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: Treating baby eczema?

How can I treat baby eczema? 

Re: How can I treat baby eczema? 

The Bump Expert

Eczema is often seen in young infants. Since every parent wants their child to look like an Anne Geddes photo, you can imagine how often babies with eczema are brought into the office! In infants under two months of age, seborrhea is often confused with eczema. Seborrhea present with oily scales, often on the face and scalp (where it is called "cradle cap"), tends to resolve on its own or responds to mild oils or lubricants. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, consists of red, dry patches seen on the cheeks and bodies of infants and in the creases of arms and legs in older children. There is often a family history of eczema, allergies, and asthma. It is important for parents to discuss these issues with their pediatrician as the key to successfully treating eczema in children is not only treating the symptoms, but preventing the outbreaks as well. 

The first line of treatment for eczema is moisturizing the skin. Limiting bathing, which washes away the body’s natural oils, is the initial step. Emollients, usually petroleum-based, are used to decrease dryness and can help prevent the discomfort seen with cracked, red skin. In more severe cases, low-dose anti-inflammatory ointments can be used, the most common being hydrocortisone ointments. These have a steroid base and are available in low doses over the counter and in higher concentrations through a prescription from your pediatrician. Care must be taken with these ointments as overuse can cause complications such as thinning of the skin. Triggers should also be investigated and may consist of laundry detergents, foods, and environmental exposure.

The typical course of eczema is significant improvement in the first year, with continued improvement over the first few years. Rarely, children with severe eczema are referred to the dermatologist where research is being done on the use of immune system modulators. Thankfully, it is the rare child that needs more than fewer baths and some petroleum jelly!

Dr. Paula Prezioso, MD, is in private practice at Pediatric Associates of New York City and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the NYU Medical School.

re: Q: Treating baby eczema?

I use Mustela Stelatopia line for babies with eczema prone skin, we saw instant improvement in our children's skin ages 2 months and 20 months. The moisturizing lotion and milky bath oil work wonders. Not only has the breakouts cleared and the skin dryness significantly decreased...but the outbreaks are now few and far between. This stuff REALLY WORKS!!

US_Rach |

re: Q: Treating baby eczema?

Under a friend's advice, I used Aveeno Baby lotion. My daughter's horrible eczema was gone from her cheeks within 3 days of constant application (every time I saw it flaking). Her skin is beautiful now!

mollyween |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

My son has bad eczema. Limited baths to every other to every 2 days. We use Eucerin lotion and Auqafor every diaper change and in the morning, before bed, and after bath. Blot him dry, not rub with a towel. He gets bad marks on his cheeks, wrists, cracks in his legs, and ankles. Less clothing as possible and 100% cotton is the best way to go. We use Tide fragrance and dye free detergent, no perfumes and no one can hold him with scents on them.

JennaSaylor |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

I used Aveeno baby for eczema and it worked great, cleared up my daughters ( 2 months old) skin in 2 to 3 days with using it at least twice a day. I also used it all over her body even her bottom when get started to get a little irritated. love it thank you aveeno

lenitajn83 |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

Our son's eczema was really terrible until he was about six months old. We had to cut his baths down to once a week. We also used hydrocortisone ointment twice a day - 1% for his face (over the counter) and 2.5% for his body (presription). In addition we would rub him down with Vaseline as needed throughout the day. Now he's nine months old and it's not nearly so bad. He still gets his head coated in Vaseline at bedtime (he's a sleepy scratcher) and every now and then we need the 1% for a small face breakout. It's definitely a relief. He always seemed so miserable during those full body break outs.

kellymgerstner |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

Ive been using the baby aveeno and havent noticed any change. Even the other night his skin seemed extra dry and red so I applied the aveeno to his face twice that day and after the second application he became extremely fussy (which is not normal for him to fuss at all) and he could not stop fidgetting and trying to rub his face. It seemed like it made it worse. So I got a damp cloth and tried to get some of it off. After reading some of your comments I have put Vaseline all over him, because he has the dry patches on the backs of his elbows and his thighs. I hope this works, otherwise I dont know what else to try..

misscakes777 |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

My daughter had some terrible baby acne at about 4 weeks. By 6 weeks it was gone, but her cheeks seemed really dry and rough after that. Her Dr. said she had mild eczema, and suggested Vaseline on her cheeks. I didn't like this idea, so I found a lotion by Aveeno specifically for Eczema. It is amazing! Cleared her up in 2 days. It's kinda pricey, but you only need a pea sized amount once a day, so it will last forever.

amarie726 |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

I agree Aveeno Eczema works really great. At first, I didn't know if I could put it on her face because a the fragrance, but a friend toll me to. Wow, 2 days and everything was gone. Two thumbs up. I will definitely add it in the next baby shower gift.

Caroline Leclerc |

Q&A: Treating baby eczema?

My daughter took her son to his doctor several times only to be told he just had baby acne and possibly eczema but it was terrible. I bought the Aveeno for Eczema baby wash and the cleansing therapy wash and within 2 days of using it, his skin was almost completely cleared . I loved Johnson & Johnson when my girls were babies but it did not agree with his skin apparently. I would recommend the Aveeno to anyone now after seeing the results for myself. It cant hurt to try it if you think you may have the same issues. He has a beautiful, clear complextion now!

midereel |