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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Q&A: Baby's nine-month checkup?

What can I expect at baby’s nine-month checkup?

Re: What can I expect at baby’s nine-month checkup?

The Bump Expert

The good news: Baby may not need to get vaccinated at this visit. Whew. Bad news: If baby missed any previous vaccinations, it’s payday. Other than that, the nine-month checkup is pretty routine for a well-child visit. Your doc will measure and weigh baby to make sure they’re growing at a healthy rate. It’s normal for baby’s growth to slow down at this age, so don’t be worried if changes aren’t as rapid as they were months ago. Your doctor will also check baby’s iron level (overly pale skin is a sign of anemia and iron deficiency) and teach you how to treat common ailments like earaches, fevers, and diarrhea. At this age, babies are likely able to feed themselves some finger foods, drink from a cup, make sounds and gestures, respond to their name, bear weight on their legs (with or without your help), and have the vision and hearing of and adult, so your doc will also check to make sure all of these developments are up to par. Remember to come prepared with questions so you don’t leave without addressing all your concerns (no question is stupid). The next well-child visit isn’t until baby’s first birthday!

Bump Dara

Q&A: Baby's nine-month checkup?

what they do at the nine month checkup

claudia jones |