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 conversation good for baby?

Why is conversation good for baby?

Re: Why is conversation good for baby?

The Bump Expert

Conversation is so important for babies. They hear your voice for nine months and need continued "chats" so they’ll develop a language of their own. Studies have shown that babies respond very early to voice -- especially the mother's voice -- and that this is necessary for the infant to 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. And babies love to be talked to, especially sung to (it doesn't matter if your voice is on key!).

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: 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 |

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