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.

baby registry

need to buy a gift?

Find baby registries (at top retailers!) and websites with one easy search.

what's hot around the web

you asked...

Holiday safety tips for baby?

How do I keep the house safe for baby during the holidays?

Re: How do I keep the house safe for baby during the holidays?

The Bump Expert

Heading into the holidays with a new baby? If your little one is mobile, you might want to rethink some of your old decorations—all those sparkles and lights will draw baby in like nobody's business. No, you don’t need to play the Grinch; just take a few extra precautions. Check out the tips from parent coach (and mom) Alexandra Blumencranz, CPC, founder of Positive Parent Coaching Inc. in Clearwater, Florida.

The tree
If you'll have a Christmas tree this season, be careful with what’s in reach of crawlers or toddlers. “Keep glass or sharp ornaments off the bottom of the tree, with only plastic or wooden ornaments on the [lower branches],” says Blumencranz. “Keep in mind too that branches are also easy things to grab.” You certainly don't want the whole tree tumbling down! So what's a mom to do? Take a cue from Blumencranz's own holiday routine: For the first few years as a mom, she bought a four-foot tree and placed it on a table atop a pretty cloth. That way it was festive—but out of reach. Can't sacrifice the eight-foot sparkling wonder? Baby gates are always an option.

The accessories
There's no need to throw out all of your festive décor, but make sure you aren't placing anything dangerous within baby's grasp. Check garlands and wreaths for small things that could be ripped off and eaten, and if you’re buying dreidels, make sure they’re too big for baby’s mouth. Also, be wary of older strands of lights that might get very hot. Candles should be kept out of reach too. Mistletoe and holly can be toxic, so secure them where they can't be easily knocked loose. (Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are perfectly safe.)

The gifts
If your holidays are usually punctuated by mounds of packaging, just keep an eye out for anything that could be too sharp or too small. While a wad of wrapping paper can actually make for a decent toddler distraction, Blumencranz warns that ribbons and bows can get wrapped around baby's neck or even eaten, which is especially dangerous if held together by a staple. Also, quickly toss any plastic packaging left lying around when gifts are opened—it's a major suffocation hazard.

The goodies
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas...there's one thing that pretty much all holidays have in common: food. And lots of it. “Be careful of hot dishes or pans,” Blumencranz says. When the buffet is laid out, do a quick check to push back anything that baby could reach. And, if your kitchen is brimming with Aunts, Grandpas and hot plates, consider keeping the kiddos clear by setting up another room with a few baby-safe holiday games, crafts or silly toys. For Thanksgiving, check out the cute turkey headbands from Pottery Barn Kids; for Christmas, the KidKraft Santa Stacking Train at Target; or for Hanukkah, let the little ones decorate their own cardboard menorahs, like the ones at

Erin van Vuuren

Holiday safety tips for baby?

Holiday safety mainly depends on your location. For example, I would offer different advice for long stay parking Heathrow. So I guess that you should tell us a few locations first and then people could help you.

ZumbaMadness |

Holiday safety tips for baby?

Another option for tree safety that we needed to do is to tie two strong but slim ropes around the tree about 3/4 of the way to the top of the tree and secure them to the wall. That way, when our little one did try to pull off ornaments and branches, we felt good in knowing the whole thing wasn't going to come toppling down on him. Just be sure to secure the lines into something sturdy- we used hooks like you might hang a light fixture from your ceiling, but installed them to the wall at studs.

erocksbean |