Doubts and insecurities are part of the daily life of parents when it comes to newborn children. Should the baby sleep on his back? What if he chokes? How often do I have to breastfeed? How to give the first bath?

Pediatrician Paulo Borcher, from the Fernandes Figueira National Institute of Women’s, Child and Adolescent Health (IFF / Fiocruz), raises some common doubts about the main care for babies in the first months of life. 

What specific care is needed with newborns?

The baby should not sleep in the parent’s bed, but for the first few weeks, the baby can sleep in the crib or stroller in the parent’s room, because the sounds he makes when choking are subtle and hard to hear from a distance. Wrapping the baby according to temperature is also critical to prevent overheating.

What position should the baby sleep in?

The baby should always sleep on his back, at least until the fifth month of life. In the crib, there should be no pillows, grid guards, blankets, bedspreads, stuffed animals, among other decorative objects that can suffocate the child.

How to differentiate crying from pain from crying from hunger in newborns?

The baby only cries when something bothers him, such as cold, heat (because of excessive clothing), colic, very damp diaper, with feces or urine, or when hungry. The crying of hunger is inconsolable and does not stop until the baby is fed.

Is it possible to create a routine for the newborn?

The baby’s care routine depends on his or her mother’s pace. Over time, things get adjusted, allowing the mother to take care of herself and her chores.

How to bathe the baby before the navel drops and what hygiene products are indicated? 

The bath can and should be given from the first day of life with warm water and mild soap, such as glycerin. The navel can be wet normally. After wiping the baby, clean the belly button with 70% alcohol and cotton swab from the base to the stump tip and especially at the junction of the skin with the stump. Alcohol, in addition to antiseptic, also has drying power. Do not use a belt or strap.

How soon does the baby need to breastfeed?

The breast-fed baby need not follow a strict schedule, for example every three hours. It is best to adopt free demand, that is, the baby showed hunger, offer the breast.

How long does it take to burp after feedings?

This time varies greatly, it will depend on how much air the baby swallows during feedings. To ease the burp, put it upright on your shoulder and pat it lightly on the back. Sometimes the child does not burp and should be placed on his right side, always under the supervision of an adult.

What to do if the baby chokes during feedings?

Put him on his lap with his belly down and his head lower than his torso and lightly pat him on the back until he golfs the contents. It is important to open the baby’s mouth and see if it has not rolled its tongue in, and if it does, pull it with your finger.


How to cut baby nails

Small as they are, your baby’s nails grow surprisingly fast and may need to be trimmed up to twice a week. Keeping your baby’s nails short and smooth prevents him from scratching, but still allows him to use his hands to learn about his world. Trimming a baby’s nails when it’s writhing is almost impossible, so here’s the trick: wait until it’s asleep!

Here’s how to cut your nails:

  • Use soft sandpaper, baby nail clippers or baby nail scissors.
  • To avoid cutting the finger skin while trimming your nails, press the underside of the finger against the nail when cutting.
  • Do not despair if you draw some blood. “Just apply a little pressure and some antibiotic ointment.
  • The toenails grow slower and are usually very soft; Trimming monthly is usually sufficient.

To prevent your baby from scratching (or scratching you), keep his nails short and smooth. Be sure to remain calm during the procedure and everything will go well!

How to bathe a newborn

Bathing can be a fun bonding experience for you and your baby. Most babies love bath time, and while it may take a few baths to get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Tips for mom

Try sponge bathing until the newborn’s umbilical stump drops. This helps keep it dry and heal.
Once the umbilical area is healed, you can try placing your baby directly in the water, and you may find that this is easier in a baby bath, sink or plastic tub lined with a clean towel.

Use warm water. You can check with your elbow first to see if it’s too hot.

Make sure the cloths, soaps, and towels are within easy reach as you will need to hold the baby all the time.

After bathing, dry your baby with gentle pats, making sure to dry gently between the folds of the skin.

When he’s clean and dry, put on a clean diaper, lift him in for a hug, and feel that wonderful, newborn-smelling smell of a baby … there’s nothing better.