Bathing newborns sometimes makes parents nervous. Until the umbilical cord falls off, you should only give your newborn sponge baths. Be sure to use gentle soaps. Since newborns do not get very dirty, you only need to bathe them two or three times a week.
- Gather all supplies before starting the bath.
- Bath water should feel warm on your elbow or wrist. Keep your water heater temperature below 120 degrees F to avoid scalding.
- If bathing in the sink, use a towel or foam pad in the bottom of the sink or tub to prevent slipping.
- Shampoo the head first, rinsing with clear water.
- Wash the body from the face down, using only water on the face.
- Use mild soaps such as unscented Dove, Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe, Basis or Tone.
- Dry your baby thoroughly, especially in the creases of the arms, legs and neck.
- Use a cream without perfume for dry skin. We prefer Eucerin or Aquaphor. Do not put lotion on the baby's face. If you apply lotion to his/her hands, cover the hands with baby mitts to avoid ingestion.
- Never use baby powder. It is not necessary, and can be harmful to a baby's lungs.
- Do not clean the ears or nose with cotton swabs.
Infant formulas generally come as ready-to-feed liquid, concentrated liquid, and powder. The type that will work best for you depends on when, where and how much you plan to use. Please always refer to the formula packaging for directions and guidelines.
- Only feed your newborn breast milk or formula unless directed otherwise by a healthcare provider.
- Feed your newborn on demand. Most newborns need eight to 12 feedings per day (about every two to three hours).
- Look for early signs of hunger - stirring, stretching, sucking motions, lip movements. Fussing or crying are later cues.
- When the baby stops sucking or turns his/her head away from the nipple or bottle, they may be full. Try taking a break to burp the baby before trying again.
- Consider each feeding an opportunity to bond with your newborn. Talk to them, look them in the eye, sing to them - this will help build a sense of security, trust and comfort.
- Expect variations in your newborn's eating patterns as they grow.
- Follow proper storage and bottle preparation guidelines.
You should have received a rubber bulb syringe from the hospital. This tool is used to remove mucus and congestion from the baby's nose. It generally works pretty well. Here is how to use it to remove mucus from a stuffy little nose:
- Lay your baby on a flat, safe surface with their chin tilted slightly upward.
- Squeeze the bulb to remove any air and to create a vacuum.
- Gently place the tip of the syringe in the baby's nostril.
- Slowly release the bulb to remove the mucus.
- Remove the bulb and discard the material suctioned out.
- Repeat as necessary to keep your baby breathing easily.
- To clean the bulb syringe, wash it in hot soapy water and air dry.