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