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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Baby Is Clingy! How Can I Cope?

Baby wants nothing to do with anyone but me. How can I get some time to myself without making him miserable?


Baby wants nothing to do with anyone but me. How can I get some time to myself without making him miserable?

The Bump Expert

Ah, stranger anxiety. This is perfectly normal and actually means baby’s getting smarter -- he knows you’re the best at taking care of him, so he wants to keep you very close by. He will grow out of this phase, but in the meantime, let friends and family know he’s going through a shy phase so A. they should give him ample time to warm up and B. they shouldn’t be insulted if he doesn’t.

One way to encourage him to broaden his social horizons is to sit with him while someone else engages him with a toy, game or song. Then, once he’s into it, try leaving the room. Chances are he’ll forget about you (not forever!) and have fun with his new friend.

"You have to push through," says parenting coach Tammy Gold. "If baby cries when grandma holds him, resist the urge to take baby back. Say, 'It's okay. It's Grandma!' Show him it's fine to be with other people by exposing him to them." Leave baby with other people for short intervals and then gradually increase your time away.

It may also help to give the sitter, family member or friend really specific instructions about baby's preferences. They may never be as good as you are at singing baby's favorite song or rocking her that way she likes, but they can get pretty close. And that can help baby warm up.

Paula Kashtan

re: Q: Coping With the Clingies?

My daughter is almost eight months and just started to cling to me. I come into the room and she wines until I hold her. My husband is starting to feel bad about it because, she doesn't seem to want to be by him once she sees me. Any suggestions?


Q&A: Coping with a clingy baby?

My 7 month old is going through the same thing with her dad too. i have started leaving him and her together to spend time together without me. He seems to really enjoy the time to bond with her and she gives him a big smile when he enters the room. He really eats that up too!!! If you cannot get away, then let him get her dressed in the morning or let him feed her at night or bathe her. It will start to kick in soon, but the key is to letting the child bond with others without you being there.

pinknpistachio08 |

Q&A: Coping with a clingy baby?

Our Baby was the same, I found that the more attention I gave her the more comfortable she was around other people. I think this made her feel safe to explore if she was reassurred I would be there for her when she had anxiety. My husband was the same way about the baby not being close to him, and he intentionally started spending more time with her and now she wants him all the time! He gets up with her in the morning and plays with her till I wake up and then again at night before she goes to bed.

Dolcebaby |

Q&A: Coping with a clingy baby?

My 8 month old just started doing this this week. We are on vacation and she finally has me to herself 24/7 and she doesn't want anything to do with my husband. He works nights so most times it is just me and her anyway but when she finally gets time to spend with her daddy she doesn't want anything to do with him. At home I can at least slip out of the room to use the bathroom but here she flips out if I leave her sight. I even had to put her pack and play in our room so she would go to sleep. I hope that things even out once we get back home. Granted I love spending all of this time with her and it melts my heart that only mommy will do because we waited a long time for her but some days you just want to go pee by yourself.

punkyboosmommy |


I started working about 2 weeks ago and my 4 month old was ok with at first, but last night had such a fit, my mom/ babysitter had to bring him to my work so I could soothe him. The second he was in my arms, he was the happy, giggly little boy he always is. What can I do to his anxiety? ??

Spaghettio87 |

Q&A: Coping with a clingy baby?

My LO is almost 9 months now, and the separation anxiety in the past month has been exhausting. He used to be so social, with a smile for anyone. Now not only does he refuse to go to anyone but me (even people he's familiar with) he's even starting to be clingy when it's just me and him at home. He often cries when I just put him at my feet with some toys while I brush my teeth or wash some dishes. As soon as I pick him back up, he's all smiles. It's very frustrating! Any suggestions of how to make this phase pass more easily would be awesome!

laurareese2010 |