Taking Care of a New Baby Article

Dressing Your Baby

Babies need to be dressed so they stay warm. More importantly, they need to look cute. A good way to assert yourself as your baby's father is to pick out something interesting for him to wear, or for the truly brave, actually go to a baby store and buy her an outfit you choose.

Matching sport team shirts are a safe bet, and putting her in a dress and headband will score big points. The baby grunge look - diaper and dirty t-shirt - won't cut it.

With so many mothers around, your sense of fashion may be questioned. If so, calmly explain that your baby likes the outfit, and won't wear anything else.

Dressing a baby can be more challenging than it would seem. Clothing goes on easiest when a baby is dry and relaxed and comfortable and warm. If you've just given him a bath, try applying a little baby powder.

Put some on your hand and smooth it gently on his skin, being careful he does not breathe it in. He will love it, and it will make it easier to slide his clothes on. As with most baby rituals, if you take your time, getting your baby dressed can become an enjoyable experience.

If he starts fussing, distract him by singing a song, kissing his fingers, letting him push his legs out against you. Calm him with your voice and let him know he's doing great.

Putting Her Socks On
Hands down the trickiest task in caring for a baby. When you put a sock on, you point your toe. When you put a sock on a baby, she curls her toes. Stick both thumbs deep into the sock so you can snug it up against her toes and then pull it the rest of the way up.

Putting On a Shirt
Since a baby won't stick his hand and arm down a shirt sleeve, it is best to reach through and pull his hand through. Most babies hate having clothing pulled down over their heads, and will let you know it.

The first few times can be rough, especially until you get the hang of it. You have to support the baby's head while gently easing the shirt down. Stretch it as far as you can before attempting to put it on. Once it's down over his head, then put his arms into the armholes.

Getting the Snaps Aligned
Baby sleepers and jump suits often have snaps, and lots of them, and they often end up one or two snaps off as you finish closing them. The trick is to start at the very bottom; get the first one aligned properly and the last one will line up too.

Dressing Your Baby for Bed
Keeping your baby from being too hot or too cold can be a challenge. Newborns have little ability to regulate their own temperature and can chill easily. You may be tempted to bundle up your baby at bed time, but overheating can be a serious problem. To keep her comfortable:

Keep the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees.
Dress her in a diaper, an undershirt and a one-piece sleeper.
Only use a thin knit blanket to cover her, and tuck it in at the edges of the mattress so it doesn't come loose and get wrapped around her.

If She is Too Hot
A baby who is too hot will feel sweaty or clammy and may have a heat rash, especially around the neck. He might look red in the face and may cry. Removing a layer of clothing (or a blanket) will help cool him down.

If She is Too Cold
A baby who's too cold may shiver and cry. Her hands, nose and feet will feel cold. If your baby is too cold, hold her next to your body to warm her up and then add a layer of clothing or a blanket.


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