Taking Care of Minor Problems

Care of umbilical cord:

  • The end of the cord will fall off a couple of weeks after birth. Until then, keep it clean and dry.
  • Keep your baby’s diaper below the cord so it stays dry.
  • In the past, parents were told to swab the base of the cord with alcohol one or two times a day. But research shows the cord heals faster when it is left alone. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor.
  • Call your baby’s doctor if the cord stump looks red or irritated, bleeds or oozes, or has a bad odor.

Care of circumcision:

  • Clean the penis gently with mild soap and water during diapering.
  • If the tip of the penis is irritated by the diaper, put a little bit of petroleum jelly on the irritated area each time you change your baby’s diaper. 
  • A circumcision should heal in 7 to 10 days.

Preventing diaper rash:

  • Change diapers often.
  • Wash your baby’s bottom with mild soap and water at each change. Avoid scented wipes and soaps.

Treating diaper rash:

  • Let your baby go without a diaper for a few hours each day, and avoid using plastic pants. (You may want to place several folded cloth diapers under your baby.)
  • Keep his skin as dry as possible.
  • Use zinc oxide or diaper rash cream on irritated areas after washing.
  • Do not use talcum powder or cornstarch on your baby’s skin.

Treating diarrhea: 

Diarrhea can be a very serious problem for newborns and infants because it can cause them to become dehydrated (lose body fluid) quickly. If your baby will nurse or take a bottle, continue feeding as usual.

Call your baby’s doctor if your baby:

  • Won’t take liquids.
  • Can’t keep them down.
  • Has a lot of diarrhea or has diarrhea for longer than 12 hours.

Treating colic:

Refer to the section on crying earlier in this book.

Treating a cold:

Adult colds make us feel bad for a while, but they’re no big deal. For newborns, a common cold can quickly develop into croup, pneumonia or another serious illness. If your baby is younger than 3 months old, contact the doctor at the first sign of illness or before giving your child any medicine.

  • Use a suction bulb to remove mucus from your baby’s nose. Squeeze the bulb part of the syringe, gently place the tip inside one nostril and slowly release the bulb. Suction bulbs are available at most drug stores.
  • Keep nasal passages moist by running a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room.
  • Children age 4 and under should not take cough or cold medicines unless prescribed by your doctor.
Join Our Newsletter Back to Top