10 Things to Know about Newborns
Tiffany Smith, Senior Associate Editor
Articles> Preparing for a New Baby> 10 Things to Know about Newborns
newborn baby

When researching our piece on "Taking Care of a Newborn," source Jennifer Walker, an Atlanta area RN BSN and co-founder of Moms on Call, shared these ten tips every parent should know - or prepare - before bringing a baby home. Have more suggestions? Post them below.

  1. You cannot give Tylenol to a baby under 3 months old without permission from your pediatrician. And no Ibuprofen products (like Advil or Motrin) until the baby is over 6 months old.
  2. Any rectal temperature above 100.4 F in a baby under 3 months old is considered an emergency (with the exception of the 24 hours after the first set of immunizations at 2 months).
  3. Correctly swaddling will help calm and soothe a fussy baby and help the baby sleep.
  4. You need to try out your car-seat with a stuffed animal so you know how to strap your baby in when you are going home from the hospital (in many states the nurses are not allowed to help you do it).
  5. After a circumcised penis has healed (about 2 weeks), you need to pull back the foreskin every night when you change the diaper, before the bath, to prevent the skin from reattaching.
  6. Suctioning the nose out correctly will help the baby breathe better and eat better when they get that common infant congestion. Do not do this more than 4 times a day so the suctioning itself does not become an irritant.
  7. Formulas are not interchangeable. Once you have started on one brand and type, stick with it. Every change in formula sets off a 3-5 day adjustment period for baby's digestive system that can result in increased gassiness and fussiness. All changes in formula should be approved by the pediatrician.
  8. Just because a bottle system has the best marketing campaign, it does not mean that it is the best for baby. The standard, old-fashioned nipple shape works great (and is typically least expensive!).
  9. No need to get that plastic baby bathtub. Plastic is not designed to keep water warm. It's better to bathe the baby in the big-person bathtub. It is less work, the water stays warm, and babies have more room to kick.
  10. The first few nights home from the hospital, the baby typically has days and nights mixed up. You can calm those middle of the night fussies with white noise, a tight swaddle and dim lights.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan.  Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.


Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite

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    (26) Comments
    Kimberly K.
    Kimberly K.
    As someone who only works with newborns and knows how to sleep train, I would like to give correct information.. #10 states that newborns typically have days and nights mixed up.... This is misinformation. Newborns do NOT distinguish between days and nights until much later. The earliest a newborn can start to recognize and distinguish between day/night is 6 weeks old. Until then, they should be sleeping after every feed. Newborns do not have sufficient fat stores on their bodies, so that "mixed up" day/night business is actually the baby's own safety mechanism waking him up because his glucose is low and it's time to feed. White noise and swaddling are certainly key to a happy baby. Keep those white noise machines on for at least the first year of life. Here is something to remind parents, and these are my exact words.... "your baby only has 3 jobs right now(during the first month of life), 1. Eat, 2. Sleep, 3. Give us wet and dirty diapers."
    July 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM
    Emily A.
    Emily A.
    This is very important to know for both moms and care givers! Can't wait to care for an infant. :)
    July 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM
    Tiffanie C.
    Tiffanie C.
    I love taking care of babies. Good article.
    May 19, 2013 at 1:45 PM
    Chartia R.
    Chartia R.
    My mommy taught me these same tips after she gave birth to my little brothers
    May 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM
    Coral P.
    Coral P.
    Great info! Very helpful.
    May 17, 2013 at 3:27 PM
    Maria B.
    Maria B.
    Hi I read different article's on care.com almost weekly and they are always informative and helpful I have been with care.com for 1 year as a daycare provider I have worked for 3 different families with a total of 4 children I
    still have 2 families / 3 children 1 was a military family and had to move out
    of state I do believe some of the things I have learned from the articles has helped me with my families

    Thanks so much care.com you are helping me to do something I love and earn
    extra cash at the same time :-)
    April 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM
    Shqipe A.
    Shqipe A.
    thank you for the information
    June 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM
    Shqipe A.
    Shqipe A.
    thank you
    June 10, 2012 at 4:01 PM
    Awana P.
    Awana P.
    Thanks for the information!
    June 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM
    Sandra P.
    Sandra P.
    Thank you for this web site. I am currently interviewing for a job and love the fact there are new jobs almost everyday. This gives us all the opportunity to get a job...
    June 3, 2012 at 6:12 PM
    Beth B.
    Beth B.
    One can bathe an infant in the kitchen sink, bathroom sink if big enough, or the bathtub. I, myself, do not like the plastic tubs for infants and babies. It means more work for me to clean up afterwards and the water does not stay warm enough.
    June 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM
    Maria L.
    Maria L.
    I am very happy with care.com because they help me to find a job.
    June 2, 2012 at 8:56 PM
    Keshunda P.
    Keshunda P.
    These tips are great & accurate. Having a Sleep-Time routine & bathing in a sink does work really well for the first few months. We'll have years of leaning over tubs!-LOL
    June 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM
    Antonia P.
    Antonia P.
    I am very happy with the results of care.com I find a part time with a very nice family and two beautiful babies.
    June 1, 2012 at 10:24 PM
    Michelle E.
    Michelle E.
    Excellent tips thank you care.com.
    June 1, 2012 at 7:03 PM
    Teresa F.
    Teresa F.
    Yes your article is very informative , I use to do this just to help parent I am a mom of a kid with ADHD and I never have help of any body that was i love babysitting yes they are so demanding because is something different for them I remember my son he use to cry ALOT, i never had time for me,
    June 1, 2012 at 5:13 PM
    Joan A.
    Joan A.
    Great advise
    June 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM
    Marilyn M.
    Marilyn M.
    All Nanny's don't have RN degrees,if that would be the case,the employers would be paying for that degree.I have found that eighter you love children and love caring for them or you want to be a Nurse.Just gets to me when families want every degree out there and pay you only 6 dollars an hr.It don't take a PHD to make a great Nanny!
    May 31, 2012 at 7:29 PM
    Valerie K.
    Valerie K.
    parents who never put an infant down are asking for trouble! Baby is never to cry and is fed every hr. to every hour and a half and diaper changed every hour. This is unreasonable!
    May 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM
    Elaine W.
    Elaine W.
    Thanks for the great website I have gotten two nanny jobs with this site it is very easy to use and the articles you have are great.. Thanks so much for helping get some great jobs...
    May 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM
    Ashley M.
    Ashley M.
    I agree with Angella.
    May 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM
    Valerie C.
    Valerie C.
    Good Day, I am having trouble witht the background check. I only have my debit card which is also a Visa. The $8.00 charge did not go through. Are there other payment options for this?

    Miss Valerie V. Campbell
    May 30, 2012 at 1:40 PM
    Ylia Betty M.
    Ylia Betty M.
    i have been working for six months with twins now 7 months, i am tired it is very demanding, only pay 10 an hour i would like to ask for a raise,i am going almost every week for a massage, wish to ask 15 an hour, before worked 20 hrs, now about 30, thanks, ylia
    May 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM
    Juanita C.
    Juanita C.
    I hope to get a nanny job caring for an infant. Your article was very informative.
    May 30, 2012 at 2:31 AM
    Angella F.
    Angella F.
    From experience, I find it easier to bathe them in small bath & not the big one, at least this way, it helps keep them at in incline (head out of water) while you wash baby.
    May 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM
    Christina M.
    Christina M.
    these tips are great for both mom's and nannies!
    May 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM

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