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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Q&A: Starting baby on regular milk?

When should I switch from formula or breastmilk to regular milk? What kind of milk should I give my baby? Should I switch gradually, or all at once?

Re: When should I switch from formula or breastmilk to regular milk? What kind of milk should I give my baby? Should I switch gradually, or all at once?

The Bump Expert Once baby hits age one, his digestive system is able to handle the proteins in cow's milk. (Unless your pediatrician recommends another kind.) 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. Make the switch from breastmilk or formula to cow's milk (always whole -- the fat it contains is important for development) gradually. Since it isn't as sweet, many babies initially balk at cow's milk. Try starting 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 |