby's faces. “It could have accidentally happened, maybe someone was not wearing gloves, or touched a contaminate and then touched my baby! Some one messed up, there is no way he goes into the bath with perfect skin and comes out like this!” I showed her a picture of right before he went into his bath and the picture of his return with a broken out face.

We go back and forth with the discussion for a while, trying to understand how this might happen, family history, is anyone sick, etc etc. I see her looking at my face. I was healing from what may have been a cold sore on my top lip. She began to ask me about it.

“It appeared about a week ago after a road trip, my sister had a cold sore and then I ended up with one a few days after, but it is strange because we were very careful not to share drinks or anything. The cold sore is practically gone, it has just left some light pink skin healing.”

“Did you kiss him? I know it is difficult, he is your baby, it would be hard not to kiss him.”

I shook my head, I made sure not to kiss him for fear that it could be a cold sore. We talked some more, about how this cold sore I had was different than usual ones, it seemed to be more on the skin above my lip rather than on it. It was possible it could be Impetigo after doing some research. She agreed and decided to do some cultures on his skin to test for bacteria growth for the possibility of either. If we could confirm it was bacterial, or related to my break out then it could be specifically treated.

They put the tests in and I had to wait. It began to crust over even more and scabs darkened. My heart dropped every time I looked at him. This was so not fair! I know I had been careful not to kiss him just in case. It is like they tried to turn it around on me, like it could be my fault! Then I began to doubt and second guess myself....was it my fault? Did I do this to my child? Did I put him at risk? Being so little his immune system would not be capable of fighting off bacterial infections! Oh Dear Lord. I felt so sick to my stomach. Still...the fact remained...this happened immediately after his bath. It was obviously a reaction.....right?

I sent more pictures and updated my family.

From Blistery Red to Scabby

The Reaction Changes
The Reaction Changes

The Long Horrible Wait

“Is it spreading? I wonder what kind of infection it could be.” mom asked

“I don't know, but it is on his nose, lip and cheek.” I replied “They gave him an antibiotic cream to put on it for now. The doctor said it looks like Impetigo but I'm not sure.”

“Impetigo doesn't look like that,” said my sister “I had it once and it was all blistery, kind of similar to a cold sore.” But I could see it was blistery.....So I send a closer picture...


“It looks like chemical burn!” my best friend said

“They think it could be related to my breakout, they are running test to find out. The doctor said the first culture came back and it was negative for bacteria, which is a relief, but now we must wait till morning to see if bacteria grows in 12 hours and so forth.” I answered

So we wait. Immediately from the moment it started to blister I began to put colostrum on it from what little drops I could squeeze out. Colostrum is full of antibodies that help build up babies immune system, so I knew those same antibodies could help heal his skin. I began to put it in one isolated area at first so I could compare it to where the antibiotic cream was being used and would you believe the spots where I put the colostrum was healing the fastest with noticeable improvement. I showed this to the doctor when she came to check on him and she seemed relieved that it was working, yet still puzzled on what was happening to him and why.

My sister came to visit and just started crying as we discussed it. I was afraid I did it, she was afraid it was all her fault since she had the sore first. On top of that her baby was being tested for seizure like behavior. It was just all so much. All a mother ever wants for her children is for them to be happy, healthy, and worry free.

“How are you doing?” My best friend asked. I updated her on what happened and said we were staying another night so they could monitor baby boy's mystery rash and wait for the results. I told her the red spots on his face had crusted over. “Chemical burn!” she said. “Send me a picture” and so I did. My heart just breaking inside my chest for my boy.

“Remember I had a cold sore, so now they are being extra cautious.” I explained “They said kisses can cause something like this if you have a cold sore. But I have been sure not to kiss his face, even though my sore is done, and technically has been. It's just red where it had been.”

“That's bullshit, this isn't your fault! Especially if yours is gone.”

“There is a mark from it fading, but I pray to God that it is not that.” I did the bad thing and looked on google, because that is what we do now when we are freaking out, and guess what, most of the time it makes it worse! I read how a newborn had contracted the herpes virus from a kiss and died, his immune system was not strong enough to fight off such an infection. Tears just poured down my face, I cried for the boy that died, and I cried for fear of my own. How could this be happening?

More Changes & More Waiting

Click thumbnail to view full-size
keep nursing!Beware there is baby feeding happening here
keep nursing!
keep nursing!
Beware there is baby feeding happening here
Beware there is baby feeding happening here

Keep Nursing Him

“The first culture came back and had no bacterial growth. So they are waiting on the 24 and 48hour culture, and then a 5 day culture. I am hoping my milk comes in.” I say knowing the breastmilk is best and can be used on skin and treat all sorts of issues.

“Just keep nursing him,” she says and then how breast milk help cleared up a rash on her little ones face that appeared after she was born. And so I did. I nursed him every 2 to 3 hours on the dot and more if he was rooting, no matter how sore my breasts were.


The next morning we were told there was still no bacterial growth and we could prepare to go home and monitor it and keep putting the cream on.

So, with that being said it goes back to square one. The only possible thing that makes any sense is an allergic reaction to the Johnson and Johnson soap! There is no other explanation. There was the fear of a viral infection, but was proven wrong. The future cultures also came back negative for bacteria. It was most certainly an allergic reaction. It would not be the first or the last time Johnson and Johnson would be the root of such a problem.

The company certainly does not have the best reputation after lawsuits over the baby powder causing ovarian cancer in women, the company was hiding the fact that asbestos was in their products not just once or twice, but for decades! The “golden” baby shampoo contained formaldehyde releasing contents in the past as well as a string of other lawsuits. This is not a company I would put an ounce of trust into! In fact I believe they should be shut down period! Such a deceptive company should not be allowed to continue making products for such helpless and precious babies! It is time to stand up for what is right and ban what is wrong! Mark my words, this is not the end.

Not The End


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    • LeeSpee profile image


      6 days ago

      That poor baby :'( I'm glad it didn't scar his sweet face.

    • AshlyChristen profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashly Christen 

      9 days ago from Illinois

      Thank you guys

      Baby boy is now all healed up and ww haven't used any Johnson & Johnson products since.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your baby boy. This is very concerning and I would keep pressing to find out the answer. If it was the J & J soap they need to find out for sure because I am sure your baby is not the only one allergic to it. Thank you for sharing, Ashly.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      10 days ago

      My heart goes out to you Ashly and it does look like a severe reaction to the products used. Johnson & Johnson products should be pulled given their history and yet I still see them being used in hospitals. Newborn babies have super sensitive skin. In fact I didn't use soap on my babies skin I used an organic product with oil in their bath. I really hope you get to the bottom of this for your own peace of mind. You have a very beautiful baby Ashly - many congratulations and I wish you well.


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