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: Why is baby's head flat?

Why is baby's head still flat?

Re: Why is baby's head still flat?

The Bump Expert

Now that babies are all sleeping on their backs, many babies are getting what’s called "positional plagiocephaly," or flat heads. This usually resolves itself with lots of tummy time -- I suggest after every diaper change -- so babies have time when they’re not on their head. Occasionally your pediatrician may recommend a positioning helmet, which helps to reshape the head. By putting babies on their stomach from day one, most parents can avoid ever needing the helmet, so tummy time is important!

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: Why is baby's head flat?

some babies will still need a helmet. We gave our son plenty of tummy time and he is now in a helmet. However, he was 5 weeks early and our pedi said that was most likely a contributing factor to his plagio- his head was super flat from the beginning. Just wanted to post this for moms who may be dealing with this. Now that DS is in the helmet, it is a bigger deal than I thought. It makes everything harder.

sunshine723 |

re: Q: Why is baby's head flat?

I recommend that if this occurs you bringing your new born to a D.O specializing in Osteopathic manipulation, its cranial work done by allowing the head to form as it would naturally. My husband does this and he has had a few newborns with misshapen heads and in a few short months a complete transformation it also helps with symmetry of the face! PLUS its covered by most insurances and no referral needed!

nicolesspirit |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

yep we chose to take our DS to the chiropractor that specializes in Cranial.. and he is doing an amazing job with helping shape his head back.. It will just take a little longer to fix than a helmet but i feel this was our best bet!!

Vrbka |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

The traditional India way to round out baby's head is to fill a pillow with mustard seed and lay baby on this pillow when laying on his/her back. My mom bought mustard seed at Costco and made a baby sized pillow to fill with the seed. It has worked out well and his head is perfectly round. We also had to go to a chiropractor for cranial work for his neck so this probably helped also.

cyndiathma |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

My son was just referred to a D.O. for manipulation but he's already 6 months old! Is it too late to fix his poor, misshapen head? His is flatter on one side, as he sleeps with his head almost always turned toward the right.

rowa4peter |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

my baby just had his 6 moth checkup. the nurse measured his height and weight (both normal to above normal) but then his head measurement was only in the 5th percentile. she remeasured 3 times and then said "that can't be right....i'll let the doctor redo it." which she did and sure enough, small head. only 16 1/2 inches. the doctor was like "don't worry he looks fine, its probably becasue his head is a little flat in back." but i am worried....5th percentile??! does anyone else have this? or are all of your babies with flattened heads in back measuring small? -worried

christeeprego |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

Our son has been in a DOC band helmet for about 2 months. It was something we didnt want to take the chance that it wouldnt correct on its own. The first couple weeks were hard, but now we don' even notice it and he will be getting it off in 2 weeks! His head is back to normal, along with his forehead. The only negative was that insurance did not cover any of the 2,500 cost of the helmet and weekly appointments to adjust it.

beachgirl78 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

My son had a very flat head since he was born in June 2010, it did not fix with tummy time or having him sleep on his side. We ended up getting a cranial helmet but it was not covered by my insurance. I have United Health Care and they do not cover cranial helmets at all!!! We ended up getting a care creditcard and it was ok. My son got his helmet on when he was 5 1/2 months old and he will roughly wear it for 3 months. It is working and my LO does not mind it at all. He is in it for 23 1/2 hours a day. He takes it off for baths. They measure baby heads on a percent scale and a normal head is between 78-80%. My LO started at 104% and after a month he was down to 97.7%. I didn't think this was a big difference but my doc said it was. I'm very happy with my doc and my cranial helmet and I would love to talk to anyone about to go through this ordeal; my experience was definitely not a rough one.

tpowers28 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

Our pediatrician said that as long as there are still soft spots (and at 6 months, there are), the head can still re-shape and not worry about the flat spot. We've been doing chiropractor treatments, both for his head shape and also the tight neck making him want to turn the same way all the time. We've seen HUGE improvements with the chiropractor and have not had to do the helmet. Good luck!

LilJellyBean2010 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

After noticing our LO's head was very flat on one side, and that he was only turning his head to the right, we asked our ped what to do. He told us it would most likely correct itself, and we should "wait and see" but also referred us to a company called Cranial Technologies (DOC Band) if we wanted to be more proactive.This was at our 2 month well-baby visit, so we waited for 2 more months before doing anything. We are so glad we finally went to Cranial Technologies, but frustrated we didn't do it much sooner. Turns out LO has Torticollis, a neck issue where they will only turn their head one way, and when laid on the back to sleep they are almost assured to have plagiocephaly, or an asymmetrical head shape due to all the pressure only going to one side of the soft head. After getting LO into a DOC Band to correct his head shape, working with a pediactric physical therapist and a chiropractor, we have learned that it is NOT likely that the condition will resolve on its own. Our insurance is not covering the DOC Band either, and we are about to go into our second band, due to the severity of LO's head shape. If you notice your baby has a flat head, do not delay! Take action immediately. If our pediatrician hadn't told us to "wait and see" we may not have needed the second band, to the tune of an additional $2500! The best advice we got was to take LO to a pediatric chiropractor. That is what we feel has made the most difference. As soon as LO started receiving chiro treatment, his head shape began to correct itself and round out more rapidly, and we are hopeful the second band will finish the job. An expensive lesson to learn, and if we have another baby, we will be taking it to the chiro as a newborn!!!

KatieK0710 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

My son is 6 months old, his head with his flat spot, measures in the 80 something percentile. He got a big ole noggin! My daughter had a flat spot on her head too for a while after she stopped sleeping on her back, she's now 6 we never used a helmet I didn't even knew that stuff existed until reading this article but she has a perfectly round head now, so I'm sure our son will straighten his big ole noggin out in the next few months.

sarisa82 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

We were concerned about our DS's head being flat, so his dr. referred us to a neurosurgeon. He confirmed that our son's head is "normal flat." He said that he would not require a helmet and that it should reshape itself, especially with more tummy time and sitting up. He also said that those children who wear a helmet vs those that do not have the same end result. It's just that the children that wear helmets have the results faster. By 2 years old, the head should be full shaped and everything should be fused inside. Hoping everything he said is right and we have no further concerns!

lizhughes10 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

We are going through this now. Our son does not let us pit him down, and he still has a flat head. After reading these posts and being an RN I warn people to not just think it will get better with tummy time!!!! There are measurements that will be taken to determine severity. Let those be done before you decide what action to take! Our insurance will not pay either, which makes the decision SO hard. Thanks to those that talked about the cranial manipulation, we are going to look into that before making our final decision.

bridestamm0030 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

Our pediatrician says that there is not data to support the use of helmets (which is probably why insurance wont pay for them) and he says once babies start sitting up all the time it works itself out. Our kiddo had a big flat spot but at 6 months he is already mobile enough (though not sitting up on his own) that it is getting better. We are just leaving it alone, his head is still growing and I think it will work itself out. I am not sure i would feel comfortable with anyone manipulating his cranium.

TennD |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

I just wanted to add some points to what has been said. We have access to coverage bringing our total down to $750.(we live in Canada) I'm only saying this to say that because the financial burden is less it is easier to make the decision to say yes to the band. We have done the following to solve my LO head shape: exersaucer jumperoo bumbo chair holding her tummy time chiropractor adjustment we have had around 13 treatments. She has started to sleep on both sides of her head without assistance and after all this we are still getting the band. She is almost 7 months old and it is not getting better. I make myself exhausted trying to keep her off her head. Some childern are prone to flat heads. Every apt we had it was try this try that it will be fine. Don't wait. Find the money its worth the less stress. Sooner better. Oh and they knew something was really up when her headsize jumped up in two months. Everyone I've talked to that got the band has nothing but good things to say about the.result if you can get the band get it.

mthornley |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

My son just turned 7 months and has been wearing a DOC Band for about 6 weeks. We have had zero issues and we are very pleased with the results so far. His case is not considered severe. The initial measurements showed that there was a 12 mm difference in the symmetry of his face. This is what most people don't seem to understand. It isn't just about a "flat spot" on the head.In many cases there is a shift in one side of the face. One ear can be higher and more forward than the other, one eye may be smaller,one cheek more pronounced...this can lead to jaw problems,sinus problems. If your child needs glasses they may have a hard time fitting him or her. It does not correct itself. And I certainly didn't want my son to grow up and wonder why we didn't fix it. It is a few short months of his life now instead of a list of possible problems later.

daiseec12 |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

Don't wait! Find the money, its worth it. We got our son in the helmet at 5 months after a one month fight with the insurance company. The results are totally worth it!!! You have to take charge of your child's health. We also visited a physical therapist 15 times and that really helped with his torticallus.

kamettle |

Q&A: Why is baby's head flat?

As a pediatric physical therapist as well as a Mom to a beautiful 6 month old, I can offer some insight. The Back to Sleep Campaign has increased the amount of flat head (Plagiocephaly) exponentially. If you notice it happening, tell your pediatrician and ask for a Physical Therapy referral. Most often, the flat head is caused by Torticollis or a preference for your child to turn and tilt their head in specific directions. PT can help your child learn midline skills as well as avoid a helmet in most cases. However, if your pediatrician tells you to wait and see, please ask them to see a PT. This issue can almost always be resolved if we are able to see the babies earlyon. A helmet is needed in some cases but mainly when therapy was started at 5 months or later. A helmet is an expensive investment, but well worth it. Flat head has been associated with jaw problems, recuurent ear infections, visual issues, speech issues in some cases, and visual issues in some instances. Also, the more tummy time the better. I always recommend to my patients that tummy time be 50% of your baby's waking hours. It also doesn't have to flat on the floor. Tummy time includes laying the baby on your chest so you are face to face, laying them on their Boppy looking at you, holding them tilted forward while you are carrying, and doing the football hold (google this, they tend to love it). Just address the issue early as head shape really won't change much after 8-10 months, and helmets are not effective after 18 months.

ctnystrom |