Newborn Baby Care And Feeding

If this is your first baby, it can be rather confusing – babies don’t come with an instruction manual! Remember that you’re perfectly equipped to give your baby the nurturing and care they need, even if you’ve forgotten some of the basics from those antenatal classes. Here are some newborn care and feeding tips to help you along.

How do I feed and burp my baby?
If you’re breastfeeding, position your baby comfortably, place your baby’s bottom lip near or on the base of your areola, with their nose opposite your nipple. When they smell the colostrum, they’ll bury their chin into your breast, open their mouth, and latch on. Your baby is latching well if you feel a pulling or tugging sensation on your breast and they are swallowing. For a step-by-step guide to facilitating the latching process, read our Breastfeeding Basics for New Moms.

If you’re bottle feeding*, prepare the formula (usually recommended by your paediatrician) according to the direction on the packaging. Remember that the cooled, boiled water can be left in the fridge for 24 hours and the formula added as needed for the feed. Some parents choose to heat up the bottle using a bottle warmer, or by placing it in boiling water.

To burp your baby, place them on your shoulder or chest, and put a cloth over your shoulder to protect it from any spit-up. Hold your baby against your chest so their chin is resting on your shoulder. Support them with one hand and gently pat or rub their back with the other.

Another method is to sit them on your lap, facing away from you, with a towel over your lap. Use one hand to support their chest, chin and jaw, ensuring that you’re not putting your fingers around their throat. Lean your baby slightly forward and gently pat or rub their back with your other hand.

How do I bath my baby?

  1. Be sure to lay out all the necessary supplies, so you don’t need to leave baby’s side at any point to fetch something. Make sure the room is warm enough to prevent your baby from getting a chill.
  2. Fill the baby tub, sink or bathtub with 3 inches of water that feels comfortably warm to the inside of your wrist (around 32 degrees Celsius).
  3. Before you introduce your baby to the water, wrap your baby in a towel, tucking away their arms. Holding them firmly between your elbow and hip, controlling their head with your hand, and sealing off their ears with your thumb and middle finger, gently rinse their hair with your cupped hand. Massage a small amount of PURITY® & Elizabeth Anne’s Special Shampoo into your baby’s hair and rinse well. Dry your baby’s head with a corner of a clean towel.
  4. Soap your baby’s body all over, avoiding their hands in case they put them in their mouths. Rinse and dry your hands to pick up your baby to avoid letting them slip.
  5. With your left wrist under your baby’s head and left hand under around baby’s left shoulder, and your right hand under your baby’s bum, carefully place your baby in the water. Release your right hand to rinse your baby, continuing to support their head with your left hand.
  6. Turn your baby around on their tummies, with your hand supporting their chest above water, to rinse their back.
  7. With the same handling position as when you placed your baby in the water, lift your baby out carefully and lay onto a clean towel on a soft surface.
  8. Use a clean, dampened piece of cotton wool to clean their face and wash away any dried mucus from your baby’s eyes. Use a new piece of cotton wool for each eye, and clean them from the inside out.
  9. Wrap your baby in the towel and pat them dry, making sure they are completely dry in all the creases.
  10. Pat some PURITY® & Elizabeth Anne’s Cornstarch Powder all over your baby’s body to absorb excess moisture and prevent chafing and nappy rash.

For an illustrated step-by-step guide to bathing your baby safely, go see our Baby Bath Basics.

How do I care for the umbilical cord?
After every nappy change and bath, ensure that the umbilical cord is clean and dried thoroughly. There is no need to use any product on the cord, just allow it to dry up and fall off naturally – usually within 7-14 days.

How do I change a nappy?

  1. Lay your baby on their back on a firm flat surface. Remove any clothing that inhibits access to the nappy. Never leave them unattended – the smallest movement could cause them to fall.
  2. For disposable nappies, pull up the sticky tabs. For reusable cloth nappies, remove the cover and snaps or Velcro from around your baby’s waist.
  3. With your fingers around their ankles, lift your baby up gently so you can remove the nappy out from under their bottom. If there’s poop in the nappy, use the front half of the diaper to wipe it off your baby’s bottom, front to back. Fold the dirty nappy in half under your baby, clean side up, which provides a layer of protection between the clean nappy and your baby’s bottom.
  4. If you have a boy, you might want to cover his penis with a clean cloth or another diaper so he doesn’t pee on you.
  5. Clean your baby’s front and bottom with a wet wipe or clean cloth. If your baby’s a girl, wipe from front to back. This helps keep bacteria from causing an infection. Add a barrier cream like petroleum jelly if needed.
  6. Take a fresh nappy and place it under your baby. Bring the front part up on your baby’s stomach and fasten the tabs to secure the nappy at their waist. For a boy, be sure to point the penis down so he’s less likely to pee over the top of the nappy. The nappy should be snug but not so tight that it pinches, and make sure the tabs aren’t sticking to your baby’s skin.
  7. Replace any clothing over the new nappy, fold up the nappy and place it in a dustbin or nappy pail depending, and wash your hands.

For this step-by-step guide and some more nappy-changing tips, read our Nappy Changing Basics.

What if my son is circumcised?
If your son has been circumcised just after birth, there are specific precautions you must take during bathing and nappy changing. When bathing, avoid using soap or any scented products around the area of the wound, and clean with water.

During nappy changing, point your baby’s penis downwards to prevent it from rubbing. Try and give your little one some nappy-free time, to allow air to circulate around the wound while it’s healing.

It should take 7-10 days to heal, and a little redness, swelling and a yellow secretion are all normal symptoms of the healing process. If the redness doesn’t go away, and if it bleeds or just the tip is swollen, the wound might be infected. In this case, visit your doctor for advice.

Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is best for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months. PURITY fully supports this with continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary food as advised by healthcare professionals.