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...

How Can I Entertain Baby?

I'm trying not to let my baby watch so much TV, but I sometimes have trouble keeping her entertained and engaged. What can I do differently?

Re: I'm trying not to let my baby watch so much TV, but I sometimes have trouble keeping her entertained and engaged. What can I do differently?

The Bump Expert

Baby’s needs and abilities will change along with growth, but active playtime is extremely important during the first year, when the brain is developing at a fast rate. Always keep your baby’s physical and mental development in mind when playing together, and remember -- you can have fun, too! Some things to think about as you play:

Encourage exploration
Don’t stick baby in a playpen for too long. Take her out and let her explore the room. Babies love to crawl over things, so put some pillows down and let baby navigate her way around them.

Release your inner child
When your baby is able to crawl, get down and crawl with her -- kids love it when you’re down on their level.

Give baby a workout
It’s important for baby to develop her muscles, and you can show her how. Wiggle your toes, stretch your arms and shake a rattle, so that baby will mimic your movements. Work those arm muscles by giving baby light and small toys to pick up or hold on to. Make sure she's getting enough tummy time; pediatrician Cheryl Wu, MD, says baby has to be on her front to practice using her arms and holding her chest up -- a precursor to crawling.

Change it up
Stimulate baby’s mind in different ways -- don’t just stick to the same old toys all the time. Blow bubbles at your baby in the park or show baby how you can build different things with soft blocks. In the early months, baby will watch more than play, of course, but you can stimulate reflexes, imagination, and awareness simply by showing her how you play.

Crack open a good book!
Don’t underestimate the power of reading to your baby, who naturally loves the sound of mommy’s voice. Pediatrician Preeti Parikh, MD, encourages parents to read to baby by at least six months. Baby has a short attention span, though, so be sure to have plenty of interactive books on your bookshelf. Touch and feel, lift-a-flap and scanimation books are especially fun.

Paula Kashtan

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

To be honest I feel like it all depends on the baby. As a single mom I usually always have something on the TV, and sometimes I use a movie for him as a type of babysitter to keep him entertained while I do laundry, cook, clean... etc. But my son who is now turning a year old is more advanced than all the other babies his age. His motor skills are just amazing, he has been walking since 9 months, and has begun to climb. His babysitter is amazed at how advanced he is for his age. I'm just saying that I personally don't see an issue with allowing your baby to watch TV. As long as he/she is still getting interaction from you.

hlldh |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

TV is strongly discouraged... it's passive rather than creative and imaginative interaction. My sister's school has asked parents not to let children watch TV before school as it deadens their brain and they don't participate in class. Maybe try music!?

Fgsp |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

OMG TV as a babysitter... *facepalm*

missmery |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I've found that my 3 month old is extremely entertained when Mommy and Daddy act silly. We make up songs for everyday tasks, contort our faces and make gross noises, and just have fun. I hope Baby will still laugh and smile at this as he grows older.

jenniferelle |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

My baby has always been entertained with her baby einstein play mat & jumperoo. Also, just laying her on a blanket & offering new toys to play with keeps her very occupied.

KimL7 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

TV can be a lifesaver actually. My kid will not go to sleep without the TV or radio on. She needs the voices and the light to sleep for more than a half hour. When she is awake We try to do various forms of entertainment but that TV is a good part of keeping her calm when I have chores to do. Shes doesn't even look at it. It is more a soothing thing.

eraneo2 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I make everything fun! My two month old hates getting her clothes changed so I make it as exciting as possible. I sing to her a ton and make up silly songs. I talk out loud to her about everyday things like I would another adult. If I am watching tv I explain what is going on in the show to her n comment on it in funny voices. She loves puppets too! If I want to take a good pic I grab her bear puppet that I put one of her head bands on and it captivates her when I make him sing n dance above the camera. I have so much fun with my girl and am always looking for new ways to make her smile. TV isn't good. Kids need to use their imagination and learn how to entertain themselves! I can't remember ever watching tv as a child unless it was a kids movie as a family! How could anyone think tv is a good thing?!?! It deadens their senses n brainwashes them! Your robbing them of their childhood and crucial skill building! Yes we have chores but bring your little one in the kitchen of laundry room in a walker or bouncy chair with some baby toys, put on some nice music, and dance around or act goofy while going chores. Kids love watching their parents! Or tell them a story while u work. Open the windows, get sunlight in the house, and help ur kids learn how to use imagination n entertain themselves. Unless you want them to grow up being z couch potatoe! Don't be selfish... Or lazy. Kids deserve better then a tv babysitter. Maybe a half hour to an hour Max a day of kids shows. Or if your watching with them and interacting that's different.

JocelynElizabeth |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

im not a great singer but i sing to my son a lot. i make up songs and i sing when im changing his diaper, giving him a bath, during tummy time etc. he loves it. i always get a smile out of him.

orionsmom18 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

Try a monthly box of goodies from citrus lane we love ours and it gives us new things to try out and entertain our 6 month old baby girl with every month! I don't think I could do without them!

Pipsicle |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I let my 6 mo watch about 15-30 min of T.V. once every 1-2 weeks. It is strictly educational ONLY. Baby Einstein, Shapes, colors, etc. I only buy educational toys, and, being my 4th boy, we have millions of books for every age so we have lots of board books in every size that he really loves. He might not understand what's being said but the bright pictures and the sound of my voice keeps him entertained more than anything else. He loves love to hear me sing the words too! V Tech has some really great lights/sounds story books as well. I agree too much T.V. is definately not a good idea. How do they develop social skills without social interaction? Minimal social interaction = maximum separation anxiety which is no fun for anyone involved!

VickieLynne73 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I interact and play with my 8 month old a lot...but he is also a high energy child. So after spending time/playing with him and working i need a nap but cant take one when he does b/c i have other daily chores to do or need to prepare for the next thing or maybe eat and shower. So the t.v. definitely helps me out through the day to keep my own sanity. We love baby einstein and veggie tales and watch it together and talk about what we see. It's true that he shouldnt watch it all day but depending on the situation it may be necessary. I strongly believe in doing everything in moderation. other activites: going for a walk in the with lights/music. flip books...finger play songs...get a sheet/blanket and have it gently cover his face and then lift it up and have it glide back down then lift up...holding him and hopping up and down

pabubbles16 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

You can get a Dish network Tucson because you can get many interesting programs for little kids such as yours, however you should not let him watch tv all day long.

MarkieB |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

Getting outside and seeing new things together. Going on adventures with baby on your back, front or in a stroller is invigorating and bonding for both of you!

nikkibs |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

Different stimulation, as much outdoors as possible, play, play, play, it's how babies and children learn, go on adventures together, read, sing, dance, jump, go to the zoo, the aquarium, the pool, the park, anywhere new, talk, talk, talk to the baby even if you think s/he doesn't understand what you are saying, be creative.

nikkibs |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

My daughter is 8 months old and absolutely loves watching Lamb Chop re-runs, so we watch them together when I have the day off. She also gets plenty of play time on the floor and loves to play with our two dogs (they can entertain her for hours).

stephcham87 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

Singing and playing and listening to music are wonderful for babies for so many reasons!

nikkibs |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

All I can say is that every child is different. I have a special needs child who's physical problems have set him back in development. Often I have to use nemo to get him to sit still so I can give his medications and breathing treatments. He has 50 toys and is bored with them all. I can't keep up since toys are very expensive. For him TV has been a good thing but I also interact during the movie. I say the lines and he ends up only partialy paying any attention to the tv itself. It can be a good thing as long as used in moderation and with parent interaction. My point is, the research has not been definitive on whether it is good or bad and every case/baby/parent is different. I won't judge anyone for their parenting style. The fact that kids aren't paying attention in class may not even be related to it. Again, there are no proven studies. Only theories.


Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

Please don't let your baby watch T.V.! It amazes me that people use T.V. as a babysitter and don't think anything of it! I am a teacher and I strongly believe that too much T.V. and at an early age contributes to ADHD, ADD and a lack of ability to learn to think for yourself. Please play with your baby and use things that stimulate her/his mind like music instead of screen time!

heatherlavielle1 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I agree with some of the comments - My baby is 16 months old and has been "watching TV" since she was born. When she sleeps, I play the classical music station on a radio in her nursery. It's highly recommended to expose your children to classical music. During the day, when she's awake and plays, I ALWAYS have either baby TV or a Disney movie on. It is more or less just background stimulation. She has her favorite moments (a certain theme song, whenever she hears animal sounds, etc) and I think it's great that she has something to look forward to and enjoy. Also as a bonus, it gives ME something to watch. I'm not going to put on a crime show or reality TV when the baby is in the room, but to have something on the TV to watch keeps me entertained as well. My baby is at the age where she doesn't always want to interact with me, she's more independent. So when I'm in the room to watch her, but she doesn't not want me to interact with her directly, having the TV on gives me something to do. Obviously we enjoy other activities like books, toys, and good ole' rolling around and physical play. But TV is NOT a bad idea.

jennifercapps |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

I have twins, and it is VERY hard entertaining both babies 100% all day. So what I normally do is start off with some tv for about 15-20 min so I can prepare bottles for the next 24 hours. Then at the end of the day when my husband and I are eating, we give them a little bit before we do their night time routine. I do NOT like using the television, but honestly with twins sometimes I have no choice.. you need a breather every now and again. There is nothing wrong with that. I'm not sure I would use television if I had 1 baby to be honest. I find a lot of babies who sit in front of the television all day end up being tv zombies. I try my best to continuously keep my boys entertained but sometimes I gotta reach for that tv button just to get 5 minutes of quiet. I also work with special needs, and I'm sorry, I do not buy the crap that television is a link to ADD and ADHD. There are so many excuses for why things happen with children, there is no need to make parents blame themselves for their child having a disability. That just disgusts me. As parents, we may not agree with what everyone does, but there is no need to place blame on the decisions that parents made in order to keep their sanity. Sorry!

meggo1611 |

Q&A: How can I entertain baby?

My daughter had a healthy balance of creativity, reading, and TV. I would read to her, bang on the pans, run around the house, and when it called for it I would definitely use the TV as a babysitter. She turned out to be a very healthy, VERY smart 20 year old woman going for her engineering degree!! I'm very proud to say that yes! I did leave the tv on and she loved it! But I also read and sang and danced.... balance!!!

rlgauthier88 |