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Looking after a newborn baby: parents' most common questions, answered

Whether you're a first-time parent or just struggling to remember what you did with your baby last time round, let Mumsnetters answer those niggling questions about newborns and getting through the early weeks.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Apr 14, 2023

Tiny baby

“We don't have a car – will the hospital let us take the baby home on foot?”

Newborn car

“At my hospital they didn't let you take your baby down the stairs until it was strapped into a car seat, and then a midwife came to the car to check you could strap it in.”

“We didn't own a car either, so we put our son in his baby carrier and we took him home on the bus. I'd had a c-section and they were still fine with this.”

“I would just get the most basic model of infant rear-facing car seat – they aren't that expensive. If you don't have a car, the likelihood is that you will probably use other people's cars and taxis at some point in the following 9-12 months.”

“Can you use baby wipes when you're changing a newborn nappy?”

Changing newborn

“The hospital recommends cotton wool and water only for the first six weeks.”

“I used wipes from the start. I could spot the second-time mums in hospital by those who were using wipes. My baby's bum is fine.”

“If your baby has really bad tar poo, then use cotton wool and sunflower oil instead of water. It comes off much easier.”

Read next: The best baby wipes, as tried and tested by parents

“How long before you do the first bath?”

Newborn bath

“I didn't bath my baby until about a week. Didn't want to wash off the protective vernix.”

“We didn't bath her until the umbilical cord dropped off, then bathed her once a week until she was eight weeks. Now we bath her every day as part of her bedtime routine.”

“I was shown how to bath mine whilst still in hospital when he was two or three days old. He loved having baths even at that young age – it calmed him down.”

“Where should a newborn sleep?”

cosleep cot

“It differs from baby to baby – my first was in a cot from day one, but had some time in my bed when feeding at night. My second was in a cot, and my third went in the Moses basket but didn't like it so ended up in the cot. My fourth went in the Moses basket, then the cot at around three months and was in a bed by 18 months.”

“Current guidelines to prevent SIDS are that babies should be in a cot in their parents' room for six months. My son was in with us until about eight weeks, then went in his own room as we were all getting disturbed sleep by sharing a room. It's not what's recommended but it was right for us.”

“It is much easier to roll over, pick the baby out of the Moses basket by your bed, feed them and plonk them back again, than it is to get out of bed, walk across the landing, pick up baby, feed/settle them, put them down, get back into bed and then attempt to get back to sleep yourself in time for the next waking.”

“What do they need to wear at night if the room is a normal temperature?”


“Vest, baby grow and blanket. Sleeping bag instead of blanket once the baby hits the minimum weight (most are about 9lb) as they can't kick it off like they can a blanket.”

“I breastfed my first child – will my milk come in straight away this time or still a few days later?”

Baby sleep breastfeeding

“I had colostrum for about two days and then my milk came in.”

“I tandem fed my first and second – toddler feeding is brilliant for helping the milk to come in quicker and relieve engorgement Took about 2-3 days compared to five days with the first.”

Read next: The best nipple shields for breastfeeding mothers, as tested by mums

“What do you check/do when your newborn cries?”

Crying babay

“1. Feed

2. Nappy

3. Too hot/cold

4. Wants a cuddle

5. Wants to be quiet and sleepy

6. Wind (never quite got the hang of that one though)

7. Just having a cry.”

“Sometimes babies do just cry. If you've checked all the obvious things then just cuddling is probably a good plan.”

Other words of wisdom…

Baby sling

“My second daughter lived in a sling permanently unless I was changing her nappy. Remember a sling is an extra layer of clothing for both you and baby though and adjust clothing accordingly, and make sure baby grows aren't too tight on little feet as the sling can make them pull up.”

“There is nothing nicer than a tiny baby drifting off to sleep in your arms. They just relax and they're so content and comfortable, it's lovely.”

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