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.

baby registry

need to buy a gift?

Find baby registries (at top retailers!) and websites with one easy search.

what's hot around the web

you asked...

When Should Baby Drop a Nap?

When do most babies go from three naps to two? Is there a general rule? How will I know when it's time?

Re: When do most babies go from three naps to two? Is there a general rule? How will I know when it's time?

The Bump Expert

In general, babies move to two naps around six months of age. However, every baby is different -- it's just as common to drop the third nap at five months as it is to drop it at nine months. Therefore, it's important to read your own baby's cues in determining whether she's ready to make the transition.

The third nap should already be the shortest nap of the day. You'll know when your baby is ready to drop this nap when she begins resisting it day after day. As a general rule of thumb, if your baby struggles (or outright refuses!) to nap for a week straight, it's time to graduate to two daily naps. A few days of nap resistance isn't a clear indication, though. She may be teething or hitting a milestone rather than saying she's outgrown her nap. But, after a full week of protesting, the message is clear: Make the decision to drop the nap and don't go back.

If baby is having a hard time staying awake in the late afternoon once you drop the third nap, you can push her bedtime up by 15 or 30 minutes so she doesn't become too overtired. At worst, you may have a cranky baby for a week or two at dinnertime. Things will eventually get back to normal, though.

sleep experts conner herman and kira ryan Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, cofounders of Dream Team Baby

re: Q: Dropping naps?

My baby actually seems to be dropping his morning nap first. It used to be at least a 2 hour nap, but for the past week or two it's been 45 minutes to an hour and a half. His two later naps seem to be shifting up earlier.

Scuba_Girl |

My son is 24 weeks old and seems to only want 1 nap per day no matter how tired he is. if he goes to sleep it's usually only for 15 minutes to half an hour and he's still tired when he wakes up.

reibermom |

Reblemom, is your baby a soother baby by any chance? (Does he use a paci, or are you his human paci at night?) Often soother babies don't take long naps. This was true of my son. He now takes longer naps after we did some cry it out sleep training. He can now sooth himself at sleep time. Once he learned this, he started taking longer naps! Might be worth looking into! We especially liked The Sleep Sense Program by Dana Obleman.

dnavinson |

My daughter is also 24 weeks and takes 4 short (mostly) catnaps a day. She just recently dropped her 5th (yes 5th nap). She is the type of baby who gets overstimulated very easily and I couldn't imagine trying to keep her awake in order to take only 2 naps a day, she would be a wreck! Although its really hard planning my day around this crazy nap schedule, I guess its what her style of napping is. Ive tried everything. We've done cry it out at night (with pretty good success) and a couple times during the day. The crying didn't increace the nap length, she just went down later than ususal, so I gave that up and still rock her to sleep for naps. I just wanted to put this out there in case there is anybody else in my situation that wants someone to relate to!

brookemarrelli |

Brookemarrelli - sooooooo glad to hear that you are also dealing with a 4 catnap a day baby!! My little guy is 24 weeks and I've been trying to cut him back to 3 naps a day (I can't even imagine only 2!!). Some days I get lucky and he'll go down three times - it usually depends on what time he wakes up. He sleeps GREAT at night, so I won't complain too much. I also rock him to sleep for naps . . . Don't worry - you're not alone!!

kirkland122 |

This is comforting to read as my 16 week old catnaps 5-6 times a day and rarely sleeps more than 45 minutes at a time. I thought this was totally wacky, but it's better knowing that other babies do this too. She sleeps a 9 hour stretch at night and has been for awhile now, so I can't really complain too much, except that she is going through her 4 month old wakeful period now and so is waking up at night occasionally. But this too shall pass!

marthaylee |

Mine's a 3 a day cat napper. I don't complain bc she sleeps about 10 hours at night. My trick to getting her to sleep longer has been putting a pillow on her back/side. The old switcharoo. And replacing my breast with her blanket with the animal head. When she's tired I put her on her stomach and pat her back. If she's tired she'll winge maybe lift head once then drop and pass out. If she lifts her head more than 5x and winges she's not ready. I hope this teething thing doesn't mess it up!

sofabass |

My son is 24 weeks now and he has only been napping twice a day since he had his 2 month check up. Once the doctor told me to feed him more and set him on a schedule he moved himself to two naps a day and sleep from about 8:30pm to 8:30am. He is still crying himself to sleep most nights but he is getting better at soothing himself.

jmg1983 |

My little man, 24 weeks, has a pretty good schedule. In the morning he doesn't wake up till 830 or 9. He eats breakfast and plays for about 2 hours then by the time 11 or 12 rolls around he is fussy fussy! He usually takes a pretty good nap, 2 to 3 hours. He's a one nap a day kind of baby but he does have some days where he will cat nap for about 15 minutes at a time.

carenichole |

My little girl is 24 weeks but has been down to 2 naps/day since she was about 4 months. She sleeps from around 8:15 pm to 6:15/6:30am, eats, then goes back to sleep until around 8:15/8:30 am. Her first nap is usually around 11/11:30 and lasts about an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Her afternoon nap is usually around 3:30/4:00 pm and usually lasts until around 5:30. I thought it was weird that she was only taking 2 naps/day so early, but she sleeps for a good amount of time so I guess that is just what works best for her.

rosebud12582 |

My little girls is 24 weeks old and has always been a once a day napper- about 3 hours worth in her swing. Unfortunately she will NOT nap without her swing :( So, if we go anywhere she will not nap and gets very cranky!!! My husband has even been known to bring the swing with us. Any suggeations for getting her to nap without her swing?

jennyford_rn |

jennyford - have you tried using a bouncy chair or rocker. My son is 27 weeks and takes his two afternoon naps in his rocker- if we didn't have this we would have a very cranky little man.

ASK81906 |

Mine is 23 weeks now and does not have anything remotely resembling a schedule. Everytime it seems as if he is keeping to a schedule for a few days, he surprises us and changes. We also work/sleep varied schedules bc we work 12 hr days 3 days a week and usually sleep late on days off. He usually goes to sleep somewhere between 10:30p and 2a for 11-12 hrs with 3-4 quick feedings during the night! Then, during the day, he takes catnaps, usually for 15-45 and usually in my arms. when i try to put his down he wakes up crying. he averages 2-5 catnaps a day! Its so stressfull! And he always keeps us guessing. Sometimes he falls asleep at 8p-10p (and we are excited for the rare alone time in the early evening) but then next thing we know hes awake and ready to go for several hrs more. Anyone else have these problems?

cvelez919 |

Our 24week old used to go to sleep later than any of our friends babys. Between 10pm and 1am. And she barely napped. No real napping schedual, just some random catnaps. A) we discovered that she loves noise so we got a noise machine and use it for bed time and nap time if we can. And B) we did what we never wanted to do..... We started an evening routine. Originally we started at about 8 or 8:30 and now with the success we've moved to earlier, a 7:00pm start. We give her a bath around 7:00pm. Out by about 7:20. Massage her with some burts baby oil. Put her into her pajamas, then breastfeed for anywhere from 15min to an hour until she's asleep. Usually this works and is asleep anytime between just before 8:00pm and 8:30pm. Usually she sleeps through the night ('till 7 or 8:30) or sometimes she wakes up sometime between 4:00am and 6:00am, nurses and goes back to sleep. (sometimes she decides she wants to stay up and play for an hour or so but not usually). Naps are inconsistant, but lately she takes a morning nap..... 9 or 10am for an hour or so. She likes to sleep while walking her in her carrier and in the car so sometimes we can trick her into an early afternoon nap by going out with her. And in a perfect situation she can get a nap in around 3 or 4pm, but she's been known to miss it and then we have to keep her up 'till bath time or we're going to have a late night. She definetely steers off the tracks of our "routine" every so often especially since we like to have late nights, travel, go out to parties and music events, but we try to keep it together. The biggest suggestion though is to try the bath before bedtime routine. It changed our lives!!!

moishe |

Babies are babies and at this age they are the bosses=). But my little one is 24 weeks and she has 2-3 naps a day, depending on how she feels that day but her one afternoon nap is between 2.5-3 hrs long and sleeps 8-10 hrs at night. She has been an awesome sleepe since she came out =).

mommiekat |

My Daria just woke up one day and decided that three naps were simply just too many. She'll be 5 months Feb. 14th and our day starts at 7am around 2-3pm shes ready for nap one. I feel thats entirely too long to stay woke. But not Daria. just a week ago she was going back to sleep after her first bottle of day, waking back up at 10 for breakfast (rice cereal). Now shes back sleep at 3, stays up till 6 and then she'll take a 10-15 minute nap and shes down for the night no later then 8:30. it works for us so i guess shes on a pretty good scheduled.

MyJoyIsHere92010 |

My baby is 6 months old (27 weeks) and she still takes 4 naps a day. I nurse her in her room between 7 & 8am and then she goes back to sleep within 1/2 hr, for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. (this is MY time of day, to workout, shower, eat, etc.) Then she has solids & nurses for bkfst, lunch & dinner, and she plays and naps in between each. Her naps last anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2hrs, with 45 mins being average. After being awake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, she's showing signs that she needs to sleep. She practically begs to be put down at times. Then we do our bedtime routine starting anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30pm, she gets one last nursing session, and then is asleep usually no later than 8:30pm, and sleeps through the night. She's been sleeping through the night since about 3 months. She is definitely an awesome sleeper! I'm sure that she will wean herself of naps when she's ready. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the naps while they last! (At 42 with first child, I need all the down time I can get!)

funiaz |

My little girl is 24 weeks and she naps 3 a day, she is awake for two hours before she starts getting sleepy. She goes to bed at 8pm and is up at 5:30 6:00 am know matter what time i put her to bed, i can put her to bed at 8 or 11pm and she will still wake up at the same time. How do i get her to wake up a little later? I would cut out a nap but she gets to crabby when she miss her naps! Please help me!!:)

buges |

My little honey (24 weeks) has been on a nap schedule since 3 months. A key part of getting him on a sleep schedule has also been feeding him at the same times each day. He's on a 3-3.5 hour feeding schedule. I feed him at 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10. Two days into working on his daytime schedule (at 3 months) and he was sleeping through the night! He goes down for all naps and bedtime in his crib (unless we are out somewhere). I've tried moving him to 2 naps a day, but he still typically can only make it awake for 90 minutes, or so. He naps for about 4.5 hours a day (usually 3 naps). We put him to bed around 7:30 pm, semi-wake him at 10ish for one last feed and he sleeps til 7 (usually). If I didn't feed him at 10, he'd wake up to eat around 5 am. He never wakes in the middle of the night anymore, but sometimes wakes up at 6:30 am. Overall, I'm very happy we put him on schedule and helped him learn how to self-soothe. He is a happy baby and I am happy mama!

LilyLou |

Anyone have advise, my 24 week old son, sleeps maybe 2 or maybe 6 times a day. It varies day to day. He never sleeps for more than 15 mins, and at night he does about 4 hr stretches. Up usually 3 times per night. He is a soother, only falls asleep while breastfeeding. I know it is wrong, but I need some sleep too. So I get it any way I can. He is a big boy at 20 lbs and was born at 10.2. He is now working on his 3rd tooth, so things have changed slightly over the last 3 days, going down for 7 hrs at night then up every 2-3. Not sure if that will last. The Ped says he is just a nosy baby and that is why he doesn't nap. But omg, I need some time to get things done. Thanks for listening....

itchy1215 |

My 24 week old daughter, takes about 3 naps the first she goes done right after her first bottle and she sleeps for about 2-3 hrs, then at 12 or 12:30 for only maybe an 1hr, then again at 3 for about an hr. then goes to bed anytime between 8-9 and gets up anywhere around 5-7 depending on how tired she is. My problem is she will not take a nap in her crib she will only sleep on us or on our bed, but at night (bedtime) she sleeps in her crib all night. how can we get her to sleep in her crib (she will only last 15 mins tops.)

1stprincess |

My daughter is 5 and a half weeks old and takes only one 1 to 2 hr nap a day. She for the most part is a soother baby. The problem that I'm having is that she wakes all the way up EVERY SINGLE TIME she pees on herself, so of course I have not gotten a solid 6 to 8 hrs of sleep yet since she was born. Is anyone else's baby waking up like this?

sexymilf1 |

Don't worry sexymilf1, my little one is 24wks and I have only had a solid 6hrs sleep three times since he was born!!! He still feeds two (sometimes three) times a night. He's a daytime catnapper - can go about 2.5 hrs awake then naps for 30min (sometimes 45min). Unfortunately, he also doesn't seen to be interested in going to bed early, no matter what I try with bedtime routines - over the last three weeks I've managed to move his bedtime back from midnight to 10.30ish yet he's still ready to start the day around 7am, aaaargh! Luckily he's a very happy mellow baby, but boy would I like some sleep & to be able to get things done. (Oh, he still feeds about 3hrly despite having solids three tines a day - aaaargh!!!!).

Bindhie |

My son is 20 weeks old, he was born 4 1/2 weeks early. He sleeps between 9-12 hours every night and has been for more than a month. The occasional night when my husband and I stay up we'll hear him randomly begin talking. It is soft and never wakes us and he soothes himself and goes back to bed as he pleases. He generally takes four naps a day ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. If he stays awake and skips one he'll sleep twice as long the next time. He's gotten to where he doesn't show an interest or apparent need for a nap but as soon as I lay him down to get something to eat he goes right to sleep. I'm not sure if he's ready to nap less or if he still needs the sleep since he goes so easily.

jesseiler |

My little guy is 24 weeks today, he sleeps 12 hours over night(probably more if I didn't have to wake him to go to work), and he takes on average a 3 hours nap in the morning, sometimes 4. If his morning nap is less than 3, he'll be good to take a nap that afternoon. He goes to bed at 7p.m. though, so I hate to give him a nap too close to bed time! I've tried to keep him up longer, but he just fights it and cries. He is already letting me know he loves his bed! :)

jtfrank |

My daughter is 20 weeks today but i haven't managed to establish a daytime napping schedule with her, however she has a set bedtime she sleeps from 8/8:15pm until 4:30am, she has a bottle and goes back to sleep untill 7/7:30am. She naps at around 11am and depending on how long that nap lasts she may have 1 or 2 more naps during the day sometimes it lasts up to 2 hours sometimes it barely lasts 30 minutes i don't know why its so flexible!

taloool |

My 22month old daughter goes to bed at 9pm and doesn't get up till 9-9:30. (she's sleep thru the night since she was 2months old) plays till about 1230-1 then takes a nap in her swing any where from 15 to 45mins. Then most days another short nap around 330.and bed at 9 (every night other wise a very unhappy baby)

arzprincess85 |

My son is 24 weeks old, he's been sleeping through the night since he was about 9 weeks old. I can't remember the last time he took 3 naps in a day. He usually wakes up and plays in his crib from 530 or 6 to 630 or 7. Then he eats, and plays till about 930 or 10 at the latest. If I let him he'd sleep for up to 5 hours for this nap but I'm trying to get him on a scheduel that normal human beings keep. But when I put him down for his second nap beween 230 and 3 he might sleep for half hour to an hour if I'm lucky. He wakes up and is still so tired but will NOT go back to sleep. The last couple days I've put him on the floor leaning on the boppy with his bottle of water and that (along wwith the company of our dog) seems to satisfy him till dinner and then bath time at 630 is followed by a soothing bedtime massage top him off and down for the night by 830. I really miss that second nap and being on my own it gets very hard to get things done when he puts up such a fight.

JennMarieMunch |

My little man is 24 weeks and we just went from 4 naps to 3. My husband heard somewhere that babies shouldn't be awake for more than 2 hours... then I looked it up and saw that he should be getting to TWO naps a day and I was shocked! So, now he goes to bed at 9pm, wakes and eats at around 4 or 5am, goes back to bed until 7am, naps at 9:30am (for about 40-45 mins), naps again around 1:00pm (long one, about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs), then naps one more time around 5:30pm (40-45 minutes). It works for us because he gets over tired, OH MAN is he a mr. crankypants.

bubbles42 |

what seems to work well for my baby boy is an hour nap in the morning and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon then bedtime around 8-9pm.

BriParker09 |

Leo will be 6 months this month. He wakes up anywhere from 7:30 am to 8:00 am. The has his breakfast around 9:00 am. Then he has tummy time, jumper time, playmat, sitting up. Then around 10:30 - 11:00 am he has a little 4 ounce bottle, then he usually passes out. His morning nap is anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. I was worried about him sleeping too much, but I have read and friends n family agree...a well rested baby is a happy baby! SO TRUE. So when Leo wakes up around lunch he is changed and fed his fruits and bottle. Then we have more play time and or go and run errands. He usually stays awake when we go shopping but will sleep in the car. I am in the car for no more then 15 mintutes so it's a pretty short nap. Then he has an afternoon bottle and likes his 45 minute nap. Then it's play time and at our dinner time, he has his veggies and bottle, and his bath at 7:30 pm and around 8:00 - 8:30 his night time bottle with rice cereal and he sleeps till the morning! Rinse and Repeat :)

lajenner |

My son is 24 wks today & has only just started taking 2 naps a day - he only ever took 1 nap a day before. Up between 6 or 7 am, breakfast, play, 1 hr nap around 9 or 10. Wake, play, lunch, 2 to 3 hr nap around 2-3 pm. Bedtime at 9 pm. And he is the absolute best at self soothing & just having alone time. When he wakes up he usually plays & laughs by himself for 30-60 minutes!

Tallulah72 |

My daugher is 20 weeks, but was 3 weeks early (so gestational age is 17 weeks). She takes 4 scheduled naps during the day. Wakes up at 6:30 to feed. Sleeps from 7:30 to about 9. Eats at 9:30. Sleeps from 11 to 1. Eats at 1:30, sleeps from 2:30-3 till about 5. Feeds at 5, sleeps from 6:15-7:15. Bedtime is at 8:30. We did the 90 minute sleep program, which advocates that babies operate on 90-minute intervals (awake 90 minutes, asleep for 90 minutes) and with age, this cycle increases by 90 minute intervals again (so, awake for 3 hours, asleep for 3 hours). It was worked very well for us. She definetely cannot stay awake longer than 2 hours at a time, or she will get very cranky. I think at 6 months we will move up her bedtime to 7 and will drop the 4th nap, so she will be at 3 naps then. But she is extremely well rested and happy.

addielaw |

I really dont schedule naps for my daughter. I read her cues, and she usually naps when she feels its appropriate. Sometimes, if she gets extraordinarily cranky, i will try to encourage her to nap, but she really knows whats best for her as to how many naps she needs and how long they should be. Her schedule can vary day to day, and I just go with the flow. The result is a happy, healthy baby that isnt restricted by a schedule.

markscn |

My son is 4.5 months old and he sleeps about 11 hours at night (so wonderful) and he takes 4 naps during the day that vary from 1-2hrs. He typically starts to get fussy after being awake for an hour and a half. We are definitely schedule people. I used suggestions on eating, wake times, and sleeping from Becoming Babywise. That's a fantastic book!! I think once he starts eating solids in the next month I'll be able to stretch out his feedings to 4 hours apart and he'd only nap 3 times, then we'll gradually put him to bed earlier for the night (until we reach 12 hours of sleep), therefore cutting out the need for that last (3rd) nap. I keep a baby/mommy blog: littlebabyjohnson.wordpress.com

sarahjnsn |

I need help... my baby is great.. takes great naps through out they day, ususally 3... one around 10:30am, one around 3pm and another short nap around 6:00pm... we are trying to drop that 6pm nap... however she is not sleep through the night... She goes down after her bath around 8:30pm, wakes again at 2:30pm and then again at 5:30.... how do i have her sleep through out the night?

jsquill09 |

I would follow the lead of your child. Every baby is different and some may need more sleep than others. Some adults require more sleep than others so why do we think babies are any different? I let my 24 week old nap on demand and have been doing it since she was a few weeks old. Early on she napped most of the day. As she got older she self regulated to about 3 or 4 naps and then down to 2 or 3. Lately her naps have been shorter and longer apart. We usually only "put her down" for a nap when she's overtired. Otherwise when she looks like she's starting to get tired, we let her wind down and fall asleep herself. We've always had her nap in high traffic areas of our house so she can get use to sleeping with normal levels of noise. Maybe we are just lucky that our daughter was able to self regulate her sleep patterns without much intervention from us but we must be doing something right when it comes to sleep. She was 4 weeks old when she started sleeping through the night. She probably gets about 8-10 hours at night and another 3 to 4 hours throughout the day.

chm0815 |

When Should Baby Drop a Nap?

After the first 12 weeks when my daughter would only sleep in my arms in the day, I finally got her to nap in her bed. She would only sleep for about 30-45 minutes at a time and was having 5-6 naps a day, but it seemed to be working for her so I just went with it. Now she's shifted to having one mid morning nap, one around midday, another in the mid-afternoon, each lasting 1-2 hours, and occasionally a 20-30 minute cat nap around 5pm. I just found that following her cues was the best way to go, rather than trying to force a routine. Sometimes she has a hard time falling asleep for that mid-afternoon nap, even though I can see that she's tired, so instead of forcing the issue, we sit together and look at a book or sing some songs. That usually helps her wind down to the point where she can fall asleep.

erin2011 |

When Should Baby Drop a Nap?

my son is 24 week in other words 6 months , he use to take 3 naps each nap was up to 30 minutes to 1 hour , now i started noicte his only taken two nap so im pretty lucky that he started doing it on his own and i didnt have to do it myself , Xoxoxo

AlexMCUEEN |

When Should Baby Drop a Nap?

I really dont schedule naps for my daughter. I read her cues, and she usually naps when she feels its appropriate. Sometimes, if she gets extraordinarily cranky, i will try to encourage her to nap, but she really knows whats best for her as to how many naps she needs and how long they should be. Her schedule can vary day to day, and I just go with the flow. The result is a happy, healthy baby.

Knottie08209572 |