Baby care in the early days

Baby care in the early days

Baby care in the early days can be overwhelming. Most complicated items in your home come with an instruction manual. These items generally perform one complicated function and stay in one place. You need a license to drive a car, to fish and to own a TV set, but bring a baby into your house and you are thrown in at the deep end.

Despite reading books, trawling the internet and getting advice from family and friends nothing prepares you for this complicated being that does not come with instructions or a returns policy. Let’s go through some quick tips on your baby’s basic care like topping and tailing, cord care, nappy changing, bathing and dressing your baby.

Topping and Tailing

  • Babies do not need to be bathed every day, but do top-and-tail your baby every day. Clean their face, neck, hands and nappy area with warm water and damp cotton wool.
  • When cleaning your baby’s eyes wipe from inner to outer. Unfurl their hands to clean them, and wipe in all the creases around your baby’s neck, behind their ears, armpits and the top of their legs.
  • Clean the nappy area carefully and pat gently dry.

Cord Care

  • Keep the cord stump clean and dry. It will shrivel, dry up and fall off from 5 days onwards. Wash gently with damp cotton wool and water.
  • If you notice a bad smell, bleeding or some stickiness consult your doctor or midwife.


  • Run the water in the bath cold first, topping up with hot until the water is a neutral temperature. Test the water temperature with your elbow as your hands will not give you an accurate guide.
  • Gather all you need in terms of towels, cotton wool, nappy, baby grow, cream or massage oil.
  • Support your baby in the bath at all times. Never leave your baby in the bath, not even for 1 second.
  • You don’t need soaps/bubble bath or shampoos for newborns. Rather use unscented aqueous cream, which you rub all over your baby beforehand and just rinse off by swishing the water over your baby.
  • Pat your baby dry with a soft towel, making sure you get into all the creases.

Nappy Changing

  • At first you may feel you just don’t have enough hands to do everything, but with at least 6 wet nappies a day you should soon get the hang of it all.
  • Use a change mat to lay your baby on and undo the nappy. Use damp cotton wool to clean the area.
  • Boys tend to wee when they feel the air so be ready with a tissue or lay your baby on a terry towel which will soak this up.
  • Put a new nappy on. It is a good idea to make sure your baby boy’s willy is pointing down as this will help stop the nappy from leaking.

So there you have it. A few pointers to help you through those early baby care tasks. Enjoy your newborn. They are so little for such a short time. Caring for your baby and doing these daily routines is a perfect way to bond with your baby.

For more expert advice, tips and step-by-step guidance on caring for your baby, subscribe to Parent Sense. It’s the all-in-one app that takes the guesswork out of every aspect of parenting in that first precious year.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.