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 Are Some Tips for Transitioning Into Day Care?

Baby's starting day care. Any tips for making the transition as smooth as possible?


Baby's starting day care. Any tips for making the transition as smooth as possible?

The Bump Expert

Communicate. Speak openly and honestly with the center's staff, and ask how they help to transition new children into their program. Offer as much information about your child as possible so they can create a transitional period that best suits him, says parenting coach Tammy Gold.

Tag along. Before baby's first full day, visit the center a few times with baby and stay for an hour or so. "Baby will see familiar faces and get to know the location, so it's not so sudden and overwhelming," says Gold.

Make a list. You might worry about seeming overprotective, but writing down information about your child and giving it to the staff will help them understand your child's personality and preferences. That can mean less trial and error. Include information such as, "If he falls down, he likes..." or "If he acts like ... it means he's overtired."

Talk it up. If you have an older baby or toddler, talk about all the people he'll meet and play with at day care. Bring them up a few times a day every day before he starts, so he feels like they're already a part of his life.

Bring comforts of home. Ask if baby can have his favorite blanket or stuffed animal at day care, and if you can post a photo of you and your partner near his crib or in his cubby.

Give it time. Every child needs to get used to a new environment, but this is a place designed just for babies. The children and toys available at day care will make the transition even easier.

Tammy Gold

re: Q: Transitioning into daycare?

other points: he is still only 10 months old so don't buy anything new for the big day. put him in his usual clothes, bring his common cup or bottle, pack a usual lunch and snack and bring any toy or blanket that he is attached to. if he was transitioning and he was 2 or older i would encourage a new purchase such as small backpack or a light up spiderman lunch box. i would encourage you to talk about how proud you are of him, and how he is such a big boy. also every kid is different and as a mom you know if he is ready for the big boy speech or if he is still in the, "everything will be okay" moment. i hope this has helped you, and maybe others.

heather13777 |

re: Q: Transitioning into daycare?

have the nanny (or if you can take a day off work) bring your son into the daycare to walk around, say hi to the kids, and maybe play for an hour. but have either you, your nanny, or some other trusted person that your son knows very well to be there as support. this should be no more than one week before he actually has to go all day since he is only 10 months old. the day or two before he goes have again you or your nanny drop him off for only 1/3 of the time he is going to be in once the whole transition is in place. then the day before leave your son there for 1/2 or 2/3 of the time. once your son gets dropped off for his full day he won't be as scared. he will recognize the teachers, kids, and the environment and he has had a few days to realize he is going to keep coming back. he may cry once you drop him off but usually as soon as the parents leave the child is redirected and is fine. if your really worried ask the daycare if you can call on your break at work to give a hello to your son, just make sure it won't be during nap time.

heather13777 |