It is difficult to prepare for the role of a mom in advance but it is a lot easier to do the “job” if you know baby care fundamentals. Babies are very different yet very alike, especially during the first few weeks after birth. They are all extremely vulnerable and it is not unusual for the new moms to worry about hurting their baby when changing the diaper for instance. This fear fades quickly but the list of things that can cause stress is unfortunately very long.

Worrying about something all the time can make baby care stressful and possibly even lead to depression. And for that reason it is crucial to know baby care fundamentals because you will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety if you know what your baby needs and what to do in specific situations.

Here are the most important baby care fundamentals:

Taking baby outside. You may have heard the old wives tale that newborns should not be taken outside. However, newborns need fresh air and exposure to daylight too and is completely safe to take a few weeks old baby outside for a walk for instance. Be sure, however, to dress your baby in light, comfortable clothes when it is warm outside, and winter gear and a warm blanket during the cold winter months.

Umbilical cord care. You may feel uneasy dealing with umbilical cord but other than keeping it clean and dry, it is best to leave it alone. You are highly recommended against “helping” it fall off sooner even if it hangs on only by a thread.

Crying. All babies cry. A lot! They cry when they are hungry, when they are tired, need a diaper change, boring, sleepy,… The list of things that can cause your baby to cry goes on and on. For that reason you should not immediately think on the worst – pain or illness. Eventually, you will learn exactly what which type of crying means. And do not worry about spoiling your baby because it is impossible to spoil a few weeks old baby by holding him or her when he or she is crying.

Flaky, shedding skin. Skin changes are very common in newborns but you do not need to apply any creams or lotions as soon as you notice some skin shedding. In fact, it is better to let the skin “repair” itself naturally than to apply chemicals to your baby’s skin. You may also notice skin shedding on your baby’s scalp. In this case, your baby perhaps developed the so-called cradle cap. Do not worry though because it is completely harmless and will go away on its own within a few weeks or months. It is most often managed with frequent head washing but ask your doctor for advice if you think that your baby has cradle cap.

Rash. A rash can be a sign of anything but before you think on the worst, take a deep breath and relax. If your baby does not have fever, and eats, sleeps and behaves normally, you probably do not have to worry about it. Also, resist the temptation to use any skin care products because they can make the rash even worse. But if the rash is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms or if it does not go away, call your baby’s doctor.