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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What Should I Do When Baby Won't Stop Screaming?

Baby's developed a habit of screaming at the top of her lungs. I feel like I tried everything, but she keeps doing it. What should I do when baby screams?


Baby's developed a habit of screaming at the top of her lungs. I feel like I tried everything, but she keeps doing it. What should I do when baby screams?

The Bump Expert

Screaming? We've been there. Remember that, though highly annoying to us, even yelling is a learning experience for children. Babies and toddlers don't have the ability to decipher where it is acceptable to yell and where it is not. They like to yell to hear their own voices and at times they like to scream to see the reaction that comes from their parents.

Consider whether baby's screaming is age-appropriate exploration or a form of expression, says parenting coach Tammy Gold. For example, is she screaming because she is bored and trying to get your attention, or is she screaming because she got excited? In babies less than a year old, it is really just age appropriate expression. Begin to give baby messages such as 'We do not scream in restaurants,' or 'We do not scream at home,' and then distract her and offer another option, Gold. Try something like, 'instead of screaming, can mommy hear you laugh? Let's laugh together.' Laughing, singing and even jumping are all ways for her to get out excitement without breaking the noise barrier.

As baby grows older, her comprehension will improve and she'll be better able to respond to your directions of 'no.' For the time being, you can direct her to where she can (a park) and can't (home) scream. You can also verbalize what she is likely feeling: "Are you screaming to see your friend? That's wonderful! Let's give her a hug." Verbalizing as well as distracting might help to minimize some of the screaming. The rest will go away as she gets older and adopts other physical and verbal tools by which she can express herself.

Here's how Bumpies say they handle a screaming baby:

"We go outside! The fresh air works like a charm." -- Diana M.

"I do squats with her in my arms or wear her in the Boba wrap. Calms her immediately." -- Megan P.

"Into the bathtub with her!" -- Holly L.

"I Play The Beatles' 'Here Comes the Sun' or 'Let It Go' from Frozen." -- Jessica C.

"I let her nurse. It's comforting to her and always calms her down. The cuddling and warm milk is nice and soothing." -- Lindsey E.

"I hold her while walking around. The second I sit down with her or put her down, she resumes the fit." -- Kaliaunna B.

"I check the diaper first, then a nice warm bath followed by cuddling, rocking and singing softly." -- Sarah C.

"A car ride with a window open or cracked, depending on the temperature." -- Abbi H.

"I give her to dad." -- Stephanie C.

"Vacuuming and soulful R&B music. Puts her to sleep every time!" -- Gwynne C.

Tammy Gold

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

I am a first time mom, and my baby girl is almost 9 months and i have noticed recently everytime i put her down in her crib and tries to leave the room she would cry and cry. I don't know if this is a phase she is going through and would stop eventually, i hope so and soon.

dennie25 |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

we struggled with the same thing when our son was 10 mo. We tried everything: feeding him, changing him, distracting him, pacifier, singing, saying no, and nothing worked. After a 3 hr road trip of constant screaming we decided we HAD to try something. My parents suggested putting something with a lot of flavor on his tongue each time he screamed. We tried wateed down lemon juice. We kept a small bowl next to us while we played and if he screamed, we dabed a little lemon juice on his lip. It didn't upset him or make him cry, it just distracted him and surprisingly it worked like a charm! We only had to do it 3 times and he stopped screaming. I'm not sure that lemon juice is the best choice, but I would think anything with a striking flavor might work. It's worth a shot!

crundquist |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

My little monster does the same thing anytime you try and feed her lay her down make her do anything she might not want to do or do really anything but play with her she SCREAMSSSS. I cannot figure out why or what is going on all the doctors say it will pass but is is wearing on me. Any tips you have figured out.

natashalleras |


Dennie, i have and 8 month old and we are having the same issue. I read that since separation anxiety begins to appear at this age, lo might just be anxious about you "leaving " at night. After they get used to the idea that yiu will still be there in the morning, its supposed to get better. I am starting to see an improvement...

melokia2007 |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

I have a 10 1/2 month old girl, and she started screaming a couple of weeks ago. There is no rhyme or reason for it.. she screams when I put her down, pick her up, is in her high chair etc. It is definitely trying.. I just tell her " no, no" when she does it or say "shhh". I know it's just a phase, but it makes being out in public very difficult. I'm hoping it stops soon!! The joys of motherhood ;)

devoncrabtree |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

Our DD is 37 wks now and screams constantly at home..... And then there's yhe clinginess-- Im a SAHM so really no need for sep anxiety. However the worst is the head buttin/ head banging, and face punching.

meque183 |


My 9 month old loves to scream. We have taught her signs for milk and more. When she screams, I ask her what she wants. If it is milk or more cereal puffs she can tell me. She is much happier now that she can tell me what she wants. She still screams because she likes the sounds she makes in various locations and the attention she receives from screaming. As with my older two, positive quiet reinforcement will help your darling exit the screaming stage sooner rather than later. Good luck.

Net40 |


My 11mo old loves 2 shriek & scream at the top of his lungs when he gets excited. Every time he sees the cat he screams in his face and cat goes running. Also having head butting probs as we'll. been doing that since he was an infant but his hard head really hurts bc he can be really forceful. Sometimes he does it in his sleep but my head & teeth r taking the brunt of it! Actually cut inside of my mouth from teeth from a head butt bleeding pretty bad. Any advice on the screaming or head butting?

Jamesmama |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

I still haven't figured out why my baby screams and I have tried putting her in the crib when she does, and go away then come back nothing works. This is my fourth and last child I have never had this issue and now it's becoming a issue at daycare> They call me to come get her sue to this. It's so unbearable only my parents can watch her. HELPPPP She is also 11 months old and this has gotten worse lately not better.

lrobinson2012 |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

My son is about to be 11 mo and he does ALL of this! I thought I was alone with a weird tiny screamer and head butter (something he just started doing). He's been a screamer for months and it started because he was excited, now he knows it gets our attention, so he does it more. But lately, he will do it at random at the top of his lungs, I think mostly because he likes the way it sounds. I will try the lemon juice trick and see what happens, maybe he'll think twice? Or maybe he'll learn to like lemons like I did as a kid. Sigh, Lord pray for us mommies!! :)

Moni8106 |

Q&A: Baby won't stop screaming?

My little monster is also 11 months. And I have to say, our day care lady is wonderful. She has begun teaching sign language in place of the screaming. This we try to reinforce when he gets home. So far he is able to tell us "more", "eat", "milk", and "all done." I am greatly pleased with what a short ammount of time it took to learn. There are many websites out there that help you learn the signs so that you can teach them to your little one.

carinawittmier |