Baby Care Basics:
5 Must-Know Tips for That First Week Home

1. Baby wipes
Most docs recommend avoiding premoistened diaper wipes for the first month of baby's life since some of their chemicals can irritate a newborn's tender skin. Instead, use cotton balls dipped in warm water. When baby’s ready for regular wipes, choose ones that are alcohol-free and unscented to prevent irritation.

2. Bath time
Until baby’s umbilical cord is off and healed, baby can only take sponge baths. Start by soaking your baby a little. Make sure to always keep one hand on baby, and remember that infants are especially slippery when wet. Start with his face–one area at a time since covering the whole face with a washcloth can be scary -- and work your way down. Make sure to thoroughly wash inside all the folds (under the arms, in the neck, the genital area, etc.) and save baby’s dirtiest parts -- aka the diaper area -- for last. Then, move back up and wash baby’s hair. And note: There’s no need to bathe more than every few days.

3. Newborn skin
At birth, baby's skin will probably appear to be dry. How come? It’s in the process of peeling off an entire waterproof layer of sorts. But in general, a baby's skin doesn’t need much specialized care -- just lots of TLC. A mild cleanser is safe, though many people recommend just plain water. Your baby's face takes a lot of abuse (just think of all that spitting!), so do your best to keep it clean. But if baby's skin seems excessively dry, irritated or itchy, or if you notice a rash or breakout, consult your pediatrician ASAP.

4. The umbilical cord get sucked into registering for cute toys or outfits Umbilical cord care has changed dramatically over the last 20 years; now, many hospitals recommend doing nothing but keeping the cord dry (read: sponge baths only). But some pediatricians still recommend using alcohol on the cord with each diaper change to speed up the healing process. That way you’ll be able to give your baby real baths, as opposed to sponge baths, sooner. So find out what your doctor recommends.

5. Fingernails and toenails
The safest way to keep a newborn’s nails short is to just file them and not cut them at all. Since the skin of the fingers is usually attached to the back of the nail, cutting the nails often results in nipping the fingertip too (ouch!). Even though the bleeding is minor and can be stopped quickly with a little pressure, it's very upsetting to the parent -- and always seems like a lot more blood than it really is! Once baby is a little older (18 months), you can cut their nails while they’re asleep.

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Are Blankets Okay for Baby?

My daughter seems to be especially attached to one of her blankets. Will she be able to sleep without it?

Re: My daughter seems to be especially attached to one of her blankets. Will she be able to sleep without it?

The Bump Expert

Many babies, especially as they approach their first birthday, adopt a lovey (also known as a security, comfort, or transitional object). It's actually a good sign. It shows that your daughter is finding a way to soothe herself when she's anxious or away from you. So embrace the blankie!

To ward off potential disasters, see if you can find another blanket just like the favorite, and rotate the two so they wear equally. Or you can cut the blankie in half. Wash them regularly so your daughter doesn't get too attached to the smell of the unwashed blankie (ick). And if you establish a crib-only rule for the blanket now, you'll likely save yourself some headaches down the road.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Should I Use Crib Bumpers?

Pacifier Weaning

Baby Sleep Problems

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

re: Q: Are Blankies OK?

My son has adopted the blankie as a lovie also, and thankfully we were gifted with three blankies that have almost identical textures (in fact, two of them do!). Also, they are easy to find at Target, Babies R Us, even Meijer and other convenience stores. They are sold by Carters. Honestly, I prefer him to be so attached to the blankies, because he has gradually weaned himself off of the pacifiers. Just as long as blankie is touching his face he falls asleep beautifully!

ReneeDerek04 |

re: Q: Are Blankies OK?

My son LOVES his blanket. He can sleep without it...but definetly prefers to have it! LOL. He has slept with it since he was about 3 months old.

sarahnbrandon |

re: Q: Are Blankies OK?

You know I found this kind of funny. I'm 12 wks pregnant and 24 years old. I still sleep with my three baby blankets. I think its great that kids latch onto such a neutral security item. I plan on making ones similiar for my baby, and successive babies so they all know the comfort of a security item. Even as an adult I find comfort in such a simplistic thing because frankly, your husband cant be there 24/7 and when I hit those odd weepy moments in pregnancy {I see a cute baby commercial, or adorable little animals, or cute baby clothes} I have something to hold that doesnt judge me for that moment of weakness. {I have two cats and trust me 'they' judge me when I hold them for security.}

FallenAngelic1 |

re: Q: Are blankies OK?

I'm 25, and I still have my blankie. My mom used to ask me what I would do when I got married. I told her that if my husband couldn't accept my blankie, then I wasn't marrying the right man.

AuntJenelle |

re: Q: Are blankies OK?

My son loves his "bankies" we were lucky enough that he isnt too picky on which blanket it is that he picks up, as long as he has one he can drag around the house. We have a no kitchen/bathroom rule for the blankets, (Because that's icky!) and he is usually pretty god when we leave the house. We'd only take one with if its a whole day away from home or a doctor appointments with (gasp) shots. But on the whole Blankets are great! It entertains him and with it not needing to be a specific blanket, helps with equal wear on them (What we did was swap often when he was younger like in the carseats and crib and such. ) Best of luck!!

miss_beckman |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My (almost!) 9-month-old loves his blankie, and it's especially special to me because it was the nursery blanket my mom used for me and my brothers when we were babies. The only downside is it is a one-of-a-kind blanket!

simonsmom05 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

I am 24 weeks pregnant with my first child and am 22 yeas old. I still have my blanket but due to its uniqueness it has gotten holes so it stays tucked away. When my mom realized that it wouldn't last my grandma make an identical one. I hated it. I told my mom that the new one doesn't have any "magic" in it. So i am definetly going to try and have 2 of the blanket my little boy attaches too.

e_behnke |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My daughter is 6 months and she is so attached to her blanket. I got the original as shower gift and would swaddle my daughter in it all the time. She loved to be swaddled only in that one blanket so I went and bought another one. I wash them like every other day and and switch them out so she's using both. It's amazing how that little blankie can instantly calm her down.

Corinne13 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My daughter's lovey is a hat. She gets so excited when she sees it and really holds on tight. If it's not around she doesn't panic or need it to sleep, but she looks so cute when she does snuggle with it. It's an Old Navy one and I had no idea she'd become attached to it this way, so I didn't buy a second one. We are just trying to keep it from getting to be the only thing she'll snuggle with! =) Our sitter said she's never seen anything like it and we didn't think she'd find something to get attached to at 10 months. We also didn't think we'd have a 9 1/2 month who'd already taken her first steps! Love being a mommy!

heidibird1981 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My son has to cuddle with a little blanket before bed time every night, he rubs the fleece on his face to fall asleep...LOVE THE BLANKET!

jensen21b |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My lovey was my Winnie The Pooh. I slept with it until I was 12! I still have it safely tucked away in my closet. I told my husband I want to be buried with it so I can rest in peace. My own baby hasn't chosen a lovey yet, I'm curious to see what it will be!

Stacie2147 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My son's blankie has become the bathrobe I almost always wore while nursing! It's thick and soft, kept me and him quite cozy during the winter. He gets SO excited when he sees it. I figure he learned to associate it with nursing, so it became a part of the whole comfort/nursing/time with mom deal. Now I'm considering cutting it up so he can have his "blankie" in the crib too. Guess I need to find a new bathrobe!

artemis191 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

I used Gerber birdseye diaper cloths and got my baby used to those as his "blankie" pretty early on. I have about 20 of them, I swap them out all of the time and I keep one in the diaper bag, one in the car, many at daycare, many in his room, etc.... It's just a matter of introducing it early on and always giving them the same thing before they are old enough to know what they prefer... :)

citrus4321 |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My daughter is 3 years old and still loves her blanket. The one she sleeps with is very special so she is not allowed to take it anywhere with us or just drag it around the house. My sister made her 2 smaller 'lovies' similar to her blanket (they are all crocheted with baby yarn which is super soft) and she keeps one in the car and we swap them out. She also does fine at other people's homes if they have a crocheted blanket she can snuggle with to it has worked out very well for us. She goes to sleep without a fuss as long as she has a blanket to snuggle with :)

butterflisophie |


What about no blankets because of SIDS risk?

pumina |


My 2yr old loves her doesn't seem to bother her if I give her a different one..she likes the ends of the blankets..puts it by her nose.which relaxes her.yes and she is a fan of stinky 8month old is started to like blankies too

lilmama4882000 |


Mr. Baby loves cloth of any kind, so I give him a burp cloth or one of the little white washcloths I use as nursing pads and he's happy. I call it his "goo rag". He is so cute when he gets a little "goo goo" on his face and he wipes it himself. (7 months old).

murraysmommy |

Q&A: Are blankets okay for baby?

My son is now almost 11, and still sleeps with his blanket! Won't stay overnight anywhere unless he has it! He sleeps with other blankets too, but as long as he has his special one, he is good to go. I haven't ever thought to take it away, because it hasn't seemed to affect him negatively in anyway. He is super smart and very well behaved, so if he wants his blankie then more power to him!

kaelsmommy |