The Ultimate Newborn Care Guide

by Sarah
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image of newborn care after delivery

Has it been nine months already?

Time flies when you’re pregnant. And then it seems to go by even faster after your baby has been born. As a new mom, you probably have a million questions that you are typing into google…

Are you breastfeeding right?

What is the proper way to give your baby a bath?

Newborns are so fragile, is there a certain way I should be handling my newborn?

Should I Keep track of how much my baby sleeps? or how much my baby eats? Should I be keeping track of their wet and dirty diapers?

You have that mother’s intuition on what to do, but you still want to make sure you are doing it right! This newborn care guide is to help you answer those questions without having to bounce all over the place.

Related: The Hospital Bag Checklist You Need

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at, no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please read my disclosure for more info. 

NEWBORN CARE AFTER LABOR AND DELIVERY

newborn with mother following labor

BREASTFEEDING

Right after you have delivered your baby and the doctors and nurses make sure that your little one is a-okay, they lay your bundle of joy right on your chest. The feeling you get is indescribable.

If you decided that you wanted to breastfeed, this is the time to start! Bring your baby to your breast and let him attempt to latch on. Remember that breastfeeding is a learning curve for both you and your baby! He has only ever gotten his nourishment from the placenta his entire existence, until now.

RELATED: Breastfeeding For New Moms

HAVE YOUR BABY CHECKED FOR TONGUE AND LIP TIES

Tongue and lip ties get missed sometimes in the hospital. You should have them double-check because if you have chosen to breastfeed then this can make your baby’s latch painful for you. And it can cause your baby to not be able to get as much breastmilk as he needs.

UTILIZE THE LACTATION CONSULTANTS AT THE HOSPITAL

Have a list of questions written down for the lactation consultant in the hospital prior to giving delivery. This way you don’t forget anything. Questions that I asked. .

  • What are the different positions that I can breastfeed?
  • How do I use my breast pump? And when should I start pumping?
  • How long until my milk comes in?
  • When will my supply regulate and what should I expect?
  • Are there any foods I should avoid with breastfeeding?

You get the idea.

Also, don’t let the lactation consultants rush you! Their job is to help you feel comfortable with breastfeeding!

FIRST BATH

In the hospital, you will need to decide prior if you want to have them wash your baby immediately after giving birth or if you want to wait. The world health organization recommends waiting at least 24 hours before giving your baby its first bath. The reason for this is the vernix that covers your baby after delivery protects your baby! Think of that icky goo as a barrier from germs, and that barrier from germs also helps your baby regulate their temperature!

An added bonus to waiting to give your baby their first bath is that you get to be a part of giving your baby their first bath! I call that a mom win!

RELATED: What You Need To Know About Bathing Your Newborn

DRESSING YOUR BABY

Your baby has never had to regulate their temperature before!

Your baby was in a constant cocoon of warmth for the last nine months!

When it comes to dressing your baby make sure to dress them warmly! That little newborn hat, a onesie with a pair of pants, and socks!

TRACK YOUR BABY’S DAY

At the hospital, they usually give mom and dad a chart to keep track of everything your baby does. From eating, to sleeping, to pooping, and peeing.

You are probably wondering why you should track your baby’s day, let’s start with the most important reason. Tracking your baby’s wet and dirty diapers gives you an indicator if they are getting enough to eat! Your baby should be having at least 6 wet diapers by day 4.

Reasons It’s Important to Track Your Baby’s Day

  • You will be able to tell which breast your baby fed on last
  • You will have all the information in front of you for any questions your baby’s pediatrician asks; such as how many wet diapers has your baby had? When was your baby’s last bowel movement and what color was it?
  • You can get an idea of how much your baby is sleeping a day

I recommend you get a tracking tool for yourself that you can utilize at home. It can be helpful when you have a sitter and want to know how many times your baby had their diaper changed. Also if you want to be able to know when was the last time your baby had a bottle, and if they sitter gave any medication like Tylenol.

SKIN TO SKIN

Start bonding with your baby right after delivery! Skin to skin is just what you think it is. After delivery, your naked baby gets put on your bare chest, and you cuddle and probably cry. Your heart is so full of love.

The world health organization recommends “Newborns without complications should be kept in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers during the first hour after birth to prevent hypothermia and promote breastfeeding.” [SOURCE]

Check out the Benefits of Skin-To-Skin


NEWBORN CARE AT HOME – COMMON ISSUES

CRADLE CAP

I don’t know about you, but I love to call Cradle Cap. . . Cradle CRAP.

Cradle cap is very common among newborns. Cradle cap consists of flaky/patchy scales underneath what little hair your baby has. No, it doesn’t look nice, but with time and a little care, it will go away. Your baby is perfect!

My pediatrician recommend to put a dab of baby oil on my little one’s head and to brush it with a soft-bristled brush nightly. This did the trick for us!

CLOGGED TEAR DUCTS

If you notice that your baby has crusties around their eyes don’t panic! Clogged tear ducts after birth are common. I recommend just watching your little one eyes and look for symptoms of infection such as redness and warmth. Here are some At-Home Treatments for Blocked Tear Ducts in Babies.

BABY ACNE

Does your baby’s complexion have pimples and what not? Does it appear in just a certain spot or seemingly all over? Baby Acne is a common issue which is why I have included it in this newborn care guide just for you!

baby acne is common with a newborn

Your baby’s skin is still ultra-sensitive, so you don’t want to utilize any acne wash, lotions, or creams without your doctor’s recommendation.

There is good news though! Baby Acne usually clears up all on its own! Just give it time.

If you are super concerned here is a more in depth article covering Baby Acne: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.

UMBILICAL CORD CARE

Your baby’s umbilical cord should fall off anywhere from seven to fourteen days! Proper care of the umbilical cord stump can make a huge difference.

  • Keep the umbilical cord stump dry and just clean around it if needed
  • Know that it will turn black in its last few days
  • Follow Your Pediatricians Recommendations: Mine recommended for us to leave the cord alone and let it fall off naturally – I have seen where some pediatricians recommend a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the base of the stump three times a day

TRIMMING YOUR BABY’S FINGERNAILS AND TOENAILS

mother giving newborn nail care

First things first. Invest in a good pair of baby nail clippers!

Baby nails are like sharp little daggers that are out to get you! I know some parents even buy newborn mitts just to protect their little one’s faces from their own demise.

Yes, newborns’ fingers are super delicate and seemingly super fragile. And I’m the first to admit that when it comes to trimming those little fingernails, I’m a scaredy-cat. But it still needs to be done.

Just remember to take a deep breath, and remain calm while you are doing it.

TAKING YOUR BABY’S TEMPERATURE – THE RIGHT WAY

The most accurate temperature you can take is a rectal temperature. That’s right, I am talking about putting a thermometer up your baby’s bottom.

Yes, you can still take a temporal temperature or an axillary temperature (under the arm) BUT the most accurate one is the rectal temperature.

When doing a rectal temperature make sure you lubricate the tip of the baby rectal thermometer with vaseline. Then insert the thermometer 1/2 an inch to 1 full inch, but no farther. Then you wait for the thermometer to beep and give you a result! Following the result remember to clean the tip with an alcohol swab.

DIAPER RASH

Nobody wants their baby to get diaper rash. No one wants their baby to feel any type of pain. I personally use preventive measure when it comes to diaper rash.

FOR PREVENTATIVE MEASURES YOU SHOULD

  • Change your baby’s diaper in an appropriate amount of time
  • Use unscented/fragrance-free wipes
  • Provide proper pericare with each diaper change – wiping front to back
  • Apply diaper cream following every diaper change (Optional)

BABY GAS

Baby gas is the worst. Imagine gas being built up in your tummy, and not knowing how to fart. The build up of that air just expanding your belly more and more.

SO HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR NEWBORN RELIVE GAS?

  • During and After feeding your baby, help him or her burp – babies tend to swallow air during feeds
  • Help your baby expel gas by doing bicycle legs – lay your baby on their back and move his or her little legs in bicycle motions to help expel the gas
  • Give your baby Gripe Water to help relieve gas – Gripe water is intended to help relieve the discomfort that comes from gas
  • Alternate using gripe water with Gas Drops to relieve your baby’s discomfort
  • Always Check With Your Baby’s Pediatrician Before using over the counter medications for your newborn!

SWADDLING YOUR BABY

Let me start with saying that swaddling doesn’t work for everybody. Take my son for example he hated to be swaddled. He loved stretching out and would constantly break free from any type of swaddle. BUT I know a lot of parents swear by swaddling and utilizing sleep sacks.

There are special blankets made just for swaddling. Do your research and figure out what works best for you and your family!

WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE-AWAY FROM THIS NEWBORN CARE GUIDE

Life with a newborn can definitely turn your world upside down. You can only do so much. So remember to ask questions. Ask your friends who have kids, your parents, and your pediatricians.

Remember

  • Newborns are not as fragile as they seem! But still, handle them with care
  • Google can be your friend, but it can also be your worst enemy
  • Trust your motherly intuition it’s there for a reason

If I missed anything that you think would be worth mentioning let me know in the comments!

XOXO,

radically adorkable TRANSPARENT

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