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 Start Baby on Regular Milk?

When and how should I switch baby from formula or breast milk to regular milk?


When and how should I switch baby from formula or breast milk to regular milk?

The Bump Expert Once baby hits age one, his digestive system is able to handle the proteins in cow's milk, says Janelle Aby, MD, medical director of the Well Baby Nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Before that, they could cause an allergic reaction causing gastrointestinal bleeding.

Baby should have whole milk until age two, since the fat it contains is important for development. Talk over cow's milk vs. soy and other milks with baby's doctor, if you're interested in giving them to baby. Some parents are set on organic milk, but it's not a necessity. "There haven't been any studies looking at clinical benefits for infants drinking organic milk as compared with regular milk," says Aby, "so although many people are willing to spend extra for organic milk, we don't know if it's really better."

To be honest, the switch is probably less exciting for your baby than it is for more measuring out scoops of formula or subjecting your breasts to the pump. Since it isn't as sweet, many babies initially balk at cow's milk. Start out by mixing one part cow's milk with three parts formula or breast milk, and then increasing the proportion of cow's milk each day over the course of a week or more. Chances are, he won't even notice the transition.

The Bump Editors

re: Q: Switching to regular milk?

What are the benefits and risks to regular and organic milk? All my friends are giving their babies organic milk (and I am too). My husband tells me that I'm just falling into a marketing scheme, and that I shouldn't spend the extra money on organic.

kbiddle |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

My husband and I have been drinking organic milk for years now and when my baby starts drinking cows milk, organic will be the only milk my baby gets. Organic milk comes from cows that have been fed only organic healthful grass and grains, no waste products or downed cows in thier feed. Also the cows that produce organic milk are not given any antibiotics or growth hormones. When a cow is given anything it comes out in thier milk and you in turn take it into your body when you drink this milk. I believe the overuse in growth hormones in animals and our consumption of these animals or thier byproducts is one of the reasons the female children in our society mature so much quicker that they should. 9 year old girls are getting their menstrual and getting breasts. this is something that should come at a later age. I feel organic produst are a much healthier option for my and my babies consumtion.

kristina_mh |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

In the US cows are treated with growth hormones so organic milk is much healthier. In Canada we have much stricter laws and cannot use growth hormones etc. So in Canada there is very little difference between organic and not.

lindsaymariehoward |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

We switched my daughter to whole milk last week - she turned 1 on Sunday! I know that some babies can get constipated from milk. My daughter isn't constipated but is having very hard stool. Any suggestions on helping her with this?

rmeddy |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

I noticed they suggest mixing the cows milk with formula or breast milk. When I did that for my little one he vomited then had severe diarrhea for days after. I was told by a pediatrician don't mix them at all as the baby can have trouble digesting. @ rmeddy I'm sure you've figured this out but a tablespoon of light karo syrup in the bottle helps constipation and it's not gonna hurt your little one.

americasalas |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

In a lot of states, day care regulations require little ones to be drinking only milk by age one (unless you have a note from a pediatrician documenting an allergy or sensitivity). Our pediatrician suggested starting to integrate a sippy cup of milk a day at about 10 months then gradually start replacing bottles with cups of milk. That way we're weaning off formula and bottles all at once! She knows milk comes in a cup and not in a bottle.

courtdiane03 |

Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

I also heard that sometimes babies can get constipated from milk. If that happens, you should do him some colon irrigation.

deanjohnson |

How Do I Start Baby on Regular Milk?

I'm all for personal opinion when it comes to what we give our children however I strongly disagree with kristina_mh when she says that the "hormones" that are given to cows are what make young woman develop sooner. I really hope you look at what you use on your skin as it's the largest organ of your body and what you put on it is absorbed in less than thirty seconds. The minuet traces of hormones that do show up in cows milk is a lot less hazardous than all of the estrogen-masking mineral oil that you put on your skin numerous times a day... And there are tons of names that "mineral oil" goes by, some are even appear to be unpronounceable. Not only is the mineral oil bad but the US is the largest purchase or rendering plant fat; for those of you who don't know what a rendering plant is, it's where dead animals are taken, cut up and boiled and the fat that rises to the top is skimmed off and sold to the cosmetic and personal care products industry. Ever wonder why it seems like EVERYTHING made under US standards has some sort of fragrance added...?? It's to cover up the smell of this cheap filler. I'm a proud dairy farmer in the midwest; don't blame our cows for early puberty in girls when it's the products our girls use on the skin daily from shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, lotion, all make up products, chapsticks and perfumes that are much more toxin to their health than cows milk. And P.S. it is illegal to feed a cow another cow or "downed cow" as you put it which just means that they're injured, not dead. You should really do some more research before you start posting false information on a public forum. I'll get off my soapbox now.

DRipp |