Newborn Baby-care Basics: Expert Tips for Diapering & Grooming Your New Baby | Newborns

I spent some time with baby Paige and Dr. Anita Chandra, a pediatrician with Northwestern Medical Group in Chicago, to go through some newborn basics. I remember how overwhelming it can be as a new mom with so much to do and learn. Thankfully, Dr. Chandra offered some clear and easy-to-follow tips for diapering and grooming Baby to make things less overwhelming in the early days of parenthood.

Newborn Baby-care Basics: Expert Tips for Diapering & Grooming Your New Baby | Newborns

Caring for the Umbilical Cord

Baby will have a “stump” from the umbilical cord that brought nutrients from you to the baby. Dr. Chandra tells us that, “There’s nothing to be afraid of; it’s just a scab. It will dry up and fall off.” Here are some tips for caring for it:

  • Give baby sponge baths for now; sponge bathe around the cord.

  • Avoid clothes that make contact with the stump.

  • Roll the diaper down so it doesn’t rub up against the cord.

  • When the scab comes off, just like any scab, don’t worry if you see a few drops of blood; this is normal. According to Dr. Chandra, “If it’s not actively bleeding, it’s OK.”

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Clipping Baby’s Fingernails

  • Clip baby’s nails with infant nail clippers one to two times per week.

  • Hold baby’s hand firmly.

  • Clip straight across. Never cut lower than the fingertip.

  • If you don’t feel comfortable using nail clippers, you can use a nail file and file baby’s nails instead.

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  • Change baby on a changing pad on the ground or on a changing table.

  • If you use a changing table, be sure the pad is secured to the table and keep your eyes on your baby; don’t turn your back to the table.

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  • Have your supplies nearby: diapers, wipes, wipes warmer (optional), pacifier (optional).

  • Use the old diaper to wipe Baby off a bit.

  • Lay the new diaper centered under Baby, adhesive side in the back.

  • Use the wipe to wipe baby clean. For baby girls, wipe from front to back.

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Watch this video to see Dr. Chandra and I perform newborn baby basics.

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