Baby's Care and Development
Is the room your baby sleeps in safe?
Click Here to learn what you can do to make the room your baby sleeps in is as safe as can be.
Feeding Your Baby
When possible, women are encouraged to breastfeed their
babies. Mother's milk provides all of the nutrients that
a baby needs to grow and protects the baby against some illnesses.
For more information, see the How
to breastfeed page in the After
Sometimes breastfeeding is not possible (for the baby or
the mother) or the mother chooses not to breastfeed. Bottle-fed
babies will be well-nourished if you use formula that is
prepared as directed. Carefully follow the directions on
the can or package.
Caring for Your Baby
- Wash your baby's face, chin, neck and bottom everyday.
Use only mild soap on your baby's bottom. Do not use soap
on the navel (belly-button) or on a circumcision until
- Most newborn babies need a full bath only three to four
times per week. Test the water temperature with your elbow;
it should be warm, never hot. Keep one hand on your baby
at all times.
- Babies do not need lotion or powder unless recommended
by a health care professional
- Wash new clothes in a mild detergent before putting
them on your baby. Avoid fabric softener and bleach.
- Avoid overdressing your baby. If you are warm in a T-shirt
and shorts, your baby will be comfortable in a diaper and
Umbilical Cord Care
- Wipe the umbilical cord with a cotton ball dipped in
alcohol to keep it clean and dry so that it heals.
- Call your healthcare provider if you see redness, blood,
pus, if the navel smells bad, OR if the cord has not fallen
off after three weeks.
- Circumcisions should heal within seven to ten days.
Use petroleum jelly at diaper changes to prevent irritation.
Call your baby's doctor if you smell an odor or see blood
or pus around the circumcision.
- If your baby is not circumcised, do not force the skin
back over the tip of the penis.
- Change your baby's diaper when it is wet or soiled.
Wash baby's bottom with mild soap and water or disposable
wipes. Wash your hands after each diaper change.
- Keep your baby's toe nails and finger nails short to
- Wipe your baby's gums with a clean washcloth
- Your baby's first check-up should be between two weeks
and one month of age
- Newborn babies should sleep about 16 to 18 hours a day. Click
here to learn more about baby's safe sleep.
Your Baby's Development
How We Grow - Baby's First Year tells how babies grow
and develop and how you can help. There are ideas for activities,
games and toys. (If this piece downloads too slowly, try
Your Baby's Safety
- Babies need constant attention. Do not leave your baby
alone even for a minute unless he is in a secure area like
a crib or playpen.
- Put baby to bed safely in
- Never leave a baby alone in a car - especially on a warm
- Used car seats, cribs and toys can be great gifts but
may not meet current safety standards.
- Keep your baby away from secondhand smoke. (For tips
on how to deal with secondhand smoke, download Oh
Baby! We want to keep you safe from secondhand smoke.
If this piece downloads too slowly, try the plain
Visit the Safety tips page
to learn how to keep your baby safe now and as your baby
gets older -- including reducing the risk of Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.
Vaccines for Children Program The N.C. Division of Public Health's fact sheet explains eligibility for this program and other information pertaining to reduced costs for required vaccines for children up to 19 years of age.
Period of PURPLE Crying Program web site designed to help parents understand this time in their baby’s life, which is a normal part of every infant’s development.
Program Breastfeeding and Support WIC strives to increase the incidence
and duration of breastfeeding among women enrolled in the Program.
Poison Center - 1-800-222-1222
HEALTHYCHILDREN.ORG a new parenting Web site from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The site includes general information related to child health plus more specific guidance on parenting issues and is promoted as "the only parenting Web site backed by 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults."
For more health information, search MedlinePlus
Back to top
Last updated: June 2012