baby-feetMost new parents confess to feeling two equally strong emotions at the birth of their baby: awesome, heart-wrenching love and total terror. It’s no wonder why: You suddenly have in your possession a tiny creature whose around-the-clock care is entirely up to you.

Because you’ve probably never done any of this before, you’re bound to make mistakes—but your baby looks so fragile that the idea of error seems disastrous. Even the most calm, cool, and collected mom can get a little flustered. In these moments of panic, remember that even though baby care may be exhausting, it is pretty simple.

Diapering

Before your baby is ever bathed, dressed, burped, or even fed, he gets a diaper put on. That diaper is the first of about 3,000 that he’ll wear in his first year, according to Laura A. Jana, M.D., a pediatrican in Denver and co-author of Heading Home With Your Newborn. So, here’s how to prepare for the poop.

Babies need to be fed and held. They need their bottoms cleaned and a safe place to sleep—but that’s pretty much all there is to it. There’s no one right way to do any of these things because no two babies, and no two families, are the same.

And even though you’ll have to wing most of it, a basic understanding of what awaits you will help. So, we consulted pediatric experts from across the country and created your primer on baby care—nothing fancy or complicated, just the basics. These are the facts you need to know to get through the first month or so of baby’s life, so take a deep breath and let basic training begin!

How to do it:
1. Get set up, then place baby in front of you.

2. Unsnap the bodysuit and slide an unfolded, clean diaper under baby (tabs come around to the front).

3. Gently hold baby’s legs with one hand and remove the soiled diaper with your other hand.

4. Wipe if necessary and place soiled wipe on top of soiled diaper.

5. Put down baby’s legs and attach clean diaper. Make sure there are no gaps in the fit; this could cause a big mess.

6. Wrap dirty wipe and soiled diaper into a tight bundle and dispose.

Dealing With Diaper Rash
Avoid diaper rash by changing your baby frequently and allowing her bottom a chance to air out (or pat dry with a tissue). If the area looks red, apply Vaseline or A+D Ointment. This creates a barrier between sensitive skin and the poop and pee. If the rash worsens, use a cream with zinc, such as Desitin, which can help to heal the skin. Doctors no longer recommend baby powder, which can irritate baby’s lungs, but if you do want to pat some on, be sure it is talc-free.

From breastfeeding to bottle feeding to burping, get more info. on basic baby care by clicking here.

pregnancy-magazine-logoPregnancy Magazine is a nationally distributed magazine focusing on pregnancy and infancy through the first year. Articles, resources, and subscription info can be found at PregnancyMagazine.com.

Sign up for more of the latest products, trends, and all things baby-related from Pregnancy Magazine.