Bringing Home Baby: Baby Basics

Are you a new parent or will soon be one? There’s a lot to learn and it’s important to prepare. From safe sleep to understanding cries to feeding, here are some baby basics to help you get started:

Feeding Baby

Breastfeeding is recommended for at least an infant’s first year. In the first days, babies will eat every one to three hours, progressing to two to four hours in the first six months. Breastfed babies will eat between eight and 12 times per day prior to six months. Every baby is different in schedule, latch and cradle, but a lactation consultant can help to guide you in strategies to assist you with breastfeeding. In addition to having International Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), Memorial Health System hospitals offer breastfeeding classes to help you prepare.

If formula-feeding your baby, know that infants who are bottle fed may only eat every four hours. Your care team will assist you in determining the appropriate amount of formula and when to increase the number of feedings based on your child’s needs and. Whether you decide to breastfeed or formula-feed, avoid giving your infant any food other than breastmilk or formula until six months of age unless directed by your pediatrician.

Burping Baby

It’s best to burp the baby in the middle of feeding and after feeding. There are two ways to burp a baby using a towel or burp rag. The first is to rest the baby against your shoulder. Place the baby so that their head is looking over or leaning on your shoulder and rub and pat their back. The second is on your lap. Sit the baby on your lap with the baby’s back straight. Support their chest with the heel of one hand and pat the baby’s back with your other hand.

Changing Baby

When preparing to change a diaper, make sure you have a couple of clean ones ready, as well as wipes and a clean change of clothes. Wash your hands. Place your baby on a safe, clean surface. Open the diaper. If you have a son, you may want to place a washcloth or wipe over their genitals to avoid a shower. If the diaper is wet, fold the diaper underneath and wipe the area. For a bowel movement, fold it and then lift the infant’s legs and clean from front to back. Make sure to clean in the folds and creases. Once the baby is clean, wrap and dispose of the diaper. Dress the baby and wash your hands.

Bathing Baby

You only need to bathe your baby every few days in a warm location free of drafts. Make sure you have everything you need within reach before you start. To wash the ears, use a damp cotton swab to clean the outside of the ear without entering the ear canal. Wash their face with a soft washcloth with water only and wipe the eyes from the inside corner outward. Wash with a small amount of soap on their neck, chest, back, arms, legs, hands and feet, making sure to clean folds, creases and in between the legs and under arms. Be gentle when cleaning around the umbilical cord and follow recommendations provided to you. Use a washcloth to wet the baby’s hair and then shampoo gently. Rinse your baby using a soft wash cloth and towel dry.

Back to Sleep

Research shows that babies should sleep on their backs instead of their abdomen to reduce risks such as SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Keep your baby’s bassinet or crib free of blankets, toys or pillows.

Have more questions?

Speak with your pediatrician or primary care provider:

Sign up for an upcoming class:

Related Articles

Bringing Home Baby: Now That You’re No Longer Expecting
Bringing Home Baby: Keep Children Healthy Around Animals
Before Baby: Demystifying Car Seat Installation