What should I know?

Umbilical cord care: Your baby’s umbilical cord will dry up and fall off in 1 to 2 weeks. Keep the area around the cord clean and dry. Fold the diaper below the cord. Check for redness or puss around the cord. Call your baby’s provider if you see these signs.

Bathing: You can bathe your baby after birth. Your nurse can help you with the first bath.

Diaper care: Change your baby’s diaper often to prevent diaper rash. Clean your baby’s bottom with water or baby wipes. Wipe a girl baby from front to back so that stool does not get in her vagina. Use diaper cream for a rash.

Circumcision care: Change your baby’s diaper often. Use warm water to clean the penis. Let the penis dry. Put A+D® ointment on the tip of the penis each time you change the diaper. Expect the tip of the penis to be red. The penis may bleed a little bit.

Clothing: Dress your baby as warmly as you dress yourself. Put a hat on your baby in cool weather. Do not overdress your baby. Babies can get hot.

Feeding: Learn more about breastfeeding in the breastfeeding section.

Comforting Your Crying Baby

Many new babies have a fussy time each day. Your baby may cry because he or she is tired, hungry, wet, in pain, sick, or just wants to be held. You will learn about your baby’s different cries. Here are some ways to comfort your baby:

  • Feed your baby.
  • Change your baby’s diaper.
  • Wrap or swaddle your baby in a blanket.
  • Gently rock your baby in your arms, a chair, or in a swing.
  • Walk your baby in a sling, front carrier, or stroller.
  • Sing to your baby or repeat a sound like “shhh, shhh, shhh” again and again.

Colic: Some babies have colic, crying hard for many hours. Often you cannot comfort a baby with colic. Most babies cry less after 3 or 4 months. Talk to your provider to learn more about colic and ways to cope with your baby’s crying.

Keeping Your Baby Safe

  • Wash your hands and ask others to wash their hands before holding or touching your baby.
  • Use a car seat every time you are in the car.
  • Support your baby’s neck.


Older children may need extra love when a new baby joins the family. Spend some time alone with your older child each day. Some ways you can do this are to read a book, take a walk, listen, or play with your child.