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...

Q&A: Keeping baby safe in the sun?

It's starting to get hot outside... can the sun and heat hurt my baby? How should I protect him?

Re: It's starting to get hot outside... can the sun and heat hurt my baby? How should I protect him?

The Bump Expert

Baby needs to be kept cool AND kept safe from those nasty UV rays. (Meaning, while instinct may tell you to yank off that onesie, it’s not quite that easy -- the more clothing you remove, the more skin is exposed.) According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies under six months should stay never be under direct sun. To shield that virgin skin without blocking the breeze, dress baby in thin, loose, light colored clothing, and cover as much skin as possible. (You should do the same for yourself!) Use a bit of sunscreen to protect any exposed skin, or simply keep baby shaded with hats, umbrellas, etc. (And yes, small amounts of sunscreen are ok to use on baby -- more info on this.) Can’t resist the urge to strip down? No problem. If you use a baby carrier with built-in sun protection, a diaper and hat are all baby really needs. Try a mesh version for maximum air flow.

Liquids are another major part of your summer cool-downs. Be sure to keep baby (and yourself) hydrated, and take advantage of any opportunity to get wet. Can’t make it to the pool? Try carrying a small spritz bottle of chilled water in the pocket of your carrier.

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 |

Previous Article:
Q&A: Is TV bad for baby?