Newborn Care

Smooth as a Baby's Bottom: Caring for Your Newborn's Skin
A good rule of thumb when caring for your newborn's skin is to do as little as necessary to keep the baby's skin comfortable. Mild soap and water are usually sufficient. Tub baths may be started once your baby's cord has fallen off and healed. Prior to this time, a sponge bath is fine. Lotion may be used sparingly - especially around the wrists and ankles where some babies' skin becomes dry.
 
Powder can be used for drying purpose. "Salting" babies with powder can result in caking in the creases and sneezing (if baby inhales the powder). This is very irritating to the lung tissue. If you use powder, put powder on your hands and then rub it on baby's skin in the areas where it is needed.
 
It is not a good idea to use baby oil since it has a tendency to clog the pores. Ointments should be used only if there is a problem. Check with your physician about types of ointments to use. Trim your baby's fingernails only when necessary and be sure to use small fingernail scissors with rounded edges. Most moms have found it easiest to trim baby's fingernails when he or she is sleeping.
 
Cord Care
Apply alcohol at least three times a day and with every diaper change or use other cleaning procedures depending on your pediatrician's instructions. The cord usually falls off in 10 to 14 days. Do not cover cord.
 
Circumcisions
Circumcisions are usually done the day following delivery. There are several procedures used for circumcision - the type used on your baby boy will be determined by your physician's preference. Prior to having your baby circumcised, you will need to sign a consent form. The care of circumcision depends on the surgical technique used by the physician. Instructions will be given by the nurses and physician on how to care for your baby's circumcision.
 
If a Gomco or Morgan clamp procedure is used, all you need to do is apply petroleum jelly on a gauze strip and wrap it around the penis. This protects the circumcision site. If a plastibell is used, just wash gently with soap and water. The plastibell will fall off in five to 10 days. Do not pull on it.
The genital area should be cleaned after every diaper change. The obvious - warm urine against tender skin - usually causes diaper rash. Use a mild soap and water to wash away the urine and allow the baby to air dry.
 
What kind of diapers are right for my baby?
Diapers come in a wide variety of shapes and most babies do not need special diapers. For this reason, the type of diapers you use should be your preference.
 
Following are the pros and cons of cloth, disposable diapers and diaper services:
 
Cloth Diapers
  • The care of cloth diapers is more time-consuming. They must be rinsed out, washed, dried and folded.
  • Laundry ingredients can be left in the diaper causing irritation. If your washing machine has an extra rinse cycle, always use it for baby's laundry. Any good laundry detergent that rinses well is fine. Softeners are usually not a problem. If diaper rash occurs, it is best not to use a softener for a while to determine if it is the culprit. Also, if too much softener is used, diapers will lose their absorbency.
Disposable Diapers
  • Time saver
  • Very absorbable
  • Expensive
  • Non-biodegradable
Diaper Services
  • Available in some communities
  • Compare cost and how you will need to care for diaper after it is soiled
  • Time saver
Most babies have wet diapers about eight to 12 times a day. Bowel movements vary from once every few days to several times a day, depending on your baby and whether he is breast or bottle fed. (Breast fed babies have more stools.) There are several changes in appearance of the stools from the sticky, black meconium to greenish black, greenish brown, brownish yellow then to a bright yellow.
 
What's a Baby to Wear?
The most important thing to remember when dressing your baby is that his or her clothing should be kept at a comfortable temperature. As a general rule, dress your baby lightly. Remember, babies are comfortable dressed a little lighter than adults. Get in the habit of taking along a blanket to keep baby warmer.
 
Receiving blankets are helpful when a baby needs "swaddling," which is a way of wrapping with arms and legs close to the body. Some babies like swaddling and some do not. Heavier blankets are seldom needed at home. Remember, babies will seldom be exposed to extreme cold. When dressing your baby, use loose fitted clothing made of cotton or loosely woven cloth that can "breathe."
 
Sleepwear depends on the season. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires that all children's sleepwear through size 14 be made from flame resistant material. Manufacturers are required by CPSC to label sleepwear with care instructions if the flame resistance is affected by laundering practices.