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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you asked...

Can I Treat Baby Acne?

Why does baby have acne and what can I do?

Re: Why does baby have acne and what can I do?

The Bump Expert

Well, clearly baby’s bumpy skin is not the result of pizza or French fries, but it is linked to hormones. While experts have not found any specific reasons why babies get acne, hormones baby inherited from Mommy during pregnancy are the big culprits. Baby acne is characterized by red bumps on baby’s cheeks, chin and forehead, and it appears anywhere from birth to three months of age. You may also see white bumps that resemble whiteheads on the same areas, including the chin. If these disappear just weeks after birth, they’re called milia. Though milia are confused with acne, it's actually dead skin that’s trapped in small pockets on the skin’s surface or inside the mouth, known as Epstein’s pearls.

According to pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, there is no way to prevent baby’s bumps and they should absolutely not be treated like adult acne (no pinching or popping). Instead, wash baby’s face one to three times a day with warm water and always pat dry. Do not use extra soaps or lotions. While it should clear up by four to six months, if baby’s acne refuses to tame, talk to your doctor about possible treatments. And keep in mind that baby acne is extremely common in newborns and does not indicate future skin problems (whew).

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby's Four Month Checkup

Best Baby Soaps, Shampoos and Washes

Treating Baby Eczema

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Q&A: Treating baby acne?

i know its really common for babies to get milia and that it's supposed to go away on its own, but DD has had one bump on each cheek since she was a couple days old. we dont have our 2 month appt. for 2 more weeks so i figured i'd ask you ladies if your LO has had milia, how long did it last? did it go away on its own or did the ped. give you any tips to get rid of it?milia removal

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