newborn care tips

How to Survive Life as a New Parent: Caring for Your Newborn

The feeling of seeing your newborn in the nursery after nine months carrying them through your womb is a moment that can’t be forgotten. Your motherhood journey begins when you leave the hospital as a first-time mother, it may seem overwhelming to handle and care for these tiny ones but postpartum recovery and strength recovery are just as important too! All things must be taken into consideration while trying to keep this baby alive (gulp!), which could explain why there’s a Baby Alive toy out on store shelves!

Getting Help from your Mommy Community

A first-time mother will need all the help she can get. Even after the pandemic, travel restrictions remain. Additionally, if your family lives in a different state or country, you’ll need moral and physical support from your mommy friends and your community, as motherhood can feel like a lonely journey at times. Check out your local breastfeeding support groups, playgroups, or mommy night outs that provide first-time mothers advice and tips that we found helpful while taking care of our newborns.

 Caring for your baby can feel scary, but oftentimes, there are a lot of experts available around your area. There are several types of specialists that can help: parenting consultants who specialize in infant feeding and child development; pediatricians for taking care of their health needs on an ongoing basis; lactation consultants to work out breastfeeding problems or provide support if they’re bottle-fed instead.

Newborn Care Experts, You Can Consult With:

  • If you’re curious as to how long it takes the average breastfed baby to wean, or are currently struggling with clogged milk ducts and mastitis, then a lactation consultant is your answer.
  • Making an appointment with your child’s pediatrician will prepare you for the baby. As a parent, it is important to have someone who can help provide care and treatment when needed.
  • Often, a new mother can feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for her child. It’s hard to keep up with what all is going on when you’re worried about your baby and adjusting emotionally. A postpartum doula can help relieve some of this pressure so that mothers are able to enjoy these precious first days as new moms!

newborn care tip-ask help from community

Caring for your baby can feel scary, but there are a lot of experts available to help you!

Tips for Handling Your Newborn Safely

The first thing you need to understand is that the soft areas in your baby’s head need to be protected. The baby’s soft spots (fontanelles) are where their brain and skull meet, but they’re not completely fused yet as an adult would have them. Keep these openings free of pressure for healthy development into adulthood! You’ll want to know about two different types: anterior and posterior fontanelle (or diamond-shaped at the top of the head or triangular structure at back). At birth, both will measure around one centimeter long-only ½ centimeters wide on average. 

The first thing you need to understand about these parts is that they’re crucial for protecting delicate brain tissue from injury while still allowing space for head growth during infancy (yes, there’s room left). It may sound silly but it might save them!

From the moment your baby is born, you’ll need to pay attention to the soft spots on their head. The right way of taking care of them are as follows:

  • Washing your hands is important for everyone, but especially when handling a newborn. Newborns are vulnerable to many things and have an impaired immune system that makes them more susceptible to infection. As their skin can be sensitive due to allergies; make sure you wash your own hands before touching the baby’s delicate skin with soapy water or alcohol wipes!
  • The best way to pick up your baby is by supporting their head and neck with one hand, placing the other under his bottom. Then, bend your knees for support of the back before gently leaning in so that he can be close to your chest.
  • When holding your baby, it is very important to be careful not to shake him. This can lead to serious brain bleeding and even death. Likewise, do not throw or jiggle the knees of a child as this may also cause injury if done excessively. Remember babies are still developing their muscles, bones, and cartilage!
  • When doing the shoulder hold, cradle your baby in your arms and support their head. Place one hand on top of this infant’s dome to maintain a gentle pressure while keeping them snug against you with another arm for balance as they sleep soundly from being so close to mama!
  • When you take your baby out for a stroll, make sure the stroller or car seat is fastened securely. Don’t try to engage in bouncy activities like going down bumpy sidewalks with them inside. 
  • Avoid climbing and descending stairs quickly while holding onto your infant; look at each step as you go up or down so that you won’t trip over your feet on any of those steps!
  • When carrying an infant it’s also best not to hold hot drinks such as coffee. Cooking or preparing food shouldn’t be done while holding the baby.

Maintain Good Hygiene and Cleanliness to Protect Newborns from Diseases

One of the most important things to do when returning home from a trip is to take precautions against bringing any potential viruses that you might have been exposed to back into your house. Be sure and wash up before holding your baby, as well as change out of those dirty clothes! We want nothing but happiness for our child’s health! After experiencing an outbreak like Covid-19 is very careful about keeping our home safe from outside bacteria.

tips on handling newborn babies

The best way to pick up your baby is by supporting their head and neck

Changing Your Newborn Baby’s Diaper

Changing diapers can be one of the funniest and most relatable experiences for first-time moms. You’ll know when your baby is peeing or pooping because they’ll make this funny face that you’ve never seen them do before. It’s important to know what to do if your baby’s done doing his business: keep calm! Regardless of how it smells, the first thing you should always change their diaper and clothes (if soiled). 

It’s best to set up diaper changing stations at home since you’ll need to change diapers until they’re potty trained. Identify at least two places where you and the baby usually stay. In these stations, it might be useful to provide a basket or caddy stocked with diaper-changing essentials such as:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Alcohol or sanitizer
  • Doctor prescribed diaper rash cream (use only when advised by the pediatrician)

Choosing between cloth or disposable diapers

Cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers: what’s the difference? Cloth is reusable, but they’re typically more work to clean and can be bulky for a day out on the go. Disposables offer convenience with fewer laundry duties at home; however, their environmental impact is not sustainable in some cases (depending on how much garbage you dispose of). You might want to consult this article from The Bump that talks about the pros/cons of each type! Regardless of your choice though – remember it’s most important to always change those dirty diapers ASAP so your baby won’t get diaper rash!cloth diaper for newborn

Cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers: what’s the difference?

How to change your newborn’s diaper 

Lay your baby on a flat surface or your bed and remove the diaper. Make sure you’re not spreading any germs by washing up first! Clean their genital area with cotton balls, water, washcloth/wipes; for boys be careful in removing the diaper to avoid urine contact. For girls clean her bottom from front to back so she doesn’t get urinary tract infections – apply ointment afterward too so they don’t develop rashes. After changing, diapers make sure you wash your hands well before touching anything else!

What to do when there’s diaper rash

Diaper rash is an unpleasant and painful experience for babies. It can be caused by a number of factors, such as the materials used in disposable diapers or not changing your baby’s diaper soon after they poop. Consult with your doctor to see what he recommends when treating this condition. Some of the things you can do:

  • Apply the doctor prescribed diaper cream
  • Change your disposable diaper brand
  • Wash the affected area with warm water and a gentle cleanser

nightingale muslin balnket

Swaddling helps your newborn sleep better

Soothing the Baby

Every time you hear your baby cry out, it can be one of the most stressful moments of your life. You want to help them so much and but sometimes, you don’t know what to do next. Don’t worry, But there are a few things first-time parents should keep in mind when trying to soothe their newborn:

  •  Be gentle – Your touch will mean everything for this little human. Give tender kisses on his or her forehead while rocking him or her back and forth gently
  • Create a calm environment – Sometimes babies associate loud noises such as those from vacuum cleaners.

Find out why they’re crying

There are many reasons why babies cry, and it’s not always because they’re in pain. Crying is their way of communicating their needs. Familiarize yourself with the different types of cries: Does he/she sound hungry? Are they feeling unwell? Are they cranky because they’re sleepy, or need a diaper change? Your first instinct is usually hunger, but it’s important to figure out the reason why your baby is crying and then proceed accordingly.

Different ways to soothe the crying baby

  • Give them a chance to nurse themselves back to sleep! Try putting on soft music. If they continue, try rocking or singing to them first.
  • If they’re hungry, give them a bottle, but make sure to burp them. 
  • If the first two haven’t worked, you might want to try changing their diaper and clothes first. 

Soothing Activities You Can Do Regularly

We feel you mama. Having a fussy baby is no fun for anyone, especially first-time moms who struggle to understand why their little angel is fussing all the time. In situations where they need something more than comfort and cuddles in order to stop the crying, here are some activities you can try:

  • The benefits of Kangaroo Care are endless. It’s a technique that can be used for infants and children so in addition to keeping your baby calm while they’re crying or fussy it also allows you to develop an even deeper bond with them as well! They will not only benefit from skin-to-skin contact but their brain development is boosted; heart rate stabilized; weight gained faster among other things too!
  • One way to interact with your baby is by giving them a massage. It can help improve their sleep habits and form an intimate bond between you two but doing it after feeding. Wait for at least 45 minutes before doing so. For more information on how to do an infant massage, watch this video from a pediatric occupational therapist which outlines everything in detail! 
  • Swaddling your baby is a great way to protect and soothe him. Gently wrapping the blanket around his tiny body will calm him down, help lull him into sleep better than ever before, as well as mimic that feeling of being inside mom’s womb-safe and secure! The snug swaddle blankets wrapped around them are their security when they need it most; for deep relaxation or just for some much-needed rest from day-to-day pressures like hunger pangs at 2 am in the morning. If you’re not sure what to buy, here’s a guide on the different types of blankets from Nightingale.

how to bathe newborn babies

Pro-tip: keep all of their bathing essentials in one place

Bathing and Cleaning Your Newborn

At first, bathing your newborn may seem a little scary. Holding and cleaning someone who is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand can be intimidating at first, but you will get better with time (plus, they’ll also grow very quickly!). At this point, it’s all about what works for both of you! Take your time with each step and see how your baby’s reaction. Try to keep bath water at a temperature of 100 F (38 C). You should also ensure that the room is pleasantly warm. 

To make it easier to bathe your baby, you should keep all of their bathing essentials in one place. You can save time by having a bath basket that contains everything they need for a hassle-free experience. In the meantime, here’s a checklist that you need to prepare when giving a bath.

Giving a Sponge Bath

A sponge bath is a great way to clean your baby when they are not ready for the big tub. Instead of having them bathe in water, you can just use some warm washcloth and get their whole body nice and shiny! You want to keep giving this kind of bath until it’s time for that umbilical cord stump to dry and fall off eventually. For a sponge bath, you will need the following things: 

  • Warm water in a big bowl
  • Two washcloths
  • Two baby bath towels
  • Mild, organic baby soap or cleansers
  • Cotton balls
  • Baby wipes
  • Clean diaper and fresh outfit

Your Baby’s First Full Bath

Newborns need a lot of attention, especially newborns. One way to get them squeaky clean is with the use of an infant bathtub and water with a temperature of 100 F (38 C). The smaller size prevents any accidental slips or spills from happening during the bathing time! Stick to mild cleansers because they are gentle on baby skin while still getting rid of all those pesky germs for good – after all, it can’t be fun for your baby to be sick when you’re just learning how everything works! Prepare these things before giving them a bath:

  • Baby’s tub
  • Washcloth
  • Hooded towel
  • Non-toxic shampoo or body wash
  • Diaper
  • Lotion
  • Clean clothes
  • Baby’s comb

Here’s a full step-by-step bathing guide from Baby Center. Check out their daily care and routine page to help you navigate newborn care.

Circumcision and Umbilical Cord Care

You should thoroughly clean the diaper area after every diaper change

Circumcision and Umbilical Cord Care


Caring for your newly circumcised baby, whether it was done by a doctor at the hospital or as part of your religious tradition can sound stressful. But circumcision isn’t nearly as traumatic as you might think. It’s a simple procedure in which the skin covering the tip of the penis, or foreskin, is removed, usually within two or three days of birth.

After ten days, the baby’s circumcision will heal. A stump will be left after the doctor cuts the umbilical cord that connects you to your child. After the stump falls off, it will take between 10 and 21 days for it to heal. Here are the things you need to prepare for caring for your newborn’s umbilical cord:

  • Warm water
  • Non-toxic and unscented soap
  • Diaper
  • Gauze 
  • Petroleum Jelly

You should thoroughly clean the diaper area after every diaper change. If irritation is present, use warm water and unscented soap to gently wash your baby’s penis with a soft cloth while it dries naturally. Continue washing in sponge baths until the wound has healed. Doctors have mixed opinions about whether or not you need to keep a dressing on your healing penis. If that’s the case, ask what the reason for their recommendations is, and go with the suggestion that you’re most comfortable with. 

Keeping the Umbilical Cord Clean

Maintaining proper hygiene for your newborn’s belly button is crucial to preventing infection. Make sure a cotton swab has been soaked in rubbing alcohol and applied to the cord’s base two to three times a day to keep the cord clean. Lifting the cord will ensure that the base is thoroughly cleaned. After cleaning it, be sure to fold diapers below the cord so the cord won’t rub against anything. Dry cords fall off more quickly. Bathe your child only in sponges until the umbilical cord falls off. You may notice slight bleeding after it starts falling off. If you notice any signs of infection around your cord, call your doctor immediately. Signs of infection include:

  • Foul smell
  • Oozing pus
  • Redness around the cord
  • Swelling around the area

Cleaning your child’s cord stump is difficult and uncomfortable, but it needs to be done. Rubbing alcohol will make the experience worse by feeling cold on their skin which likely causes them to cry a little bit out of discomfort.

Feeding Your Newborn

Fed is best! Nourishing and nurturing your baby is the most important thing

Feeding and Burping Your Baby

While the topic of breastfeeding or using formula milk deserves a separate discussion on its own, just know that nourishing and nurturing your baby is the most important thing. Both have their pros and cons, and just because you don’t breastfeed doesn’t make you a bad mother. 

Timing Tips for Feeding

  1. Breastfeeding can be done every one and a half to three hours for the first few weeks. 
  2. As your newborn gets older, you might breastfeed him every 90 minutes or for some every 2 to 3 hours between feedings. 
  3. The ideal schedule for bottle-feeding or formula-feeding your newborn is usually between two to three hours.

Tips and Trick for Burping

You need to feed your baby and then burp him. Burping helps relieve the air that your infant has swallowed during feeding which can cause them to feel uncomfortable, making him spit up or become fussy. To do this cup one hand gently patting their back while holding a soft, absorbent cloth under their chin.


It’s true that while your baby will get a lot of sleep, you may be losing some snooze hours mama! And it might take time for things to balance themselves out. That said, don’t fret because here are some tips on how you and the little one can survive this bedtime routine together — according to The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), newborn babies need 14-17 hours of uninterrupted night and day sleep with an average waking period every 2-3 hour if feeding is necessary.

Some parents opt for room sharing during the first weeks of a newborn. Some prefer this because it’s easier to monitor and oversee your baby in that arrangement, but some like having their little one all tucked away in another room so they can do sleep training without interruption.

 There are pros and cons either way- if you’re interested in sleeping next to your new bundle of joy from day one, go with full co-sleeping; on the other hand, if you want them out as soon as possible (or have already been doing early separation), then try gentle methods such as behavioral shaping or cry-it-out techniques while keeping an eye on things through video camera feeds.

 What’s important though is that, it’s not ideal and safe to share a bed without anything to separate you and your newborn for six months to 1 year. You might fall into a deep sleep and end up rolling over your baby- which could be very dangerous! The most important thing to remember is to place the infant on his back while they are sleeping in order to help prevent SIDS or sudden death syndrome from occurring.

sleeping tips for newborn baby nightingale

Safety first: it’s not ideal and safe to share a bed without anything to separate you and your newborn for six months to 1 year

Wrap Up

As a mother, you often wear many hats at once. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and forget to enjoy the moment. Your baby will grow up so fast that before long they’ll be walking around the house talking to themselves in their own language. Also, remember to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating well too (you deserve it!). Don’t be afraid to seek out help from other mamas who have gone through similar experiences. Oftentimes, you would find not just helpful tips, but love and support too.

 This is a journey that will be unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced before. Talk to your partner and allow them to be a part of this process as much as possible. It can help give both of you peace of mind knowing that it’s not just one person navigating these uncharted waters alone! We hope you find this article helpful. If there’s anything you think that can be helpful and we have not mentioned here, please feel free to share in the comment section below.  

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