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Newborn Basics

You have a newborn! Congratulations! This is an amazing time as you bond with baby and find out their unique personality. Let’s go over some basic areas.


A common misconception is that baby needs to be bathed everyday. This isn’t the case. In fact, a sponge bath every other day is a more efficient way to clean your newborn baby. Sponge baths enable you to clean between skin folds, which all babies have, and their diaper area.

When they’re ready for a bath, make sure the water is warm and they’re comfortable. The baby baths with a net sling are best. Place warm wash cloths on baby’s tummy to help keep them warm, dip it in warm water often as they get cold quickly. Have a soft towel ready so there’s no cold transitions from tub to you.

Remember: you can be too careful when it comes to bath time. Don’t freak out. Let them enjoy bath time. They can become afraid of the water as they get older if you set them up to fear it. Let baby be aware of the look, sound, and feel of the water. Try little splashes, your baby is fully capable of blinking out the water. Don’t set them up to mind it or you’re in for a problem as they get older. Also – a little water in the ears will not cause middle ear infections so don’t worry, enjoy bath time!

You will quickly realize the routine of a warm bath and some cuddle time will encourage sleep in your baby. As they get older make bath time fun, you can even get a hooded towel in their favorite animal! PB Kids make a wonderful assortment!


Bathing often is not recommended for babies because of their sensitivity. Most newborns have dry skin and peel. This is completely normal and doesn’t mean they need moisturizers. If you do want to use lotion, make sure it is hypoallergenic and oil-based (not water based). Same goes for their wash. A foamy wash is typically preferred.

BabyGanics and California Baby are excellent options because they are made with essential oils.

Common issues: umbilical cords and circumcision remnants. These will dry up quickly and fall off on their own within 2-4 weeks. In the mean time, sponge the area gently to clean off any mess and leave it alone.


There are so many options for diapers. Whatever you choose: eco-friendly, cloth, or the basic Pampers, here are some basic tips…

Luckily, diaper rash is not common during the newborn period but it doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally run into problems.

To help baby be free of rashes all you need to do is regularly change them. While changing, allow their skin to air dry for a bit before putting on a diaper. You can also use a dry washcloth or tissue to dry off any wet residue. Zinc oxide ointments are really effective if you see a rash forming. Otherwise, petroleum jelly is great for everyday because it provides a protective barrier.

Baby powder isn’t needed, but if you want to use it make sure it’s TALC-FREE. If not, it can damage baby’s lungs from breathing it in. Rub it on your hands first and then apply it.

You might choose to use a wipe warmer if you feel your baby in sensitive to cold but if it’s room temperature it usually it won’t phase them.


There are many rashes, two of the most common rashes you may see with your newborn are either from irritation or yeast. Irritation stems from contact with pee and poop. Yeast is from something called “candida” that thrives in moist, warm areas.

Both will cause redness and if the rash doesn’t seem to be healing itself after a few days, go to the doctor. Sometimes a yeast infection can also be seen in baby’s mouth. It looks like little white spots, which is called “thrush”.

While most rashes are not serious, any rash associated with other symptoms (fever, poor feeding, a cough, lethargy) should be seen by a doctor immediately.


Baby’s first poops will be dark green-blackish in color, but only for the first few days. After that brown, green, yellow, orange and tan are normal colors. Every baby is different, and formula versus breastfed is also different.

There is no need to worry unless poop is black, white or has some bright red blood. If so, see a doctor immediately.

Red means blood, black is usually from old blood and white can potentially mean a liver problem.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. this is very helpful for new moms! I must past this along! thanks! 🙂

    September 4, 2012

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  1. Newborn Basics – Kids Are From Pluto - Child World, Child Lifestyle, Child Products

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Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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