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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Why Is Conversation Good for Baby?

I know I’m supposed to be talking to baby but why? And what should I say?


I know I’m supposed to be talking to baby but why? And what should I say?

The Bump Expert

Baby heard your voice for nine months and needs continued chats to develop a language of his own, says Paula Prezioso, MD.

Studies have shown that babies respond very early to voice -- especially mom’s -- and talking helps baby later progress through the milestones of cooing to babbling to single words and phrases. Children not exposed to language, even from an early age, can have delayed vocabulary development at school age, Prezioso says.

At first, it might feel weird talking to someone who can’t talk back, but once you get started, it will feel less foreign. Here’s how:

It doesn’t have to be baby talk. Chat with baby however feels right to you. “Some people automatically speak in a higher register to babies,” Prezioso says. “Others talk to their kids in a normal voice and without using words like ‘boo boo,’ so they learn the proper names for things.” Either is totally fine.

Read anything. “It could be The New York Times or whatever you have to read for work. Baby just wants to hear your voice,” Prezioso says. “Read every day.”

Sing. Baby gets exposed to language through song. And babies love to be sung to -- it doesn't matter if your voice is off-key!

Narrate. Talk to baby throughout the day and tell her what you’re doing and why. Make a face-to-face connection when you can. But, it’s okay to have periods when you’re silent too. “Baby might get fussy and may just need some quiet,” Prezioso says. “You’ll begin to read baby’s cues.”

Expert: Paula Prezioso, MD, is a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC.

Elena Donovan Mauer

re: Q: Conversation good for baby?

i always talk to DD like, what are we going to make daddy for dinner and do you wanna come with mommy to the store. I like to make her feel like she knows what I am talking about.

Mrsk1020 |

Q&A: Why is conversation good for baby?

it promotes bonding and there's a bigger chance for a speedy vocabulary development.

jeeanfoxy |

Q&A: Why is conversation good for baby?

When my baby talks, we always answer back; because we want him to know that he and what he has to say is important. I belive that this will really help with his self steem and to build a good comunication with us.

KittyKat2011mom |