HomeBrowse by agesNewborn
I Just Brought My Newborn Home, Now What Do I Do?
Share this post:

Congratulations on your new addition to the family! Bringing your newborn home can be both exhilarating and intimidating. We’ve provided some essential care tips to help you navigate these first few weeks with your little one.

Banner Image

Car Seat Safety

Safety first! Ensure you have an appropriate, rear-facing car seat installed properly to bring your baby home from the hospital. Consult your car seat's manual for proper installation instructions. You can also check with your local fire department or hospital for car seat safety inspection events.

Infant Grooming and Hygiene

During the first month, focus on the basics: keeping your baby clean and comfortable. During the first week, baths aren’t needed, as infants are still covered in a protective white substance called the vernix caseosa, which is largely made up of oils from a baby’s sweat glands. The vernix will shed off on its own, and that’s a good time to give your baby their first bath.

Sponge baths—rather than sitting your baby in a tub of water—are recommended during the first month of an infant’s life. Use a soft, damp washcloth and gentle baby soap to clean your baby's body. You can use a soft-bristled baby brush for their hair.

Between two and four weeks of age, infants typically get a facial rash—small pimples across their cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. This rash can even extend to other parts of their body. The cause is the mother's hormones remaining in the baby's system, so there's no way to avoid it. However, don't worry—this brief phase will pass, and the rash usually clears up within two to six weeks.

If your baby has dry skin, use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic body lotion or moisturizer for babies. Also, keep nails trimmed to prevent scratching. Some caregivers use little infant mittens to prevent them from scratching themselves.

Doctor Visits

The initial well-baby checkup takes place 2–3 days after arriving home from the hospital, which is when the baby is about 3–5 days old. Following that first appointment, babies should have visits with their doctor or nurse at the following ages:

  • 1 month old

  • 2 months old

  • 4 months old

  • 6 months old

  • 9 months old 

Each visit ensures your baby is growing and developing well and gives you a chance to address any questions or concerns with your pediatrician.

Feeding and Sleeping

During the first month, your baby will sleep in brief intervals ranging from 30–45 minutes to 3–4 hours and eat between these sleep phases. In the initial weeks, newborns often experience day/night confusion, sleeping more during the day and waking up a lot at night. It's essential to practice safe sleep habits, such as putting your baby to sleep on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and free of loose bedding or toys.

As they grow older, they may become more wakeful, and you'll need to soothe them more often. If you're breastfeeding and not using formula, it's important to nurse on demand in the initial weeks to build a healthy milk supply. Typically, this means nursing every 2–3 hours.

Here's a suggested schedule for a 2–8-week-old newborn who is breastfeeding:

  • 9:00 a.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 10:00 a.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 11:00 a.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 12:30 p.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 1:30 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 3:30 p.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 4:30 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 6:00 p.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 6:30 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 7:30 p.m. - Short Nap (20–30 minutes)

  • 8:00 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 9:30 p.m. - Short Nap (20–30 minutes)

  • 10:00 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 11:30 p.m. - Feed and Bedtime

  • 3:30 a.m. - Feed and Right Back to Sleep

  • 6:30 a.m. - Feed and Right Back to Sleep

For a 2–8-week-old newborn who is formula feeding, the schedules may vary slightly due to the longer time it takes to digest formula:

  • 9:00 a.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 10:00 a.m. - Nap (60–90 minutes)

  • 11:30 a.m. - Wake

  • 12:30 p.m. - Feed and Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 1:30 p.m. - Wake

  • 3:00 p.m. - Feed and Nap (60–90 minutes)

  • 4:30 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 6:00 p.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 6:30 p.m. - Wake

  • 7:30 p.m. - Feed and Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 8:30 p.m. - Wake

  • 9:30 p.m. - Nap (30–60 minutes)

  • 10:00 p.m. - Wake and Feed

  • 11:30 p.m. - Feed and Bedtime

  • 4:30 a.m. - Feed and Right Back to Sleep

  • 7:30 a.m. - Feed and Right Back to Sleep

Remember that these schedules are just suggestions, and every baby's needs may vary. As you get to know your baby, you'll be better equipped to create your personal sleep and feeding routine for their unique needs.


In the early days, your baby's dirty diapers will follow a pattern based on their age (1 on day one, 2 on day two, etc.). After day 4, expect at least 3–4 stools daily, each the size of a quarter or larger, with a yellow color. Some babies may have a bowel movement every time they nurse or even more often. The typical stool of a breastfed baby is loose (soft to runny) and yellow, and it may be seedy or curdy. After 4–6 weeks, some babies may have bowel movements less often, with stools as infrequent as once every 7–10 days. But as long as your baby is gaining weight, this is normal.

Similarly, your baby will typically have one wet diaper for each day of life in the beginning (1 on day one, 2 on day two, and so on). Once your milk comes in, expect at least 5–6 wet diapers every 24 hours.

Make sure you have a clean diaper, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream handy for diaper changes. Keep the diaper area clean and dry by giving your baby diaper-free time to reduce the chances of developing diaper rash.

Umbilical Cord Care

After your baby is born, their umbilical cord stump will take 5–15 days to dry up and fall off. Pediatricians advise that caregivers don’t pull off the umbilical cord; let it fall off naturally. 

To care for it, keep the stump clean and dry by folding the diaper below it to prevent rubbing or irritation. Avoid soaking the stump in water during sponge baths. If you notice signs of infection, like redness, swelling, fever, or discharge, contact your pediatrician immediately.

Bonding and Stimulation

As much as you can, spend time bonding with your baby through skin-to-skin contact, cuddling, holding, and talking with them. Singing or reading to your baby, even during the first month, helps develop early language skills and strengthens your bond.

While the first month of being a caregiver can be a whirlwind of emotions and new challenges, remember that you are well-equipped to care for and nurture your newborn. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with your pediatrician. There are also many communities of fellow caregivers or support groups to lean on with any general questions you might have. You’ve got this!

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
Find this useful?
Join our First 5 family – it’s free!
Enjoy personalized content based on your child’s age every time you visit our site.