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How to Take Care of Your New Baby

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD | 21 August 2019 | 0 Comments

Disposable Diapers

Disposable diapers are everywhere. There are many brands to choose from in a variety of costs and features. But the basics of how to get the diaper on the baby is much the same.

  1. Gather your supplies. The first step is to be prepared. Gather up a couple of diapers, wipes, ointments...anything you'd need to change the baby. For safety reasons, you don't want to be searching for something with a wiggly baby waiting for you. I also always open a wipe or two and have it unfolded and laid out ready to use.
  2. Lay the baby down. Most people have a specific area to change baby. This can be a changing table or changing pad. If you have a table, be sure to use the strap for baby's safety. Never leave baby unattended while changing him or her. Unfasten the old diaper, but don't pull it out from under the baby yet. This allows for some margin of safety in case the cold air inspires baby to let go.
  3. Hold on! Grasp the baby's ankles and gently lift their bottom-up and begin to wash their bottom with the wipes. If the area is heavily soiled you can use the front part of the old diaper to remove part of the mess. As you finish with each wipe, gently place in under the baby (clean side up) for easier cleanup. When the baby's skin is clean, pull the diaper and wipes out from under baby and set it aside.
  4. Fresh & Clean Place the new, clean diaper under baby and secure the fasteners. If you still have a newborn, you might need to fold down the top of the diaper to make room from the umbilical cord. Don't be afraid to pull the diaper on snuggly. If you have it on too loosely... Well, you can imagine the mess that makes!
  5. Clean up! After putting the baby's clothes back on, take the old diaper and use the fasteners to make it into a small ball, crisscrossing the fasteners. Place it in the diaper pail or trash. I always keep a container of liquid disinfectant near my changing table to use on my hands. Then I handed the baby off to someone else or lay her down and wash my hands at the sink.
  6. Cloth Diapers

    Gone are the days of diaper pins and wiggly babies. Now you only have to contend with wiggly babies! Cloth diapers have become very user-friendly. Many are now what we call All in Ones (AIO). This means that they are used just like a disposable diaper. They fasten with Velcro®.
    Other cloth diapers are used as disposables, though you may need to fold or use a pre-folded diaper followed by a cover that is usually fastened with Velcro® for a waterproof cover. Both varieties can be done at home or with a diaper service if one is available in your area.


    Bathing can be such a great relaxing time for you and the baby. Older kids also love to help out if your baby isn't the first one on the block. Here are some baby bathing basics. Remember to talk to the baby as you are bathing. They love this interaction and it stimulates their brain and makes them feel more comfortable.

    Bathing Baby

    1. Gather your supplies. Being prepared is usually the first step with anything having to do with a baby! So, gather a towel, washcloth, any soaps or lotions you intend to use.
    2. In the bathroom. It doesn't matter what form of the tub you're using, whether it's the regular bathtub, a baby bathtub or container, the water needs to be shallow and just the right temperature, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people suggest testing the water with your wrist, an area of more sensitive skin. You also want to ensure that whatever room you are in is warm enough and free of drafts.
    3. Strip Tease Talk to your baby as you remove their clothing. Hold them close and make them feel secure. If you have a baby who absolutely hates to be naked, try to do a sponge bath for the first few weeks, and slowly undress them and wrap them in a towel, and only uncover the part you're currently washing.
    4. Fresh & Clean Place the baby in the tub, but always hold on with one hand for safety. Use your other hand, or any small helpers, to take the washcloth and begin washing the baby. Remember to start with the face and neck and do the diaper area last. Many soaps for baby can be used in their hair. You also have the option of not using soap on baby's delicate skin.
    5. All done! Once the baby is washed, wrap him or her in a towel and leave the bath stuff for a clean up later. Use the towel to dry baby off. You can, if you desire, use lotion on the baby after a bath, though it's not necessary for most babies. Put a clean diaper and outfit on the baby. Once the baby is sleeping or with someone else, you can then clean up the bath equipment.

    Alternative Ways to Bathe Baby

    As with everything, there is always more than one way to do it! While the above is the traditional way that many people use to bathe their babies, there are alternatives. A great one to use is to actually bring the baby into the bath with you. They love skin-to-skin contact. You simply cradle the baby on your lap and bathe them. When you're done, you can either hand the baby off to another adult and finish your bath or get out and take care of the baby. This is also a great technique for baby's who are having trouble latching onto the breast. The water and skin contact can be enough to help them relax and nurse more effectively.


    Feeding your baby is more than just a matter of nutrition, it's also about nurturing and comfort. Using feeding time to make eye contact and hold your baby are great ways to increase that bonding time. It's also a great time to talk to your little one. This goes for breast or bottle feeding.


    Breast Feeding Baby

    1. Choose a position. You can choose any position you wish to nurse in, whether that be a seated or laying down position. It should be one that gives you the best feeding position for your baby and their needs. This may vary with the baby's age, your comfort level and even the time of day. Many people use the cradle hold, with mom seated upright, holding the baby like a cradle. This allows you to hold the baby with one hand and use the other to support or move your breast.
    2. Need a lift? No matter what position you decide on, get some support! 
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