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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How Do I Keep Baby Safe in the Sun?

Can the sun and heat hurt my baby? How should I protect him?

Re:

Can the sun and heat hurt my baby? How should I protect him?

The Bump Expert

Yep, baby needs to be kept cool and protected from those nasty UV rays. So while instinct may tell you to yank off that onesie, not so fast -- the more clothing you remove, the more skin is exposed.

Babies younger than six months should never be under direct sun and shouldn’t wear sunscreen, says Paula Prezioso, MD.

To shield baby’s delicate skin without blocking the breeze, dress baby in thin, loose, light-colored clothing and cover as much skin as possible. Keep baby shaded with hats and an umbrella.

Once baby hits six months, cover any exposed skin with sunscreen. Choose a brand specifically for babies with an SPF of 30 or more, and reapply every hour to two hours. “It doesn’t have to be $100 sunscreen,” Prezioso says. “It’s even okay to use a store brand.” Here, a few Bumpie favorites:

Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen. “It has zinc oxide and is a physical, not chemical, barrier so it's effective immediately and doesn't have to soak in for 15 minutes. It does separate though.” -- SandAndSea

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen. “My son has had eczema and very sensitive skin and this works well for him.” -- Cwalker27

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream. “It’s been great for our fair-skinned little boy. We live in a sunny climate and he gets covered in this every morning before we set out, and it has worked every time.” -- happytotmom

Blue Lizard Baby Australian Sunscreen. This doesn't smell, which I like. My son has never had a burn with it, even when out at the beach for hours. I reapply every two hours.” -- lavalil319

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen. I've used it on baby since he was only a few months old and we have no problems. Love it. It lasts for ages even though it's a small container, so to me it's worth the price.” -- dmogma

Expert: Paula Prezioso, MD, is a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and clinical associate professor of Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby Skincare 101

When Can Baby Swim?

Summertime Safety for Baby

The Bump Editors

re: Q: Sun Safety?

Please note that babies under the age of one year should not be given water unless directed by a pediatrician.

QueSara74 |