Baths can be special times for parents and their new baby.
Here are some bath tips:
- Bathe your baby every other day. The skin may get too dry if a baby is bathed too often. Every other day or every third day is fine. Until the cord stump falls off your baby should have a sponge bath only.
- Use mild soaps on your baby's skin. Unscented Dove or Johnson & Johnson soaps are recommended.
- Avoid lotions with perfume. It is normal for the skin on your baby's hands and feet to be very dry. The skin may peel for the first few weeks. But, lotions with perfume may bother baby's skin. Women & Infants uses Eucerin and Lubriderm cream for dry skin. Do not put lotion on the baby's face. If you put lotion on the baby's hands, cover them with a baby mitt or socks so the baby doesn't get the lotion in his or her mouth.
- Avoid baby powder. It is not necessary, and it can be harmful to the baby's lungs.
- Vaseline or Eucerin cream may help fight cradle cap. Cradle cap is dry skin on the scalp that looks flaky and/or crusty. If your baby develops cradle cap, try rubbing Vaseline or Eucerin cream into the scalp at night and shampoo the hair in the morning. It may help to shampoo the baby's hair more frequently and follow with gentle brushing. Notify your baby's health care provider if the cradle cap continues or worsens.
Babies may cry when they are hungry, wet, tired or just want company. Crying may be a way a baby deals with tense feelings. Just as many of us often need a hug for comfort, your baby may also. During your pregnancy, your baby heard your heartbeat and voice, and felt you. Sometimes, he or she just needs the comfort and the closeness they felt in the womb.
Listening to a crying baby can be hard, but it is the only way that he or she can tell you they need something. With time, you will learn which cries mean hunger, pain or play with me. And, despite the old wives' tale, you cannot spoil a baby in the first few months by responding to every cry. In fact, that may help develop trust between you and your baby. Babies may cry four to six hours over a 24-hour period. Crying tends to increase between three to six weeks of age. Babies usually cry less after eight weeks and begin making other sounds.
When your baby cries, you can try:
- Skin-to-skin contact - This is very comforting to a newborn. Place your baby in a diaper only and lay him or her against your bare chest, "heart to heart." Cover your baby with a blanket. This works for moms and dads and is a great way to spend time with your baby.
- Changing the diaper.
- Feeding your baby if it has been at least one hour since the last feeding.
- Gently rocking your baby.
- Burping your baby.
- Holding and cuddling the baby.
- Taking the baby for a ride in the stroller or car.
- Putting the baby in an infant swing.
- Swaddling your baby.
If you tried all of these ideas and nothing seems to be working, talk with your baby's health care provider to be sure there is no medical cause for crying, or call the Warm Line (1-800-711-7011) to talk to a nurse.
You may also want to consult the specialists with the Infant Behavior, Cry and Sleep Clinic (IBCSC) or the Healthy Early Relationships Program (HER), both through the Center for Children and Families at Women & Infants. BCSC was developed to diagnose and treat infants with crying, sleeping, feeding and associated early behavior problems by helping parents understand and adjust to the disruption caused by having an infant that is difficult to manage in the first few months or years of life. HER focuses on strengthening the parent-infant relationship and repairing the impact of disruptions in early attachment to promote child development and healthy family functioning.
The services are covered by most insurance after pre-authorization. Call the Center for Children and Families at (401) 274-1122, ext. 48935 for more information.
Remember, no matter how long and often your baby cries, avoid shaking him or her. Even gentle or playful shaking can result in severe injury or death.
Babies will initially need to be changed every two to three hours, or six to 10 times a day. You may find you need to change your baby when he or she wakes, after feeding and/or just before you put him or her down to sleep.
To clean your baby's bottom:
- Use warm water and a wash cloth.
- Rinse and pat dry.
- Be sure to clean between the skin folds and creases. If you have a girl, clean between the labia and folds. Remember to clean from front to back.
- You can use baby wipes, although some babies are sensitive to them and develop a rash. If your baby appears to have sensitive skin, apply a thin layer of Vaseline or A&D ointment at diaper changes to protect the skin.
Diaper rash happens even with the best of care. Babies have tender skin, and they sometimes get rashes. If your baby gets a diaper rash, you can:
- Wash the area carefully and gently.
- Pat dry and apply a thin layer of Vaseline or A&D ointment to seal out wetness.
- If the diaper rash persists, you could try another brand of disposable diapers or switch to cloth. When washing cloth diapers, use an extra rinse cycle to remove soap that may be causing the rash.
If your baby's diaper rash does not go away or becomes worse, call the baby's health care provider for additional advice.
Your baby can see right after birth. Babies can focus up to eight inches in front of themselves. By one month, they can see clearly up to three feet. At four months, distance vision is fully developed and babies can follow moving objects with their eyes.
At birth, babies prefer human faces and, as they grow, they will respond to facial expressions.
Your baby's hearing is mature by one month of age. At that time, he or she can recognize some sounds. At three months of age, your baby may begin to imitate some sounds and turn his or her head toward your voice.
Babies are very sensitive to noise levels. In fact, if your baby is in a very noisy area, he or she may "tune out" the sound and fall into a deep sleep. Your infant will become more social with time and will enjoy responding to other people.
At three months, your baby may use his or her face and body to communicate or "talk." He or she may imitate movements and facial expressions and will enjoy looking in the mirror. At seven months, your baby may use voice to express joy and displeasure and to babble. At 12 months, your baby may respond to simple requests and to the word "no." He or she may try to repeat words, and say "dada" and "mama."