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 Vaccines Safe for Baby?

How do vaccines work? Are they safe, or could they make my baby sick? Are there side effects? And, is the risk worth it -- should I get my baby vaccinated?

Re: How do vaccines work? Are they safe, or could they make my baby sick? Are there side effects? And, is the risk worth it -- should I get my baby vaccinated?

The Bump Expert

According to pediatrician Vicki Papadeas, MD, the benefits of vaccines outweigh any risks. "I firmly believe in vaccines," she say. "In my pediatric lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of diseases disappear. We’re a victim of our own success, in that since we don’t see these diseases anymore, parents forget how nasty they were. People used to line up around the block for vaccines! Vaccines are incredibly safe, and the diseases they protect against (polio, hepatitis, pneumococcal, meningitis, whooping cough, etc.) are incredibly dangerous. In the over twenty years I’ve been practicing, I haven’t seen one child damaged by a vaccine… but I do remember many damaged by the diseases."

Vaccines work by tricking the body into thinking it has the disease. The immune system then reacts, trying to prevent what it thinks is a disease. This is why baby may get a little uncomfortable -- it means the immune system is working. You cannot get the actual disease from the vaccination, and they’ve become much safer over the years. Vaccine technology in general is very advanced, and vaccines can be very pure and specific and cause far fewer side effects than in the past. And, they’re rigorously tested before being released, and must meet very strict safety standards.

"In terms of risk, there’s a risk to life in general," says Papadeas. "But the risk of the disease is far far greater than the risk of the vaccine, no matter how rare the disease may be. The most common side effect is nothing. Sometimes uncomfortable side effects do appear, though, and the most frequent are local irritation, local bumps or redness, fussiness, low grade fever and (this one’s usually acceptable) sleepiness."

Plus, more from The Bump

Tool: Vaccine Tracker

Vaccinations: What Baby Will Need

Bad Reactions to Vaccines

Dr. Vicki Papadeas

re: Q: Vaccines Safe?

I don't think this thread is neutral in opinion. It's absolutely pro-vaccine (I do support some vaccines and don't think it warns of the negatives). NO doctor who has experience should ever say "vaccines are incredibly safe". If that were the case, there wouldn't be a vaccine compensation program estabilished by the Gov't that has paid out more than 1 BILLION in damages over the last decade (only for more serious side effects). Getting a fever and swelling/ redness might be a common side effect but it is not "normal".

121005bride |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

i'm weighing in. we're not vaxing right now at all. i simply don't think it's worth the risk. there is no good reason mercury should still be in any vaccines, and yet it is. that's just one of the many issues i take with vaccines...others include the fact that the CDC pushes vaxes that next to nothing is known about onto programs for the poor (the newest example of this is gardasil)--looks an awful lot like the gov't is getting some free guinea pigs to me.

readytobedone |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

I agree with both sides, we are only vaxing for a few things but not everything as some of the vax's don't seem right to our famnily and others do!

farvesgirl4 |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

I dont think newborn infants should be vaccinated at an early age. They are too young and they are still developing so much. With that being said, I at least think a alternative schedule should be used by parents. Dont start until at least 6 months of age and only do one at a time. This reduces the risk of complications. Also, not all vaccinations are needed. Right now we are not vaccinating at all. Perhaps when my son is older we will think about it more.

ekmaurer3 |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

My pediatrician told me mercury has been removed from all vaccines. If that is truly the case, we will likely vaccinate. But we are NOT having the hep B shot at the hospital, as is typical. We will wait and do it sometime during the first two months.

RunAway |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

I'll weigh in, too. At the least, we'll be vaxing on a delayed schedule and not using any vaccine cocktails (ie, MMR). Every shot will be separate.BUT...I'm really leaning toward not vaxing at all. I have been doing so much reading the last few weeks, and I'm afraid that the research doesn't support the "I haven't seen a child damaged by a vaccine" assertion the doctor makes above.What really concerns me are the ingredients in these vaccines...thimerosal (mercury) is still in some vaccines, though thankfully not as many, aluminum, the main ingredient in anti-freeze, and some vaccines have been cultured originally using human diploid cells (aborted fetuses), etc.For a very informative read on vaccines, check out Dr. Jennifer Cave's "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Vaccines." I got my copy on Amazon. I have since also gotten a book on natural immunity builders for children that shed some further light on the issue.DH and I just feel that since hygiene and better treatment were leading to the decline of these diseases when the vaccines came on the market (polio now is ONLY caused by the vaccine) that at the least, we have to delay and separate vaccines, and will likely be using the conscientious objection that the state of Texas allows us. I really do encourage any skeptical parent to take a look and do the research. If you choose to vaccinate, I believe whole heartedly that does NOT make you a bad parent, nor does choosing not to vaccinate make you a bad parent. Every family has to inform themselves and do what's right for them. Information is key.

baylorbride527 |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

Wow, I'm not letting my baby play with any of your kids! Since everybody seems to be trashing Dr. Papadeas, I'll put in my two-cents' worth. Mass vaccination brings about what's known as "herd immunity", so any weakness in the immunity of the population at large brings about those outbreaks of childhood diseases that caused so much infant mortality in our grandparent's day. People today totally forget the infant mortality caused by infectious disease in the prevaccine era - not to mention the ongoing struggle in developing countries today, where they must consider it ludicrous that people in affluent countries have this sort of debate. Do you really want to wait until your baby lands in an ICU for a complication from the measles/flu/chicken pox/etc. because you and your neighbors refused to vaccinate the kids? Do you want to put your unborn baby at risk of birth defects or death because your assorted friends refused the MMR and a rubella outbreak occurred? No, the medical establishment isn't making a bundle by peddling vaccines - childhood vaccines are cost-effective to society by preventing needless hospitalizations of both kids as well as the elderly (as in the case of the pneumonia vaccine). It annoys me when supposedly educated people in affluent countries rely more on anecdotal evidence than epidemiologic data to defame one of the great medical successes of our lifetimes. People who refuse to vaccinate their kids are public health menaces. There, I've said it.

quooz |

re: Q: Are Vaccines Safe?

I agree with Dr. P on this issue. I feel that vaccines are much safer than the diseases that we are potecting aginst. Im not saying that vaccines are perfectly safe, because nothing much in life is, but I feel that they are much safer than the life threatning disease that we are protecting against. Many of these disease vaccines are protect aginst, people dont see anymore, so we ALL forget how terrible they are. In working in the medical feild I have actually see children with some of the disease we vaccinate children for, in under vaccinated children. When I saw a young 2 month old with pertussis, I knew that was something I would never want my children to go threw. Just because we dont daily see these diseases doesnt mean they are gone. I do believe it is a parents choice in what they do for their children, but also know not vaccinating children put them at risk too.

Davelacey2k5 |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

I had a severe reaction to vaccines as a baby and then again as a teen and almost lost my life each time. My doctor could not guarantee that my children would not have the same reaction (as he said, there is a reason that you have to wait in the office after vaccinating) not could he guarantee that the vaccine would work (they don't always do) so I decided that the safest thing was to not vaccinate. All four of my kids have never seen a needle and I am very comfortable in the decision. I am way more scared of the vaccines, then the diseases that they may or may not "protect' against.

paxye |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

There was a PBS special about vaccinations a while ago called "the vaccine war." I highly recommend that everyone watch it the WHOLE WAY THROUGH if they're wanting more information. Trust me, being a PBS program, the tv show does allow for you to see every side of the debate. If you're still not sure, ask your grandparents about some of the diseases that we vaccinate against today. Let them tell you what they remember about them. There HAVE been outbreaks of some of the diseases that were ALMOST wiped out through vaccines... Remember that any time that you say you don't want to vaccinate him/her, you put your child at the risk of contracting one of these diseases.

dmurrie |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

Before you decide not to vaccinate, please keep in mind the outbreaks of the supposedly rare diseases, such as pertussis recently. The area where I am an ED nurse has also seen mumps recently, and we had a public health warning of measles from not vaccinated immigrants. Keep in mind that while you might not send your child to daycare, every time you take you or your child out to a store you are exposing them. I would also remind everyone of the H1N1 outbreak last year, and how many children and pregnant women died. I know there was no vaccine initially, but think of how scary that was! Please at least consider vaccinating against the flu!

katieandnick |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

I think it's a fool who claims to be more afraid of a vaccine than a disease, someone whose obviously never had that disease or seen someone with it. And pulling out aluminum and saying it's bad because it's in anti-freeze, it's also in antiperspirants, maalox & mylanta, and cookware in much higher amounts. Of course you need to be informed, research the vaccines, but understand there are alarmists out there who want to scare people, you can't put your child at risk for conspiracy theorists.

LupMar92 |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

I was shocked at the first few posts to this. I also will be vaxing my child and specifically because there are parents that are choosing not to. As the doctor says everything comes with a risk (proven by the writer that said they did have bad reactions as a child, This would be a legit reason to hold of on vaxing) however most of the payouts that people get come from lawyers will to sue for anything and people settling rather the putting up the fight. I would much rather risk the very small chance that something would happen then put my child through the pain and even deadly chance of having a diseases like whooping cough and hep.

gusjaim |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

Vaccines are incredibly safe - I think this statement right here should scare you. Nothing is ever incredibly safe. If you did research on this beyond just what your doctors and the government tell you, you'd realize there isn't controversy over this topic for nothing. I could go on because I personally have had people in my life dramatically effected forever by vaccines as well as done a lot of research on my own. All I can say is go find out for yourself before you take a strong stance on this. I personally think that they can test and deem a vaccine "safe" but they are not taking into consideration that kids sometimes receive 7 shots in one visit....until they have tested the outcome of those 7 shots all mixed up inside an infants body....I don't trust it. Do your research, seriously. You don't have credentials to discuss this until you do. And one side note - there are great pediatricians that don't agree with the doctor on this post. Some don't even vaccinate their own kids, but they'll vaccinate yours. Because they recognize the risk. Just research it, that's all I can say. AND DON"T JUDGE UNTIL YOU DO.

Prayhard08 |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

My daughter now 8 months has been vaccinated. She had a reaction to pertussis (inconsolable crying, lasting more than 3 hours (it lasted 2 days) and there fore can NOT have it again! which is insanely frustrating, since so many parents are refusing these shots,and are putting my child at even more of a risk! pertussis can KILL your baby. I refuse to keep her locked up, but every time i leave the house, it is something i will always have to think about, if she chooses to travel out of the country, she will be at high risk. Do i LIKE giving her these shots? especially after she had a severe reaction to one? no, of course not, but i feel the risk of the shot, is better than the risk of the disease that has killed SO many people in the past. to not vaccinate is selfish. and people should have to tell other parents that their children werent vaccinated, i will be damned if i allow my child to get sick, because you are ignorant enough to be more afraid of a shot, that COULD harm your child, than a disease that WILL harm or at worst KILL your child.

CarlynHelene |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

As a nurse, I have seen some very sick babies as a result of not getting vaccinated. These diseases are nasty and DEADLY. The research suggesting a link between autism and vaccinations was not very rigorous. I am a conspiracy theorist myself, but in all honesty, even if autism were linked to certain vaccines.... autism won't kill your baby. These nasty diseases can.

haileyq |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

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tareelolo |

are-vaccines-safe-for-baby

For real, all these parents that don't want to vax their kid I better not see them give their child soda, McDonalds, processed meats like hot dogs, French fries, kool aid or anything else's that can give them diabetes, clogged arteries etc. fresh fruit, veggies and lots of exercise. What the parents who won't vax may not realize is that there are more toxins and poisons lurking about in our everyday lives that can kill us. Preservatives and chemicals in most our foods and drinks. Do you plan to put your child in a bubble to protect against everything possible substance that "research" has proven to POSSIBLY be harmful? Or just those substances that have been proven to save lives? I agree with the person who said parents in less developed countries must think us insane for having this debate. I can't imagine how horrible it would feel like for those mothers who sit by helpless and watch their child die. I vaxed my son. God forbid he have a reaction from them. i did it to help him. But how horrible it would be if be got one of those diseases and I could have prevented it! If you don't feel comfortable with them getting all vaxs at he same time ask your doc to spread them out.

casheh |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

The difference between eating, drinking, and being exposed to environmental toxins is that that are not being INJECTED directly into our bodies where our "filters" are bypassed. Vaccinated children spread disease through shedding posing a threat to everyone; vaccinated, not vaccinated, selectively vaccinated, immunocompromised, elderly, infants, etc.. Herd immunity was originally defined as communities where many people came down with diseases -survived- with which they developed lifetime immunity and mothers helped pass immunity or protection for the early months/years to their unborn babies. But if herd immunity through vaccination was true, then there is no way diseases would be so minimal (here in the US) with all the adults who do not keep up with their boosters they are essentially unvaccinated. Vaccines have not been studied enough to conclude their safety; Some of the inserts even have SIDS and Autism as an adverse reaction as well as symptoms of the disease itself! Yes, there is risk to life in general and that is where parents need to make an INFORMED decision based on their own research and not what government and pediatricians (who are generally not educated about vaccine ingredients) suggest. I really could go on and on but I will finish with this: No parent is obligated to put their child or self at risk of adverse reactions from vaccines just to TRY preventing another person from catching a disease. Why should another person be more important than the person and family most directly affected from vaccination?

jtapc90 |

Q&A: Are vaccines safe for baby?

Everyone is going to die with or without vaccinations, that's what we deserve and that's what we get, if you really want to do your child well you will share the power of Jesus Christ with him/her and forget about the rediculousness of being upset at parents who decide not to vaccinate their children.

herescnd |

Are Vaccines Safe for Baby?

Most of them are safe and if you are interested in your baby's health, you should really consider doing at least the first ones in the first weeks of his life. What happens next it depends on you, you should keep yourself healthy too while you are pregnant and while you are breastfeeding. There are many programs online that you can use, Whole Body Health is just one example. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others.

siedna |

Are Vaccines Safe for Baby?

A vaccine is designed to improve your child's immunity. Of course that nobody can keep your child safer than you can but in the battle with germs, medical treatments are better. It is the same as if you had metabolism problems and you know the benefits of Lap Band surgery. Sometimes getting help from an exterior source is better than fighting a battle that you can't win.

siedna |