Have you noticed how some baby nurses seem to know exactly what to do with infants? They effortlessly slip tiny arms through wee snap-front T-shirts, and bathe slippery little bodies quickly and expertly. You, too, can become a pro at everyday baby care. We’ll give you the expert lowdown on the basics—and you’ll quickly gain confidence simply by spending time with your little one.

Swaddling Your Newborn

To help your newborn feel safe, secure and content, there’s nothing better than swaddling—wrapping baby firmly and securely in a soft blanket or cloth. To swaddle your baby

  1. Use a large, oversized square baby blanket of thin woven fabric.
  2. Fold the blanket in half to make a triangle, and place it on a bed or other soft surface with the point at the bottom.
  3. Lay baby down in the middle of the triangle, with the top of the blanket even with his neck. Then, start wrapping him up!
  4. Fold the left side of the blanket tightly over your baby’s body and tuck the end of the blanket under baby’s arm.
  5. Then fold up the point at the bottom.
  6. Finish by folding the right side of the blanket over your baby and tucking the end tightly under baby’s other arm. He’ll feel cocooned and happy.

Dressing Your Newborn—Without Overdressing

Trying to figure out the right amount of clothing for baby can be complicated, and most new parents err on the side of too many layers, according to Dr. Swanson. "Some people bring a newborn in and the poor thing is dressed in a onesie, a sleeper, a knit vest and then a blanket over that!" she notes. In fact, says Dr. Swanson, less is usually better than more. "Overbundling a baby is worse than not enough layers because babies can get heat rash," she explains.

A simple rule: Babies need one more layer of clothing than adults to stay comfortable. Worried about her getting cold? Bring along a blanket to tuck around her body, rather than a sweater or coat that’s cumbersome and hard to put on and take off.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 17 Sep 2010

Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014