Newborn Tips

If you haven’t been able to tell by the recent increase in parenting posts, I’ve had babies on the brain lately. I am down to four weeks until my due date, but my babies tend to come early. Some of my posts have also been inspired by recent conversations with acquaintances who are also expecting or hope to be expecting soon. I have a few tips for dealing with a newborn, though, that you don’t normally find in a baby care manual.

#1 Do not over-bathe your baby.

This applies really to all babies and toddlers, but usually the bad habit starts early. You won’t be able to give your baby a bath in water until the umbilical stump comes off, but your baby really only needs a bath about once a week after that. You obviously want to make sure that genitals are kept clean and wipe in between folds of fat, but too much bathing with soap and water can dry out your baby’s skin causing not-so-pretty skin conditions. Bathing a baby can also be very stressful for everyone involved, so you might as well spare yourself.

#2 Do not change your baby’s clothes unless absolutely necessary.

Newborns do not get their clothes dirty like older babies do; they aren’t eating solid food or crawling on the floor. I know that you can’t wait to see your baby in all those cute new outfits, but believe me, you will go through them soon enough. They do not need a fresh outfit every morning; if they can get by with the same outfit two days in a row feel lucky.

Here’s the thing. You will have some days where your newborn will stay really clean all day, and then you will have some days where they go through almost every outfit they own due to potty or spit-up issues. By not changing your baby’s outfit until absolutely necessary you not only spare yourself more laundry during an adjustment period, but you also are saving up outfits for those bad days.

#4 Beware of potty spray.

Many people mistakenly only think of little boys peeing in the air. Let me tell you, baby girls can get a pretty good range as well. Usually within a few months, my baby girls have stopped eliminating waste during diaper changes, but newborns can blow at any second. And speaking of blowing, if you breastfeed then your baby will make the runny, sweet-smelling, mustard-looking poop that might also squirt out at anytime. (I do mean squirt.)

First of all, I recommend that you get the baby’s clothing as far away from the bottom as possible. Sometimes this means stripping the baby down to its t-shirt before changing a diaper; sometimes, in the case of the sleeper, it means tucking the bottom half up under the baby’s head. Secondly, do not start peeling off the old diaper until the new diaper is completely opened up and ready to go. Also be sure that all of your wiping supplies are within arms reach. Third, very quickly switch out the wet diaper with the dry diaper. If you have a poopy diaper to change, you will need to alternate between wiping a little and keeping the diaper over the baby’s front.

I usually put a hand towel over the changing pad and under the baby in case I am not fast enough in switching out diapers. It absorbs the wetness before it has a chance to spread to the babies clothes or soak into the changing pad. Then I just replace the soiled towel with a fresh one. The key to successful newborn diaper changes (meaning those that do not turn into a bigger mess than you started with) is to work quickly and confidently.

I also recommend that for the first six months that you always remove the baby’s socks before any diaper change. Babies have this uncanny knack for sticking their feet right in their open and soiled diaper. I am so not kidding.

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