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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Is It Time for Baby's First Haircut?

When can I give my baby her first haircut? Where should we do it?


When can I give my baby her first haircut? Where should we do it?

The Bump Expert

Well, that depends on your own preferences -- and on baby’s head of hair. (Some are bald; others come out with a ‘fro. Some cultures are adamant about shaving newborns’ heads; other parents wait two years or more.) For simplicity’s sake, it may be best to at least wait to grab the shears until baby can hold up that wobbly head. After that, it’s up to you. There often comes a time when it just seems necessary, or when you’ll start imagining baby with a cute little cut. Once you’ve given it the go-ahead, decide whether to save a snip for scrapbooking and make an appointment. You can do it yourself, if you dare, or try out a local kiddie salon. Children's salons make for fun outings and are often equipped with colorful toys and videos for distraction.

Need advice to keep baby from squirming around? Here, Bumpies share their tips.

"The mirror helps my baby sit still. She is fascinated by her own reflection!" -- KTCMama

"My daughter is almost three so sitting still is a serious trick! Usually there is some sort of animation involved like a movie or an app on the tablet." -- Stephanie R.

"My little guy stops whatever he's doing when he hears music." -- Linzee

"I tell my daughter she has to sit still to be safe like Dora; that usually works." -- Jacklyn

"My son's lovey, a paci or mommy's face usually gets him to calm down and sit still, for now!" -- DA

The Bump Editors

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

My MIL insulted me b/c we had not cut our sons hair yet, he's almost 1 yr old. I didn't see the issue. The baby has cute little pieces that curl around the bottom of his hairline in the back. My husband and I love it, we think it gives him a little character and identity.

mockpero |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

I've been struggling with when to cut my son's hair. He'll be 4 months old next week and seems way too young for a hair cut, but it's getting a little ridiculous. He was born with more hair than some kids have at 18 months. I was thinking I could trim the areas that are so long and decide from there. I definitely won't bring him to a kiddy cuts place until he's older.

emilyw1981 |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

RE: baby's 1st haircut My son is almost 12months old. We took him shortly after his he turned 11 months. I didn't really want to cut his hair, but we had too. The sides were starting to tickle his ears. It was hard to tell if he was teething or getting an ear infection. We finally took him in to the pediatrician who told us it might be his hair. (He had no other infection signs or symptoms - just rubbing his ears). The little guy sat on his Dad's lap to get his hair cut. As for where to take him, I would recommend someone that you are comfortable with. We took him to my husband's barber. I would definitely ask if they would be comfortable cutting an infant's hair, since they move a lot and don't sit still.

avsfan20 |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

I was intending to run to the local pharmacy to ask the pharmacist whether there was anything I could give my baby to make his first hair cut done by myself more comfortable, but I stumbled upon this site and was convinced that I should contact the kiddy salons instead!

onlinedoctor123 |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

Great advice from all. Another thing I might add is to bring a spare T-shirt in case your baby does not want to wear the salon's cape. Also, be sure to choose a good time for baby's haircut appointment (not when your baby is hungry or during nap time). For all of my tips on first haircuts, see this blog post: Cozy Friedman Cozy's Cuts for Kids

CozyNYC |


I always wait until after the first birthday because of the soft spot

margo30 |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

i was told by the dr to wait until 1 year old because it could cause stuter

gorda2012 |

Q&A: Baby's first haircut?

My friend had her son's hair cut at 7 months - at a local salon. She wrote a blog about her reasoning and the experience:

cvduhe |