Everyday Care for Babies

Bringing your new baby home from the hospital is exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. You may worry about how breastfeeding will go or how you'll get your baby to take a bottle or whether your baby will have colic. Changing diapers, pumping milk or preparing formula, and knowing how many layers your baby should be dressed in may not be as simple as it seemed at first.

There's a lot to get a handle on when caring for a baby, but with time, you will get the hang of it. No matter how new you are to newborn care, you are the best parent for your child. Your family is growing, and that's a beautiful thing! These resources can help you care for your baby and troubleshoot challenges, every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to take care of a newborn?

    Taking care of a newborn includes feeding, diapering, and keeping your baby clean and comforted. Newborns need to drink breast milk or formula about every two to three hours. If your baby is still asleep at the three-hour mark, you'll need to wake them to feed. When changing a baby's wet diaper, there is no need to use wipes or baby powder. If your baby's diaper is soiled, you will need to thoroughly clean the area. Newborns only need baths about three times per week. Wait 24 hours to bathe your baby for the first time, and stick with sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off.

  • How much is it a month to take care of a baby?

    Taking care of a baby costs roughly $1,200 per month, but it can vary considerably between families. Diapers and formula may be some of your biggest expenses. Babies also need clothing, which they grow out of every few months. Cribs can be expensive, but it's also safe for a baby to sleep in a play yard, which costs much less. Paid childcare is another major cost for many families, whether that's a nanny, a home daycare, a daycare facility, or one parent staying home to care for baby while the other works.

  • How often should you bathe a newborn?

    You should bathe your newborn about three times a week. Bathing more frequently is not necessary and it may dry out your baby's sensitive skin. When your baby is first born, it is advisable to wait 24 hours before giving them their first bath. Delaying the first bath has been found to reduce your baby's risk of developing hypothermia or hypoglycemia, and it greatly increases your chance of breastfeeding success.

    Also, you don't want to wash a special substance called vernix off your baby's skin. Vernix has antibacterial properties and it helps keep your baby's skin moist. Your newborn's umbilical cord stump will still be attached for about a week or two after birth. The stump needs to stay dry to avoid infection, so it's important to stick to sponge baths only until the cord falls off.

  • Do babies feel stress from parents?

    Your baby is very attuned to your emotional state, and they pick up on your stress. Research indicates that a baby's stress level rises when its mother's stress level rises. Focusing on self-care as much as possible during the early days of your baby's life benefits both of you. If you are experiencing a stressful life situation or you have an anxiety disorder, make your mental health a priority as much as you can, and reach out to your healthcare provider when necessary.

  • When should you start tummy time?

    You can start tummy time as soon as you bring your new baby home from the hospital. Place your baby on their stomach and interact with them for three to five minutes, a couple of times per day to start. As your baby gets used to tummy time, you can gradually increase the duration.

    Tummy time helps your baby build neck and core strength, preparing them to meet milestones like sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking. It also helps reduce your baby's chance of developing a flat spot on their head. You should always place your baby to sleep on their back for all periods of sleep and do tummy time while your baby is awake and alert.

  • Does warm milk make babies sleep better?

    Warm milk may help your baby sleep better. If you are nursing your baby, your milk is already at the perfect temperature. Pumped milk or formula may be warmed, and temperature tested by dropping a few drops on the inside of your wrist. Never use a microwave to warm milk. In the evenings, breast milk has higher levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you pump your milk, it may help to label your milk with the time you pumped it, so you can feed your baby melatonin-rich milk in the evenings and at night.

  • What is a good bedtime routine for a newborn?

    Starting a bedtime routine early will help teach your baby that it's time for sleep. First, dress your baby for bed and give them a fresh diaper. Next, breastfeed your baby or give them a bottle. Last, read them a book and sing them a song. What your baby wears to bed will vary based on climate. They may wear a onesie, footed pajamas and a sleep sack or swaddle. It's important that babies do not overheat, so avoid over-bundling. Reading and singing to your baby at bedtime is a good way to make sure that you are sharing books and language with them every day. It also helps your baby understand what bedtime is, when they have multiple signals that always occur in the same order.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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