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Expectant parents may be really excited about meeting their baby, but also a little scared about caring for their little one in the early months. Our tips should help you gain confidence.

You'll have been pregnant for an average of 38 weeks by the time you have your baby. Chances are that you have read up on newborn care and received plenty of (unsolicited) advice from loved ones and total strangers.

Many first-time parents still find it a little scared to take care of that tiny, helpless being all by themselves but the best advice any new parent can receive is to listen to her instincts.

Humans have been raising children for a long time, and most of the information you need about how to look after your baby is already stored somewhere deep in your being. That does not mean you can't do with some practical tips of course.

Diapers — Which Ones, And How Often?

You'll need to purchase a stack of diapers before your baby is born. Most parents opt to use disposable diapers, but cloth diapers have also made a come-back in recent years and they are much more modern than the ones your grandmother used. Whether you choose cloth or sposies, it is a good idea to get diapers in multiple sizes because you are never quite sure how big your baby will be when he is born.

Newborns will wet diapers around 10 times a day, while the frequency of bowel movements varies individually and depends on whether you breastfeed or formula-feed.

The baby's first bowel movement will contain meconium, a sticky substance that lined her bowels in utero.

If you gave birth in a hospital, you might be lucky enough to have a nurse change that first diaper. Cleaning your baby up after a meconium poop takes quite a bit of work, because the substance is tar-like in consistency. Don't worry, as every bowel movement that comes after will be much easier.

Parents who use cloth should use a new diaper after every pee, but those who use disposable diapers can wait a while before changing the diaper — modern sposies are truly extremely absorbent.

Many parents choose to clean their babies' bottoms with wet wipes, but you can also simply wash your baby. If you notice a diaper rash, you'll want to air your baby's bottom more and switch to a new wet-wipe brand. 

Bathing your baby in water with a bit of baking soda clears diaper rash up in no time.

Bathing And Hygiene

Your baby's umbilical cord does not typically drop off until she is between three and seven days old. That means almost all new parents will personally care for their baby's cord stump. It might look scary, but it's no big deal.

Exposing the cord stump to air and allowing it to dry out will encourage it to fall off sooner and will guard against infections. Putting antiseptics like Iodine on the cord stump will lengthen its lifetime — something you don't really want.

New parents are encouraged to give their babies sponge baths until the cord stump comes off and the belly button heals. Baby boys who were circumcised should heal before getting a proper bath. 

How do you give your baby a bath? The newborn's neck should be supported at all times, and the temperature should be appropriate. You can make sure the water is just right by dipping your elbow into the water, or you could get a bath thermometer. 

You can bathe your newborn in a baby bath tub, in the sink if they're small enough, or in your regular tub with a special newborn support device. There are even "tummy tubs" that look like buckets on the market. Do be careful when you take your baby out of the bath, as newborns can be very slippery!

While there are many baby products on the market, you'll want to stick to the basics to prevent rashes and dry skin. A natural diaper cream and soap is really all you need.

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