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 Weaning Strategies?

When I’m ready to wean baby from breastfeeding, how should I do it?


When I’m ready to wean baby from breastfeeding, how should I do it?

The Bump Expert

First off, there’s no perfect time to stop breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and then continuing while you introduce solids for at least a year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first two years. And some mothers choose to nurse their kids all through the toddler years. That said, there are many reasons moms may wean earlier than the recommendations, and you’re the best judge of what’s right for you and baby.

Go slow

Unless there’s a medical reason to wean, do it gradually. “If you do it abruptly, it can be heartbreaking for both you and baby,” says Gina Ciagne, certified lactation consultant for Lansinoh. Plus, if you don’t allow your body time to adjust as you cut back on feedings, you risk painful engorgement, plugged ducts and even mastitis.

“So if you nurse eight times a day, for example, start by taking away one of the eight nursing sessions -- choose the one baby seems least interested in, where she normally unlatches and looks around often,” Ciagne says. Then, every few days, once your body and baby adjust to fewer nursing sessions, cut out one more. End with the session baby seems to enjoy most. “Usually it’s the nighttime feeding that goes last,” Ciagne says. You may need to substitute the skipped feeding with formula, regular milk and/or solid foods, depending on baby’s age and diet. (If you need to wean more quickly, ask your doctor for help.)

Bond in other ways

Expect baby to feel vulnerable during this change, so get in plenty of one-on-one time -- cuddle, give her a soothing warm bath, read books. She should know that nursing less doesn’t equal less mommy time. “Talk to her and reassure her,” Ciagne says. Baby’s resisting? Distract her during the usual nursing time with a toy or activity, and avoid the seat you normally sit in for breastfeeding.

Be age- and child-appropriate

If you have a toddler, it can help to explain the situation: Maybe tell her the milk is going away, but you aren’t. React to baby’s cues. If it’s not urgent, you can cut back on feedings at the pace you feel your child is ready. Simply don’t offer, but don’t refuse feedings, Ciagne says. Weaning can take a couple weeks -- or much longer. Some moms start the weaning process, and then decide to go back to the old schedule. That’s okay too.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Will I Gain Weight After I Stop Breastfeeding?

Solid Food Guide

Get Breastfed Baby to Take Bottle?

Elena Donovan Mauer

re: Q: Weaning strategies?

Since the AAP recommends breastmilk for the first year she could check into purchasing donor breastmilk. I did this with my oldest baby because I struggled with my milk supply. Do a google search on milk bank and ask your pediatrician about writing a letter of medical necessity; our insurance paid a big chunck of the cost of donor breastmilk and it's soo much better than formula. Good Luck

bryans4 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I am currently nursing 7 month-old twins. I haven't begun weaning them yet, but we did start adding solid foods to their diet around 6 months. I nurse them immediately after their "food" meal (currently they have breakfast and supper), and this seems to have naturally cut down on the amount of breast milk needed. Also, in the last 2 weeks we've been trying to drink from a tiny glass with their meals (my attempt to have them learn to drink from a glass rather than learning to be dependent on a sippy cup all of the time). Perhaps a glass would help avoid the bottle issue? I've tried 3 times to get my twins to take a bottle, and was not overly successful (although it was only with the intention of being able to be baby-free for a few hours for a special occasion so I wasn't too concerned). Also, I never breastfeed as a way to put the babies to sleep. They eat(nurse) after they wake up from a nap, then do some activity, then I put them down for a sleep (the "Baby Whisperer" E.A.S.Y. method) and so they don't associate nursing with going to bed. Good luck finding something that works for you :)

kdhudon |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I have found that the best way to breastfeed and bottlefeed is to use breast when you are together and give a bottle with either formula or breastmilk when you are away. I used this method with 2 of my daughters and it worked beautifully. With my first I did it as the book said and dropped feedings and my milk just did not let down after too many hours of not nursing and she was completely weaned too early.

toni1967 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

My 7 month old used to take a bottle but now refuses! I have tried everything! Several different nipples, freshly expressed breast milk, formula, having my mother attempt while I wasn't home, and having my husband attempt while I wasn't home. He is being very stubborn and I don't know what to do! I know I can't nurse forever so I need help!

emilyrosser |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

This is a horrible article. The AAP recommends BM the first year but the WHO recommends the first 2 years. Nursing is a relationship not just nutrition and to push a child to wean because " it is easier before they are 1" seems very self serving. I would do additional individual research before you take this "professional's" advice.

ehair |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I am absolutely gobsmacked that this article advocates weaning because it's EASIER TO DO before age one. What kind of babyhating psycho wrote this?? I have been subscribed to the quasi-helpful updates from the Bump but you guys lost me for good with this one. What a giant steaming load of worthless, harmful, unscientific RUBBISH!!!!!

tassiegirl01 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I can not stand how people feel it necessary to judge mothers. Right from pregnancy (youre still drinking caffeine?) to birth (youre getting an epidural??) to breastfeeding (you are selfish for not breastfeeding) to when to wean (youre going to wean BEFORE THEY ARE ONE???) If you have time to judge other mothers, why dont you go make more handmade babyfood...cause Im sure store babyfood must be poison, right?

elle5218 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

To those who are against this article, please look at it again. It is not advocating to wean before the age of one because it is easier on the life of a mother, it is saying that if you ARE planning to wean, it is easier to do before the age of one rather than say, after the age of one. This is similar to when my pediatrician told me that it would be easier to start solids around 6 months than if I started around 8-9 months. It's about when baby is best able to learn. He wasn't saying that I HAD to start at 6 months, just that there are certain times that are easier for babies to do. Also, I doubt a baby is "pushed" to wean before they are ready without good reason. Usually it is because the mother has to go back to work and has no other choice to support her children, is working and the stress from working sometimes makes the supply go way down (I'm talking from personal experience), or it is painful (again, talking from personal experience...if you have never had to deal with a yeast infection in the breasts or mastitis...feel very lucky because it makes nursing close to impossible), or any other very valid reason. To assume that a mother is weaning their child off of breastmilk for convenience is ridiculous. We never know what each situation entails, so be careful with your judgments. My guess is that each mom is just doing the best that they can and as long as their child is loved and cared for, it's none of my business how they get fed.

owensm23 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Considering this was on my Week 30 "To Do" list - yes, this article is advocating weaning early. And yes, 7 months is EARLY. The AAP and WHO recommends breastfeeding until at LEAST one year of age. The easiest thing to do is baby-lead weaning - baby will tell you when s/he is ready to quit nursing. If you start your kid on solids, your child will want the breast less and less. And yeah, if you want to wean your child sooner because it is inconvenient, that is selfish. Is it bad to be selfish though? Nah, not really. As for this: If you have time to judge other mothers, why dont you go make more handmade babyfood...cause Im sure store babyfood must be poison, right? Babyfood in stores is a waste of money because it's mostly water, which is why, when I start my baby on "solids," we will be making purees for her. Actually, I'll be starting her on foods that are easily mashed, such as avocado, banana, yogurt, and liver. There's really not a need for babyfood - that whole segment can be skipped. Babies need nothing more than breastmilk for the first 12 months of life. Which is why, if you're weaning at 30 weeks, you need to make sure to supplement her solids with expressed breastmilk and/or formula. I commend women that breastfeed, but please talk to a lactation consultant about weaning. Pediatricians and doctors are not certified breastfeeding consultants.

SStephan2747 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I agree we all have options & you should choose what works best for you but personally I'm in disbelief that this article that people read as a type of professional advice says to wean early because it's convenient- whole the truth behind that is unknown, BE ASHAMED for leading mothers on with irrelevant advice! Also I'm appalled that this was on my to do list!!!! Like I said sure it's an option but it's listed as if something terrible will happen if you don't start weaning!

megill |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Weaning starts as soon as you give your baby anything but breast milk. This was for people who would like to start the weaning PROCESS as it does not happen over night. If you start around 7 months they might be fully weaned by a year. I my self am a working mom and have been pumping. My baby is 9 months and I feel no shame or bad parenting in wating to start weaning my child off the boob.

fishsha |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I don't know the best way to wean a baby off nursing. But i just read all these responses and these women who are judging us for wanting to wean our baby at 6 months are JERKS. were not being selfish. some ppl can't even breastfeed! so i commend anyone who can even do it. Breastmilk is only really beneficial in the first month of life. the rest of the time is just an added bonus. Honestly i think you should say forget what all these weaning HATERS are saying and talk to a professional face to face. like a lactation consultant or pediatrician. Everything with being a mother is all about your instincts. Everyone and their momma has recommendations but it is what YOU feel is right. I would like to personally hand a VIRTUAL SMACK to the face of all those haters above me. Good luck girl.

tallybabe1993 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Have you tried offering a sippy cup? My daughter is 6 and a half months and, while she has been exclusively bottle fed since 2 months, she has taken to her sippy cup really well and will drink juice and water from it as well as formula. There are sippy cups that they recommend for as young as 4 months...

melokia2007 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Good for you for even breastfeeding. And for doing it as long as you have as it is not the easiest thing a mother has ever done. It is your decision to wean and when to wean for whatever reason you want to do it for. Good job for breastfeeding this long momma!

linzyrose25 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I couldn't agree more with tallybabe1993. Knowing when to wean is a personal choice and might be different for every mother depending on circumstances. I have a 3 month old and because of really bad tendonitis in both hands due to nursing, I will probably wean early since the pain is debilitating and things will only get worse as baby continues to grow. WE ALL KNOW WHAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE. I just think that every mother should do what they feel is best for their situation and stop judging others.

vaninarosas |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Sure, babies are eating solids around this time, but breastmilk should still be their major nutrient source for the first year. The other foods they are eating are a learning experience as they gradually transition. I plan to breastfeed at least a year, my daughter has a bottle when I'm not with her. Otherwise we nurse. And she still gets breastmilk before solids. What bothers me about this article is the backing off nursing sessions tone. Rather than the balance of breastmilk with solids. Also baby is more efficient at milk removal than a pump. Why would I pump when I can nurse just so things could be easier?

twigmommy |


I have been giving my 7 month old son baby food, nursing, and a bottle. I nurse him in the early morning then I'll give him baby oatmeal with a baby food fruit. A few hours later I will breastfeed him then about another hour later, I'll give him just baby food. A couple hours later more breastfeeding for a bottle of formula then more baby food an hour later. Then after some hours have passed, I give him baby rice mixed with a baby food vegetable, give him a bath, then nurse him to bed. He wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes so I nurse him back to sleep. There are some people who are strong about breastfeeding and others who are not. Every child is different and every parent is different. We all have our different views as well. It is what works best for you and your baby.

kmajorovas |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

As a nursing mom, I have to say how tired I am of BF advocates judding other moms for their choices when it come to feeding their own child. There are so many reason that people make the choices that they do. My son is 7 months old and up to now has been exclusively BF. I went back to work when he was 2 months old because we could not afford for me to stay at home. Since they I have been pumping 3 times a day to provide him with milk for daycare, but I am currently gradually replacing the pumping sessions with formula. It was a choice that I struggled with immensely. As a working/pumping mom, I have little to no time to do anything for myself after taking my son to daycare, working 9 hours, picking him up, going home, making dinner, doing a measley amount of housework, making dinner, washing dishes, washing my breastpump parts, feeding and bathing my son, putting him to bed and prepping everything for the next morning. My own mental health is suffering, and I would rather my son have a mom who is healthy and happy and he get some formula than he be exclusively breastfed by a mom who feels depressed, irritable, and at the end of her rope. Whatever choice you made for your child, I support. Whether that be nursing until they are 2, or formula feeding from the day they were born, or anywhere in between. Raising your child in a happy home is not a selfish choice. Its a realistic one.

jojo757 |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

I'm curious, Bump "Expert" - what "studies" show that weaning BEFORE age one is easier? I have read numerous reports that babies should NOT be weaned before age one! The additional advice you give is also preposterous. Why would I begin by replacing my baby's FAVORITE feeding?? And why are you recommending starving baby by decreasing the length of feeding sessions AND increasing time between feedings, without replacing those calories and nutrients elsewhere? I highly recommend you clarify this advice or take it down, because you are going to end up with a lot of very confused moms trying to listen to your bullcrap when there is genuinely good advice out there for this topic. Those of you looking for real advice based on research: try - it's a lot more breast-feeding-friendly, unlike the Bump, which apparently is NOT.

ShadowTheta |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Dear elle5218, Do some research before you comment! Baby food is made from sub-human grade food. The step between people food and dog food is what baby food is made of. Also really look into labeling on baby food, you might be shocked at what you find. I am continually shocked that american moms think it's ok to feed formula and chemically grown, nutrient deprived, cooked to death food to our offspring. Take some personal responsibility for what you and your children eat.

christymalibu |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

Christymalibu-some women have no choice! If a woman is incapable of BFing, the only other option is formula. Do you even know why some mothers cant BF? Check out that research. What if you couldn't produce BM? Would you let your baby starve? No. You would feed your baby what he or she needs to survive and thrive. Some women may have the option to purchase BM, but it isn't widely available, nor is it an option in the hospital after delivery. There are tons of people around you who haven't been BF and you probably have no idea. Show some compassion for your fellow mothers and women. Have a heart. Open your mind and support others in this life! Goodness, life is hard enough without harsh judgements!

pamalove4l |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

In answer to the original question: My daughter is the same way although I'm not trying to wean her just yet. We found that having daddy bottle feed her works great, if you have that option, or another person that can help with feedings. When I try, she knows she's near boob and wants that instead!! Best of luck to you. To the rest of the comments: Ladies, Ladies! This is an article giving WEANING STRATEGIES. This is not a completely inclusive list and they are just IDEAS. If you don't agree with them (I wouldn't try all, just personal preference) there are a ton of other ways you can try and a lactation specialist is the best way to go. Contact your local WIC office if you're eligible or visit your bubba's pediatrician for a referral to one. This article isn't saying you HAVE to wean before a year. It really does sound like a lot of women are taking this as gospel and you have to do everything the articles say when they land in your inbox. They are just informative articles, like them or not they represent a viewpoint that some people find helpful and if you don't, that's quite ok. Pick and choose the information you think best fits you and your baby with your given situation but judging other mums, not cool. Try a little tact. How about, I recently read that....blah blah blah.... or, can you believe that jarred baby food...blah blah blah. Lets not be bf/store food/formula Nazis. Whatever floats your boat is good enough for you and that's what matters. Different opinions are what set us apart. Good luck to ALL of the mums out there, whatever your situation may be.

mummy&evie |

Q&A: Weaning strategies?

If you can't BF, please, use formula and don't buy donor breast milk (unless it's from a milk bank that tests it). Here's why:

green867 |