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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When Can Baby Have Benadryl?

Baby has allergies. Is it safe to give him Benadryl?


Baby has allergies. Is it safe to give him Benadryl?

The Bump Expert

If baby’s itchy or has hives, he could be having an allergic reaction and may need an antihistamine like Benadryl. (If you choose to use a generic brand, look for the ingredient diphenhydramine, since a lot of allergy medications have multiple ingredients.) But before you give baby any meds, always check in with your pediatrician -- especially if baby’s six months old or younger, since it’s easier for him to get sick and you’ll want to make sure it’s really just an allergic reaction, and not anything systemic or life-threatening.

Remember that the proper dosage for baby is based on weight, not age, so to be safe, you’ll want to start off with half a dose: For every 20 pounds he weighs, give baby half a teaspoon of liquid Benadryl (if baby’s under 20 pounds, try one-quarter teaspoon). The medicine will last six to eight hours and typically kicks in within 20 minutes.

Benadryl has a sedative effect (which is why it’s so important to stick to the proper dosage!), but it should be used only to treat allergies and never to help baby fall asleep. If you’re having trouble getting baby to sleep, you may want to start a bedtime routine that includes a bath, a pre-bed bottle and a bedtime story.

Plus, more from The Bump

Tricks for Giving Baby Medicine

How to Keep Baby Cold-free

When Should I Give Baby Acetaminophen?

Dr. Cheryl Wu

Q&A: When can baby have Benadryl?

I too thought my daughter was having allergies, but when I took her to the doctor, she told me babies don't really have them. They are not old enough to develop antibodies, and won't until around the age 2. Turns out she had a summer cold. She also told me that I could give her half a teaspoon of childrens Zyrtec if I wanted to, to help with the runny nose, or I could just let it run it's course without any meds.

Proud Mommy of 2 |

Q&A: When can baby have Benadryl?

I think you should be careful about the benadryl because you don't want to end up at drug testing tucson.I think the best thing you can do is to go to a doctor and ask him because you need certain answers.

MarkieB |

Q&A: When can baby have Benadryl?

Babies CAN have allergies. They're just as susceptible to them as we are, though they can't tell us their throat itches or their tummy is upset. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before giving your baby Benadryl.

JynxGirl |

Q&A: When can baby have Benadryl?

I think you should check your child allergies list before. I'm lucky that I have a friend, who is a doctor specialized in colon cleanser intervention. I ask him anytime I have a medical dilemma.

tylardean |


Actually my dr when I was younger TOLD my mom to give us benadryle to make us fall asleep... he said it was a lot healthyer because its an allergy Med...

shelenawall |