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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What Can I Do When Teething Is Affecting Baby's Sleep?

Thankfully, our child is usually a good sleeper, but now that she’s teething, her nights are totally thrown off. What should we do?

Re: Thankfully, our child is usually a good sleeper, but now that she’s teething, her nights are totally thrown off. What should we do?

The Bump Expert

Cutting an entire mouthful of teeth is a long process -- two to three years -- and the experience of teething varies from child to child. Some babies are very sensitive teethers while others pop out tooth after tooth without any evidence of pain and suffering.

For a sensitive teether, typically the most painful teething period lasts two to three days. During this time, make baby more comfortable. During the day, cool teething toys are helpful. For nighttime, sleep experts Conner Herman and Kira Ryan recommend Infants' Motrin for babies older than six months. Check with baby's pediatrician before giving your child any medication.

If you decide to use a pain reliever, give it about 15 minutes before bedtime, say Herman and Ryan. Then, if baby wakes up at night and lets you know she’s uncomfortable, you can give her another dose if at least 6 to 8 hours has passed since bedtime. Keep these nighttime visits as quiet and unexciting as possible. And if she’s inconsolable at night, do whatever you need to do to make her feel better. She’s naturally a good sleeper, so assume she’ll fall back into that routine after this intense teething period passes.

This heightened pain should subside in a couple of days. But, as always, trust your instincts. Each child is different and you know your daughter best. Here's what worked for Bumpies:

"At night we use Motrin -- it seems to work much better for baby than Tylenol." -- lpinman

"I put baby's teething toys in the fridge. That cold really helps." -- 12105mrsmon

"We tried an amber teething necklace and it didn't help at all, even though some moms swear by them. A frozen washcloth was her favorite. I put several washcloths in water and then ball them up individually and wring them out and freeze them on a cookie sheet. She will chew and slurp on one for almost an hour." -- Tina206

"My daughter has a teether that vibrates when she chews on it. It's the only teether she'll take." -- MJK8

"I had a bag with about an ounce of frozen breast milk in it. I'd break off a little chunk with a spoon and give it to baby to eat." -- lisab612

"Every time baby is done teething, her sleep habits go back to normal without us doing anything different." -- mamaL

Experts: Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, cofounders of Dream Team Baby and coauthors of The Dream Sleeper: A Three-Part Plan for Getting Your Baby to Love Sleep

sleep experts conner herman and kira ryan Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, cofounders of Dream Team Baby

Q&A: Teething affecting baby's sleep?

Our daughter is going through the same thing and our pediatrician told us that their teeth move during the night causing their sleeping patterns to change due to the discomfort. He suggested Motrin before bedtime and Hurricane teething gel. These combined have worked for us!

toriholmes |

Q&A: Teething affecting baby's sleep?

Our daughter is almost 9 months and seems to be showing the signs of teething for over a month. She had an ear infection so that seems to have clouded the signs. She is now moaning and crying during the night. She falls back asleep, but I am worried that she is in pain. I don't want to be pumping medicine down her if she isn't teething, so how do you know?!

slwymer |

Q&A: Teething affecting baby's sleep?

Hyland's Teething Tablets work miracles!! They are homeopathic and dissolve pretty quick in baby's mouth. I try to only resort to tylenol if if the tablets don't cut it, which is rare. My daughter is not quite 6 months so we can't use ibuprophen yet but this works.

texasmama10 |

Q&A: Teething affecting baby's sleep?

Please be cautious with herbals. Hylands has recently had a recall. Here is a link to the NDCs They say the recall is due to possible adverse events. Please know that herbals are not regulated by the FDA. There are no rules to when the crops are harvested, what pesticides are used, etc. I am a pharmacist in in school we would run an assay to see how many mg were in these products and would find tablets with 1000 mg instead of 1 mg due to lack of regulation.

it'll happen |

What Can I Do When Teething Is Affecting Baby's Sleep?

There are creams made from herbs that offer a slight relief when a tooth erupts. Also, you should go with him to a dentist to see if the pain is from the teeth. The dentist will advise you what to do next, but don't forget that a Dental Maintenance is very important for your baby to have healthy teeth.

marta8080 |