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: Car seat safety?

How can I keep baby safe in the car?

Re: How can I keep baby safe in the car?

The Bump Expert

The most important thing you can do? Strap the little one into a car seat! (The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agree.) But are you doing it correctly? Here are a few tips:

Look for a good fit. Make sure the seat fits baby and your car. The AAP suggests trying it before buying it: Strap baby in and install the seat in your car. If both go smoothly, this is the model for you.

Read the instructions. We know it's tempting to just figure it out, but please -- read through the instruction manuals for both your vehicle and your car seat! (Check for advisories on your seat belt labels too.)

Babies to the back! If baby is less than two years old and lighter than highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer, she should be riding in a rear-facing seat. Also, make sure you stow your little one in the back seat, particularly if your car has a passenger airbag (which most models do nowadays).

Keep them seated!
From age two until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer, children should ride in a forward-facing seat. After that, until they're about eight years old, or 4 feet, 9 inches, use a belt positioning booster seat. Once they've outgrown the booster, make sure they properly strap in with the lap-and-shoulder seat belt.

Make sure it's locked.
If your seat belts don't have an automatic locking mechanism, you can purchase a locking clip to be sure baby is secure.

Get it snug. Be sure the car seat fits as snugly as possible to the vehicle's seat. Press on the seat, and pull the seatbelt until it is as tight as possible.

Get an inspection. Get your seat-installing skills checked out by your local NHTSA office. They maintain Safety Inspection Stations in every state to help moms like you.

Drive safely. Set a good example for your little one by always remembering to buckle up. After that, car safety is up to you and your defensive driving skills.

-- Updated August 29, 2012

Plus more from The Bump:

How to Buy a Car Seat

Top Ten Car Seats

The Bump Editors

Q&A: Car seat safety?

"Look for a good fit. Make sure the seat fits baby and your car. The AAP suggests trying it before buying it: Strap baby in and install the seat in your car. If both go smoothly, this is the model for you." That's pretty stupid considering you have to have a car seat in order to take baby home from the hospital.

authorofdreamz |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I think it's all up to you to check the feedback people leave on websites for specific car seats. Also Working on your car to make sure the sits are safe and now wobbly is very important, just as it is to keep it in a clean good condition. That's what makes it safe or not.

ada360 |