During the hospital stay

Baby care skills are developed through practice. New parents feel awkward when they begin.

If you start taking care of your baby during the hospital stay, you will quickly feel comfortable doing it.

Parents feel more attached to their babies when they provide care. Taking care of your baby is one way to express your love.

Use the time in the hospital to get to know your baby and how to care for him:

  • Ask the hospital staff any question you have about how your baby looks.
  • Ask to be present during the newborn exam and learn about your baby's reflexes.
  • Ask to be present during your baby's bath so you can see how it's done.
  • Ask to give your baby a bath under the guidance of the nurse.
  • Learn how to change your baby's diapers and start doing it.
  • Ask the nurse to show you tips for dressing your baby.
  • Learn how to swaddle your baby. Wrapping your baby snugly in a receiving blanket can help calm him.
  • Have skin-to-skin time with your baby.
  • Hold and rock your baby.
  • Stay with your partner and baby overnight at the hospital.
  • Take care of your baby while your partner naps or takes a shower.
  • If your baby is being formula-fed, give him a bottle.

Each parent has his or her way of diapering, holding and rocking. You don't have to do things the same way. You just need to do them gently and safely. Your baby will get used to and look forward to your style of care.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015