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Baby Care Basics
Use a sponge bath until the umbilical cord falls off and the belly button heals completely (1–4 weeks) or until a boy’s circumcision heals (1–2 weeks).
Have these items ready before bathing your baby:
- A soft, clean washcloth
- Mild, unscented baby soap and shampoo
- A soft brush to stimulate the baby’s scalp
- Towels or blankets
- Clean diapers (keep more than one handy)
- Clean clothes
Buckling up Baby
Always fasten your baby securely into your car seat, stroller or infant carrier.
If you’d like help making sure your car seat is installed properly, call the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Children’s Resource Center at 423-431-1053 for a free car seat safety check.
Before putting a diaper on your baby, have all supplies within easy reach so you don’t leave your infant unattended on the changing table.
Holding baby’s head
When holding your baby, support the head and neck with your hand or arm.
Don’t ever shake a baby because it can cause serious health conditions or even death. It’s normal to become frustrated sometimes when caring for a crying infant.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed, gently place the baby in a crib or other safe place and take a few minutes to calm down.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Wash your hands, and insist that others wash or sanitize theirs, before touching or picking up your child.
What is infant safe sleep?
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. This is what you can do to help your baby sleep safely and to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.
To create a safe sleep environment:
- Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet; a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended.
- Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep (for the infants first year). Room sharing not bed sharing. Always place the baby in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, portable crib for sleep.
- Sitting devices like bouncy seats, swings, infant carriers or strollers should not be used for routine sleep.
- Keep soft objects such as pillows and blankets, toys and bumpers out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Wedges and positioners should not be used.
- Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow smoking around your baby.
- Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS after breastfeeding is established.
- Supervised Skin to Skin is recommended to all mothers and infants immediately following birth regardless of feeding or delivery, (as soon as mother is medically stable, awake and able to respond to her newborn) and to continue for at least an hour. Once mother starts to get sleepy, return baby to bassinet.
- Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.
For additional information and education on safe sleep please visit: Cribs for Kids
Visit our Safe Sleep for Babies page to see the Ballad Health hospitals awarded for infant safe sleep