Newborn Baby-care Basics: Expert Tips for Diapering & Grooming Your New Baby by Elisa Schmitz

9 months ago

Newborn Baby-care Basics: Expert Tips for Diapering & Grooming Your New Baby

I spent some time with baby Paige and Dr. Anita Chandra, a pediatrician with Northwestern Medical Group in Chicago, to go through some newborn basics. I remember how overwhelming it can be as a new mom with so much to do and learn. Thankfully, Dr. Chandra offered some clear and easy-to-follow tips for diapering and grooming Baby to make things less overwhelming in the early days of parenthood.

Caring for the Umbilical Cord

Baby will have a “stump” from the umbilical cord that brought nutrients from you to the baby. Dr. Chandra tells us that, “There’s nothing to be afraid of; it’s just a scab. It will dry up and fall off.” Here are some tips for caring for it:

  • Keep the area clean.
  • Watch for infection.
  • Give baby sponge baths for now; sponge bathe around the cord.
  • Avoid clothes that make contact with the stump.
  • Roll the diaper down so it doesn’t rub up against the cord.
  • When the scab comes off, just like any scab, don’t worry if you see a few drops of blood; this is normal. According to Dr. Chandra, “If it’s not actively bleeding, it’s OK.”

Clipping Baby’s Fingernails

  • Clip baby’s nails with infant nail clippers one to two times per week.
  • Hold baby’s hand firmly.
  • Clip straight across. Never cut lower than the fingertip.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable using nail clippers, you can use a nail file and file baby’s nails instead.


  • Change baby on a changing pad on the ground or on a changing table.
  • If you use a changing table, be sure the pad is secured to the table and keep your eyes on your baby; don’t turn your back to the table.
  • Have your supplies nearby: diapers, wipes, wipes warmer (optional), pacifier (optional).
  • Use the old diaper to wipe Baby off a bit.
  • Lay the new diaper centered under Baby, adhesive side in the back.
  • Use the wipe to wipe baby clean. For baby girls, wipe from front to back.

Watch this video to see Dr. Chandra and I perform newborn baby basics.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Ann Marie Patitucci
Such clear and easy-to-follow tips! Thanks, Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds and Dr. Chandra!
Elisa Schmitz
Newborn care can be intimidating, but Dr. Chandra's tips are so helpful for new parents!
Aw, so sweet and nice to see.
Elisa Schmitz
I appreciate the kind feedback, thank you! DAC Developments

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