We are preparing for our first one and have no idea on how we should go about the bubs basics like bathing, feeding (how often to feed, how long on breast milk), sun-screening, etc, just basically caring for a new born.

We don't have anyone around us to guide us/seek guidance from which is making us even more anxious.

Is there a guide(s) on how an infant/new born should be cared for which covers all aspects ?

  • 2
    a lot of people seem to like the book "what to expect the first year" - it's one of the books by the person who authored what to expect when you're expecting. Aside that, the hospital tends to give you some clues about the basics like bathing, feeding, diapers, etc. And a lot of it is common sense.
    – Kai Qing
    Feb 28, 2015 at 0:33
  • 2
    If you don't have relatives nearby, look into joining a baby group or club of other new parents. This is one source of advice, ideas and experiences if you're feeling a lack of support. With our first, we met a dozen other couples at birthing classes all due around the same time, and we continued meeting regularly once the babies had arrived.
    – Acire
    Mar 2, 2015 at 12:38
  • In our family we found Kaz Cooke's books rather helpful. They've got lots of common sense, they're very clearly written, and they've got some jokes and cartoons, which helps. Dr Spock's Baby and Child Care is a very good reference work to have handy (nothing to do with Leonard Nimoy).
    – A E
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:05
  • We enjoyed this books no-nonsense approach (compared to What to expec.t.. or books biased to one parenting/care style): The Baby Owner's Manual Also, depending on where you live you might get helpful visits form a social worker (like in Denmark), or helpful mailings with basic info (like we did in Washington State)
    – Ida
    Apr 16, 2015 at 15:30
  • Dr Spock's Baby and Child Care -- I love it. Apr 18, 2015 at 5:23

6 Answers 6

  1. Get some books to build up your confidence. The "What to expect..." books are too built up and drawn out. Too much of everything. Simple, cool books are attractive reads and hold adequate amount of content. I liked "Eat Sleep Poop". These books will not give you as much "what to do" advice, but what you should not freak out about. This is important.
  2. Understand that there's not much to do. First your are pregnant. Google things like "what to do or not to do while pregnant". Then you have a newborn. All they do is eat, sleep, and poop (like the book says). People have been growing babies for tens of thousands of years and did ok.
  3. Help will come. You'll have doctor for health advices. Nurses for feeding. Every bystander has an advice on babies (including me).
  4. Enroll in a couple of small free classes at a local hospital. They often do them for free or for cheap. Don't enroll into anything that is 3 hrs long, likely waste of time.
  5. Search Youtube with words like "Lamaze" and "contractions". These are pretty important to know before it happens.
  6. Materials: for sleeping: you need place to put baby in before you have one. Pack'n'play will do. Crib is not necessary for the first few months. for pooping: diapers, wipes, garbage bin. Maybe diaper cream... for eating: burp cloths, small cloths, big cloths, more cloths. for living: many onesies, sleep sack/swaddlers, hats, car seat, blankets. But nursery, strollers, rockers, play mats, etc. are absolutely for your comfort and not essential for the baby.
  • "Don't enroll into anything that is three hours long" -- is that too much information, or not enough?
    – Acire
    Mar 2, 2015 at 12:39
  • Too much. Most of the topics can be covered in 20 min
    – donkz
    Mar 31, 2015 at 18:25

That's a pretty broad subject. A single all inclusive source may not exist, and if it did, it might be overwhelming.

First things first, try not to be anxious. New babies make no mystery about when they want to eat. They spend most of the day sleeping. For the first 6 months or so babies don't do a whole lot.

Some things to consider - Make sure you're supporting their head. When you pick them up, roll them over, etc, make sure their head is secured, usually just by holding it in place. Babies can't lift their heads for several months. What to expect's point of view on that

Tummy time. Place them on their tummy many times a day. This promotes muscle development, which will eventually lead to rolling over and then crawling. Here's webMD's stance on that

Encourage as much crawling as you can. Let them decide when they want to start walking. Here's a non-medical article on that subject

Try to nurse as much as you can. Several years if possible. Nursing is the best source of food for babies and contributes significantly to their immune system as well as a few other arguable points (like intelligence and so on) Hard to say about the theories of intelligence. WebMD's article on that

After the first 6 months, you'll probably be getting the hang of things. When it's time to move to solid foods, just ask around. See what the pediatricians suggest, etc. No honey.

You could write libraries dedicated to this subject but nothing's going to prepare you for your kid. Just time. And as time goes by you'll see it's not as hard as you think. The first few months are actually pretty easy because your baby is pretty much just learning to look around and maybe roll. Plus, you'll have to go to the pediatricians so often for weight checks and things that someone is always watching them grow with you. They'll let you know if you need to do anything.

I swear babies are psychic. They just know when you're having a bad time, and it makes them have a bad time. Try not to lose your mind. Just figure they have never seen the world and you're all they know for comfort, so give them as much attention as you can while you can.

When you get lost, you can ask here for a quick response.

I could go on forever on the subject but I'll wrap it up by assuring you that you will have a good time. I am just about the last person who should have had kids but now that they're here it's awesome and I love seeing them progress with such an insane dad. You'll delight in seeing how they reflect everything you do, and it all begins when they're small enough to fit in one hand.

This is the book I suggested in my comment: What to expect the first year


Yes, many resources exist that provide instructions for everything you "need" to know to care for your newborn infant.

One that I've found that has good information, illustrations, and working links is Raising Children's newborn section.

Here's the links to the topics you specifically asked for:

They have quite a wide variety of topics that they cover, and their landing page is broken down into different sections, such as Development or Safety, which make it easy to navigate to the information you want, or to find topics you didn't know you wanted!

This is just one site of many, but they have a pretty nice interface, and they have information for children of all ages, not just newborns. Some sites, like Parents.com or BabyCenter.com offer articles or listicles that have annoying click-throughs, or have their articles broken up into many smaller items that increase your click-count and their ad revenue. RaisingChildren.net.au, however, is part of a Non-Profit Organization, and they're goal is to give helpful information to parents, rather than create profit revenue streams. I'm sure there are many other sites out there like this, but it's up to you to find them.

The real key here is that you have the desire to learn and know these things. Just by asking this question, you have shown (me) that you have one of the most important qualities of being a parent: Admitting you don't know how to do it all, and seeking out the answers to your questions.

Once you read over some of the basic1 information in the articles on websites such as Raising Children, you'll start to think of new, more complicated questions that aren't readily available on the more general websites. That's when web searches come in handy. These days, the Internet has connected parents across the world, so it's rare to come up with a question that hasn't already been asked by someone!

1 I say basic, but it's only basic in the sense that more complicated information out there exists, not in the sense that everyone knows it already. First-time parents don't usually have all of this knowledge already!

In my own (limited) experience, hospitals or midwives generally have pamphlets, books, or training sessions available for some of this info, too. It's usually provided free or at low cost.


The guide I found was the must useful for me was the The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance.

Reason it's a good book

  • Easy to read
  • It's funny (compare baby to a car)
  • The many diagrams help to visualize how to do everyday parenting's tasks: like how to hold your baby, how to change a diaper, how to wrap your baby, what a nursery look like

Ours is currently 8 days old. We have found "Happiest Baby On The Block" to be a lifesaver in terms of calming techniques. Without the steps it discusses, I think she'd cry for hours on end.


My first strong advice is: Be confident on yourself as a parent. Many people will tell you many things that don't necessarily adjust to your baby.

2) Take a prenatal class, trust me, this helped us a lot. Because like you, we didn't have anyone to guide us.

3) Read some books. I think that I review at least two or three books.

4) The first days that you are in the hospital, ask anything that you think is important. Nurses are really helpful in moments of doubt specially when you have a premature child (Here!). Sometimes, they even give you a phone number to answer any question you have.

5) Finally, Google is your friend. Now, trust me there is so much information on the Web, so you can read tons of baby sites that will help you. And even is funny because I remember that once I was watching a TV show called "Parenthood" and a couple were not sure if a pregnant can eat sushi and they google it. I also read forums but don't use it as a source for a medical problem.

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