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...

Q&A: Babyproofing suggestions?

Should I wait until my daughter crawls to start babyproofing, or are there things I should do now- before she's even born- to get the house safe?

Re: Should I wait until my daughter crawls to start babyproofing, or are there things I should do now- before she's even born- to get the house safe?

The Bump Expert

There are definitely things you can do now. Ideally, get started at least three months prior to your due date, because some preparations may take time. And don’t forget, this is just round one -- check out Babyproofing, Part 2 once he starts to crawl.

General safety
[  ] Install a UL certified carbon monoxide detector on every story of your house if you use gas or oil appliances or have an attached garage. Check the batteries of any detectors you already have.
[  ] Do the same routine with smoke detectors
[  ] Purchase a fire extinguisher, learn how to use it (and know where it is!)
[  ] Stock your medicine cabinet or first-aid kit
[  ] Post emergency numbers next to every phone
[  ] Install a temperature guard on your water heater at a maximum of 120° Fahrenheit (48° Celsius)
[  ] Get any flaking or peeling paint sealed or removed by a professional, especially if your home was built before 1978. (Dust from lead paint, which was banned from residential use in that year, can be harmful if ingested.)

[  ] Put non-slip pads under all rugs
[  ] Cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers or safety padding
[  ] Block all open outlets with furniture or use safety plugs
[  ] Latch closed any drawers, doors or cupboards within baby’s reach
[  ] Cut any looped blind or curtain cords and install safety tassels and cord stops
[  ] Always unplug and store electric appliances not in use (iron, flatiron, etc)
[  ] Check house and yard for poisonous plants, and move out of baby’s reach
[  ] Always store your own and visitors’ purses out of baby’s reach
[  ] Place baby wipes and supplies within your reach from the changing table, but out of baby’s
[  ] Put a thick rug or carpet below the changing table
[  ] Position the crib away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decoration and cords
[  ] Check all nursery furniture according to our safety suggestions
[  ] If you plan to hook a highchair to your kitchen table, be sure the table is sturdy and strong

[  ] Install an approved rear-facing car seat in the middle of the back seat
[  ] If the sun is strong in your area, put hanging shades on the back windows to block the rays

Are they serious about this?

The baby can't even sit up or roll over for months! Does anyone actually baby-proof their house before the baby is BORN? We are not planning on putting protectors on furniture until the baby can get around on its own!

lizardct |

re: Q: Making Home Safe?

i feel the same way. seems like alot more 'new purchases' on our already tight budget which includes the 'must haves' before baby arrives!

inspiresamia |

re: Q: Making Home Safe?

I agree. My first is almost 4, so our babyproofing days are over, and I just don't have the time before the next one comes to be running around covering outlets and padding corners. Besides, my oldest will just tear that stuff apart anyway.

happysparkle |

re: Q: Making Home Safe?

It's a good idea to do the first section before the baby is born. There is no reason to not have emergency and poison control numbers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher handy. I agree the stuff that baby can reach and get into can wait until they are mobile though.

babymugg |

re: Q: Making home safe?

ah, i'm overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done before our baby boy gets here. i think we'll do the detectors, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher. everything else is going to have to wait til daddy can do it when he's home from work in those first couple weeks.

shepsmama |

re: Q: Making home safe?

What do you even put in the first aid kit for newborn babies?

radebczak |

re: Q: Making home safe?

Good Lord PEOPLE! This is too much unless your newborn is a ninja and can get into all this trouble

Woohoneychild |

re: Q: Making home safe?

I'm on bedrest, and if I can't get into trouble being stuck in bed, how much trouble can my newborn? This will definitely have to wait.

burforda |

re: Q: Making home safe?

the first half makes sense, but until then I'll wait to install everything. i'll probably put some stuff on the registry that way i dont have too worry about getting anything

spazz_mama |

Q&A: Babyproofing suggestions?

We waited until after 4 months. We were just too tired to baby proof and wanted to play it by ear to see what type of personality our LO would have and how inquisitive she would be about getting into things. We found a good collection of baby proofing supplies here:

peggyweber05 |

Q&A: Babyproofing suggestions?

HAHAHAHHAH! re: Q: Making home safe? Good Lord PEOPLE! This is too much unless your newborn is a ninja and can get into all this trouble Woohoneychild | December 31 , 2008 12:54 AM

SaraLiberty |