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10 Things to Know about Newborns

Tiffany Smith
Feb. 26, 2018

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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