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: When is juice safe for baby?

Can I give my baby juice? Do I need to water it down?

Re: Can I give my baby juice? Do I need to water it down?

The Bump Expert

You should never give juice to a baby under six months of age. There is no nutritional reason to do so, except if your baby is constipated and then small amounts of prune or pear juice can be given, as directed by you child's pediatrician.

If you offer juices before the introduction of solid foods, you risk the child not taking enough breast milk or formula. As for toddlers, there is no need to offer juice if the child is eating fruit. Why? It is packed with sugar, and children that get used to drinking juice often won't accept water. This can lead to over consumption of sugar, tooth decay, and obesity as they grow.

Children of this age need 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day and only one of these servings should come from juice. If you decide to do this, remember that 4 oz. is a complete serving for a small child -- you should never offer more than 4 oz. in one day, and it is best to dilute the juice with water. You should at least make it a 50/50 mix (though you may want to make it more like flavored water). If the child hasn't had juice in the past, they won't even notice the difference. If you've already been giving juice and want to cut back, wean your child off slowly, increasing the amount of water each time.

Also, if you do decide to give your child juice, make sure the label indicates that it is 100% pasteurized juice, and always offer it in a cup -- never in a bottle.

Plus, More from The Bump:

When Can Baby Start Drinking Regular Milk?

Solid Food Starter Guide

The Best Foods for Baby

Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD, nutritionist

re: Q: Is Juice OK for Baby?

I give my DS juice once and a while. I always buy the 100% natural juice, no sugar added. He only gets it from a juice box, because he knows only cold milk and water come from a sippy, and warm milk come from a bottle.

luvmy2scotts |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

Our Ped told us that 2 ounces of juice/water about 2-3 times a week is okay but to only use 100% juice with NO sugar added. But any more than this amount could throw his electrolite balances off.

bluefox2182 |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

We don't give our baby juice; only water and formula. As my sister in law explained, juice is just empty calories.

missypg |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

Our pediatrician told us no juice until DS is over a year old. They've recently completed some studies showing that babies given juice before a year old is linked to obesity. Plus, its empty calories and at their age every calorie counts. Just stick with formula/breastmilk to make sure they're getting the nutrients they need.

MandaBeth582 |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

My baby is 8 1/2 months old and I tried to give her some juice that was 3/4 water 1/4 juice and she wouldn't drink it. She likes only water from her sippy cup, but unfortunately she won't drink milk from her sippy cup either.

phoebesymms |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

I also have an 8 1/2 month old little girl who loves Gatorade. My 9 year old son plays baseball so when we are out in the heat she has her own mini G2 (less sugar) Gatorade bottle. I don't really like to give her juice when I know we will be in the heat because the sugar in it will dehydrate her. Anytime I give her juice its always the Gerber juice for infants/toddlers. And its always put in a sippy cup instead of a baby bottle.

audreysmith78 |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

Our pedi said it's okay when needed if he's constipated. We have been giving our baby a mixture of prune/apple (4oz), water (4oz) and caro (2 tbsp) mixed when needed. It seems to do the trick and helps his bowel movements fine. He's not obese, he's actually normal size if not a little under the 50th percentile of what other babies are at his age. |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

Our pedi encourages it for our son as he's had problems with constipation. The natural sugar is a laxative. She keeps us at 4 oz per day but not diluted as it dilutes the sugars. We started it in a bottle as he was not ready for a sippy cup when we began it but are now transitioning to the cup.

sinndixie |

Q&A: When is juice safe for baby?

Babies and children don't NEED juice and really shouldn't have it as it is empty calories and is really bad for their teeth. Once they are toddlers, water is all they need for hydration, milk if your family drinks it. ALL sugary drinks should be avoided (special treats).

stacyh629 |