How to Take Care of a Newborn Baby?

Bringing home a newborn baby is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences for new parents.

However, it can also be overwhelming trying to figure out how to care for your little one properly. Proper care in the first few months of life is essential for your baby’s health, development, and happiness.

This article provides tips and guidance on all aspects of newborn care, including feeding, burping, bathing, sleeping, health and safety to help you confidently take care of your precious new addition.

How to take care of a newborn baby?

Here is a short summary of the key points:

  • Feed your newborn every 2-3 hours on demand whenever they show signs of hunger like rooting or sucking motions. Breastmilk or formula will provide the nutrition they need.
  • Burp your baby frequently during and after feeding to prevent gas buildup and discomfort. Gently rub or pat their back until they burp.
  • Change diapers promptly when soiled or wet every 1-3 hours. Expect 6+ wet and several dirty diapers daily.
  • Bathe newborns 2-3 times a week for 5-10 minutes max using warm water and gentle cleanser. Dry skin thoroughly.
  • Allow your newborn to sleep as much as they need, up to 17 hours a day. Provide a safe sleep environment and practice recommended safe sleep guidelines.
  • Soothe your baby’s cries by attending to needs, providing motion, singing, pacifier or comfort until the cries stop. Check for signs of illness.
  • Dress your newborn in simple, soft, stretchy clothes that allow for easy diaper changes. Use blankets or swaddling to keep them cozy.
  • Bond with your baby through skin contact, talking, eye contact, responding promptly when baby fusses or coos.
  • Consult your pediatrician for guidance on caring for your unique newborn and their specific needs.

With attentive, loving care and patience, you can help your newborn thrive and grow during these precious first months.

Newborn Feeding

Feeding a newborn is one of the most important tasks as a new parent. This includes techniques, patterns and amounts.

Breastfeeding vs Formula

The medical community recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life. Breast milk contains the perfect balance of nutrients and antibodies that protect your baby and promote healthy development.

However, formula feeding is also an option if preferred or if breastfeeding is not possible. Discuss options with your pediatrician to decide what is right for you and baby.

Feed on demand

Newborns need to eat every 2-3 hours, around 8-12 times in 24 hours. Allow your baby to feed on demand rather than on a strict schedule.

Watch for early signs of hunger like stirring, lip smacking, putting hands to mouth and sucking motions. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Respond early to avoid frustration.

Proper latch

A proper latch is key for successful and pain-free breastfeeding. Hold your breast with your thumb on top and fingers below to shape the breast—tickle baby’s lips with your nipple to encourage a wide open mouth.

Pull the baby onto breast, aiming the nipple to the roof of their mouth as they latch. It may take a few tries at first but should not be painful.

Paced bottle feeding

If bottle feeding, use paced feeding to control flow and prevent overeating. Hold the baby upright in the feeding position.

Gently touch the nipple to the lips and let the baby latch when ready. Tilt the bottle horizontally to fill just the nipple.

Let baby suck a few times, then tip vertically for a slow flow. Burp after every 1-2 ounces.

How much and how often?

In the early weeks, newborns need about 1–3 ounces per feeding every 2–3 hours. Let baby determine when they are full.

They may take less or more at each feeding. As a guideline, newborns consume around 25-35 ounces of breastmilk or formula per day on average.

Burp breaks

Stop feeding every 1-2 ounces to burp your baby. This prevents swallowing too much air and discomfort. Gently pat or rub the baby’s back until they burp.

Offer more milk after burping until your baby shows signs of fullness such as closing the mouth, turning away or falling asleep.

Newborn Burps, Hiccups, and Spit Up

It’s common for newborns to swallow air during feeding, resulting in burps, hiccups or spitting up. Here’s how to handle it:

Help baby burp – Stop feeding to burp your baby every 1-2 ounces. Gently pat or rub their back until they burp. This removes excess air and prevents discomfort. Persistent hiccups may mean more burps are needed.

Reduce air intake – Feed slowly, keep baby upright during and after feeds, and use paced bottle feeding to reduce air ingestion. Consider anti-colic bottles that limit air gulping. Check nipple flow isn’t too fast as this increases air swallowing.

Hiccups are typical – Hiccups are common due to a baby’s immature digestive system. Gentle burping can help, but don’t worry if they persist, as hiccups don’t bother or harm the baby. Place baby skin-to-skin, give a pacifier or gently rub their back to soothe hiccups.

Spit up is normal – It’s normal for babies to spit up small amounts after feeding as their muscle control develops. Keep them upright 20-30 minutes after eating. Burp thoroughly and avoid overfeeding. Check with your doctor if spit-up is excessive or forceful.

Newborn Pee and Poop

Understanding baby’s pee and poop provides insight on their health, nutrition and development. Here’s what to look for:


  • Expect 5-6 wet diapers per day once milk supply is established, usually by days 3-5.
  • Urine should be pale yellow, mild smelling and free of crystals or blood.
  • Dark urine or fewer wet diapers may indicate dehydration or health issues.


  • Breastfed baby poop is typically mustard yellow and loose “seedy” texture.
  • Formula-fed baby poop is tan/brown, thicker and more paste-like.
  • Newborn poop is normal every 1-5 dirty diapers per day.
  • Constipation is rare but call your doctor if baby strains, cries or has hard infrequent stools.

Color changes

  • First days: Black sticky “meconium” stool.
  • Greenish: Normal transitional stool days 3-4, digestion is maturing.
  • Loose yellow: Typical breastfed stool.
  • Tan/brown: Typical formula-fed stool.
  • All colors are normal as long as baby is comfortable and stool is soft.

Seek medical advice for blood in stool, diarrhea or hard infrequent stools. Record baby’s wet diapers and poop patterns to identify changes.

Newborn Crying

Crying is a newborn’s main way of communicating hunger, discomfort, overstimulation or a need for comfort. Here’s how to soothe your crying baby:

  • Check for hunger and feed if it’s been 2-3 hours since last feeding.
  • Burp baby thoroughly in case gas is causing discomfort.
  • Gently bicycle legs, massaging the tummy or a warm bath can relieve gas.
  • Change diaper if wet or soiled.
  • Swaddle snugly in a blanket to feel secure.
  • Rock, walk with, hold baby close or skin-to-skin contact.
  • Turn down lights and reduce noise if overstimulated.
  • Pacifierss can soothe non-hunger-related crying.
  • Sing and play soft music or white noise to calm baby.

If you’ve tried everything and baby keeps crying, stay calm. It’s ok to put baby down in a safe space for a few moments to regroup if feeling overwhelmed. Check for signs of illness and call your pediatrician if crying is inconsolable.

Newborn Sleep

Newborns sleep 14-17 hours per day but only 2-3 hours at a time. Their sleep cycles are just 30-45 minutes long. With patience and routines, longer sleep stretches will come.

Set a sleep schedule. Try to have consistent nap times and bedtimes. Observe baby’s natural rhythms and align the schedule with cues. Optimal total sleep is 14-17 hours per 24 hours.

Soothing bedtime routine – Calm activities like swaddling, rocking, white noise, pacifiers help transition to sleep. Stick to the same sequence nightly.

Encourage self-soothing – Put baby down drowsy but awake. This teaches them to fall asleep independently. Respond to cries briefly with comforting until they fall back asleep.

Sleep space safety – Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet. No soft bedding, blankets, bumper pads, toys or loose items. Choose a pacifier without cords or clips.

Overnight feeding – Expect 1-3 night wakings to feed. Keep lights dim with minimal stimulation. Avoid frequent or extended play sessions. Feed, burp and right back to sleep.

Nap routines – Follow a nap routine like for bedtime. Use daylight for morning naps and darkness for afternoon naps. Watch for tired signs like staring, yawning, rubbing eyes or fussing.

Swaddling – Stop swaddling once baby shows signs of rolling over, usually around 2 months old—transition to sleep sack to continue feeling snug.

Be flexible and consistent. It takes time and patience to establish healthy newborn sleep patterns.

Newborn Breathing

New parents often worry about their baby’s breathing, especially during sleep. Monitor their breathing patterns and follow safe sleep practices.

Normal newborn breathing

  • Breathing rate: 30-60 breaths/minute
  • Patterns: Periodic breathing (5-10 seconds pause) or congestion
  • Noisy breathing: Grunting, snorting or gurgling sounds

Reduce SIDS risk

  • Place baby on back to sleep, not sides or stomach
  • Use firm, flat sleep surface without soft bedding
  • Keep space free of blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, toys
  • Share room, not bed. The ideal room temperature is 68-72 F.
  • Consider using a pacifier at nap and bedtime

When to seek help

Contact your pediatrician if you notice:

  • Breathing consistently over 60/minute
  • Labored breathing with chest retractions
  • Blue tint of lips or skin
  • Excessive coughing or choking sounds
  • Pauses in breathing over 15 seconds

Your pediatrician can assess breathing issues and may recommend home apnea monitoring for preemies or babies with breathing concerns.

Healthy newborns may have periodic breathing, congestion or other noises that are not harmful. Always practice safe sleep guidelines.

Newborn Bathing

Newborn baths are quick daily routines focused on cleaning face, diaper area, neck folds and anything soiled. Always support baby’s head during bathing and keep them warm.

Sponge baths

Gently clean with warm damp cloth and mild baby wash. Focus on creases and skin folds where milk or dirt collect. Clean diaper area front to back to avoid infections. Dry thoroughly and put fresh diaper on immediately.

Tub bathing

For tub baths, fill a clean tub with just 1-2 inches warm water. Test temperature to avoid burns. Keep one hand behind head and neck as you gently lower baby in. Wash with mild cleanser and damp cloth. Rinse soap residues to avoid irritation. Dry skin thoroughly.

How often

Newborn baths are often daily or every other day. Limit baths to 5-10 minutes max. Avoid excessive bathing which can dry out skin. Until cord stump heals, sponge bathe avoiding the navel area.

What to use

Water only is enough for a newborn’s bath. If using baby bath wash, choose a fragrance free, gentle cleanser labelled non-irritating. Avoid products with chemicals, soap or alcohol which dry out skin.

Safety first

Never leave baby alone during baths. Keep all supplies within reach to avoid leaving baby unattended. Monitor water temperature to prevent burns or chills.

Gently cradle and support baby’s head and neck at all times in the tub. Start with sponge baths until umbilical stump heals, then progress to tub baths. Keep baths brief but frequent to keep your newborn fresh and clean.

Newborn Clothes

Dress your newborn comfortably for the environment. Use soft, stretchy fabrics that make diaper changing and night changes easy.


Newborn clothes fit up to 10 pounds. Stock up on bodysuits, sleepers, socks in this size. Buy larger sizes too as babies grow quickly. Choose stretchy clothes for a comfortable fit.


Dress baby in light layers that can be added or removed to adapt to the temperature. Use only 1 more layer than what you’re comfortable in. Avoid heavy fabrics that restrict movement.


Cotton onesies or bodysuits with snaps at the crotch are essentials. They keep diapers contained and are easy for diaper changes. Stock up on short and long sleeve versions.


Footed pajamas or sleepers keep baby warm and cozy for sleep. Choose breathable cotton or muslin fabrics. Zippers down the front make night changes simpler.


Small socks help keep feet warm if sleepers are not used. Seek socks with rubber grips on the soles to prevent slipping. Change socks whenever they get wet.


Newborn hats keep heat from escaping through the head. Use breathable cotton or knit hats both indoors and out until about 2-3 months old. Make sure hat fits securely but comfortably.

Dress your newborn simply for sleep and comfort. Avoid complicated outfits, ties or buttons in the early months. Seek soft, natural fabrics that regulate temperature and are gentle on delicate skin.

Newborn Gear

Beyond basic clothing and diapers, here are the essential newborn care supplies I recommend having on hand:

  • Diapers and wipes – Stock up on newborn-size diapers and sensitive baby wipes.
  • Diapering station – Have diaper changing pads, creams, and plastic bags for soiled clothes within easy reach.
  • Burp cloths and bibs – Absorbent cotton cloths to catch spit up, drool, and dribble during feeding.
  • White noise machine – Provides soothing ambient sound for calming baby anytime.
  • Baby thermometer – Digital rectal thermometer to check baby’s temperature.
  • Nail clippers and file – Trim nails gently after baths when soft. Use baby nail file to smooth edges.
  • Baby carrier or wrap – Keeps baby close while leaving your hands free.
  • Swaddles – Adjustable swaddles to wrap baby snugly for sleep.
  • Pacifiers – Offer pacifiers for soothing non-hunger-related fussiness. Choose an orthodontic style.
  • Baby car seat – Rear-facing safety seat installed adequately for all car travel.

Focus on the basics in the early weeks. You can always get more supplies as you learn what works best for your baby and family.

The most important ‘gear’ is your time, love and care as you nurture your precious newborn.

Your Transition Home

Those first few weeks at home with your newborn can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to smoothen the transition:

Lower expectations

Accept that this phase involves major adjustment. Let go of pressures to keep a perfect house, cook gourmet meals, or do anything but care for your baby (and yourself). Order in food and let chores slide.

Sleep when baby sleeps

Newborn short sleep cycles mean catnapping when they doze. Forget “normal” sleep schedules and nap when you can. Keep daytime feedings and changing station by your bed for easier overnight care.

Seek support

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family and friends. Have someone watch baby while you shower, eat or take a much-needed nap. Outsource chores or errands that are too much right now.

Take shifts

Agree on shift splits with your partner if both parents are home. Alternate feedings or blocks of “on duty” time so each gets a chance to rest. Communicate needs clearly.

Connect with baby

Make time for baby snuggles, singing, talking and eye contact. Smile, respond when baby coos. Your loving presence helps their brain development despite the sacrifices.

Practice self-care

Hydrate, eat small nourishing meals, take a daily walk or enjoy a soothing shower. Do relaxing activities before bed, even 5 minutes of reading or meditation. Make yourself a priority too.

Permit yourself to focus fully on your newborn in these early months. Let go of pressure to “do it all” and make space to gain confidence in your new role as parent. With time, you will adjust to your new normal.

Guide To Taking Care Of a Newborn Baby

What are the basic care needs of a newborn baby?

The basic care needs of a newborn baby include:

  • Feeding – Newborns need 8-12 feedings of breastmilk or formula per day. Watch for hunger signals and feed on demand. Support proper latch and burp regularly.
  • Diapering – Check diapers every 1-3 hours and change promptly when wet or soiled. Use diaper cream for rashes. Expect 5-6 heavy wet diapers and several dirty diapers daily.
  • Bathing – Sponge bathes healing cord stump daily. Once healed, soak 2-3 times per week in warm water for 5-10 minutes using a gentle cleanser. Dry thoroughly.
  • Sleeping – Newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep per day, including naps. Provide a safe sleep space free of hazards. Swaddle for calming. Watch wake times to catch tired signals.
  • Medical Care – Schedule well-baby checkups per doctor’s recommendations. Keep track of weight, growth, and vaccines, and conduct home health assessments.
  • Skin Care – Choose soft, gentle fabrics. Keep the diaper area clean and dry. Use fragrance/alcohol-free skincare and laundry products. Trim nails carefully.
  • Comfort – Respond to cries and provide soothing motions like rocking and swaying. Offer a pacifier to relieve non-hunger fussiness. Create routines and keep the environment calm.
  • Bonding – Hold, make eye contact, sing and talk to your baby as much as possible. Respond promptly to build trust and attachment. Baby wearing can promote bonding.

Providing responsive care tailored to your newborn’s needs helps lay the foundation for health, secure attachment and development. Keep routines simple and enjoy these precious first weeks.

What are the do’s and don’ts for a newborn baby?

Here are some key do’s and don’ts when caring for a newborn baby:


  • Do respond promptly to crying and attend to basic needs – baby is relying on you for comfort and care.
  • Do support head and neck when holding baby. Cradle them closely, especially when feeding, carrying, bathing.
  • Do feed on demand every 2-3 hours whenever showing hunger cues. Allow time to burp during and after feeds.
  • Do maintain skin-to-skin contact as much as possible – this promotes bonding, regulates baby’s vitals and soothes them.
  • Do stick to a soothing bedtime routine involving swaddling, pacifier, rocking to help baby sleep.
  • Do use sun protection like hats, minimal sun exposure and baby sunscreen when outdoors.


  • Don’t shake baby for any reason – this can cause serious injury. Place baby safely in crib if feeling frustrated and walk away to calm down.
  • Don’t give water or solid foods until about 6 months old, unless otherwise advised by pediatrician.
  • Don’t use soft bedding, pillows, crib bumpers or toys in crib – causes suffocation risk.
  • Don’t leave baby unattended on high surfaces – use straps in diaper changing stations, carriers, etc.
  • Don’t kiss baby’s face or hands frequently if someone has a cold sore – this can spread the virus.

Following safe practices tailored to your newborn’s needs supports healthy development in these critical early months. Reach out to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.


The first few months with your newborn will be filled with joy, wonder, and many sleepless nights.

While it can feel overwhelming to care for this tiny human that is completely dependent on you, remember that this phase is temporary.

Focus on providing comfort, nourishment, sleep, gentle care and lots of affection in these early days. Respond to your baby’s needs, trust your instincts and enjoy every precious moment.

With time and experience, you will gain confidence and find your groove in parenting your little one.

Seek help when needed and know that the effort you put into caring for your newborn will form a strong foundation for their health and development.

Stay patient during the challenging times, ask for support and savor each snuggle – before you know it, your newborn will be blossoming into a curious, active infant. This is just the very beginning of an incredible parenting journey.

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