Baby Care Tips

Baby’s Stuffy Nose Keeping You Awake?

Your baby’s stuffy nose may sound really bad.

Sleeping Baby

Sleeping Baby

First Cold

When your baby gets older and has his or her first cold it can be very distressing. It is very difficult as a parent to see your baby suffering from any illness. Here are some tips that may help to guide you.


When your baby gets sick the first symptom you will notice is a change in behavior. Perhaps your baby is more quite than usual, more sleepy, or more fussy. You’ll just know that something is not right. Your doctor has learned to pay attention to the expression “something is not right” because it frequently is the best way you can explain what is happening with your baby. And your doctor already knows that a change in behavior is typically the first symptom of illness that usually precedes fever, rash, runny nose, or any other symptoms that may be part of the illness. Your baby’s behavior is also a guide to how sick your baby is as the illness runs its course.

Stuffy Nose

If a stuffy nose is part of your baby’s symptoms, sleep can be difficult. Because your baby’s nasal passages are so tiny, even a small amount of mucus can cause an obstruction that sounds really bad. The first question an advice nurse or doctor will ask you about your baby’s stuffy nose is “Does it keep your baby awake … or does it just keep you awake?” Your answer to that question helps determine treatment, if any, and is also meant to give you reassurance. If your baby is sleeping just fine, even though you can hear that your baby has a stuffy nose, the treatment is to let your baby sleep. Being aware that your baby is sleeping fine despite this symptom will hopefully give you the reassurance you need to go back to sleep too. Rest for both of you is the best help for getting through this difficult time of illness.

When to Call the Doctor

If your baby is less than 3 months old you should call your baby’s doctor when you first suspect that your baby may be sick. There will be an advice nurse to guide you and help you make decisions about care. Fever in this age group is not common, so if fever is noted (a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees) you must see a doctor as soon as possible.

Information Is Good

Unfortunately science has not been able to eliminate the common cold from the human experience, but hopefully it will be a very long time before your baby does get sick. And hopefully this information will help you manage more confidently, and perhaps give you some measure of reassurance when that time does come.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Learn Newborn Care Before Your Baby Is Born!

Be safe and confident learning newborn care.

Grab a Bear, a Blanket, a Diaper, and a T-Shirt!

Grab a Bear, a Blanket, a Diaper, and a T-Shirt!

I Want to Help

My passion as a baby nurse is to help you enjoy your newborn baby from the first moments of your new life together, without letting fear of the unknown get in the way. I believe feeling confident in handling and caring for your newborn will help tremendously. I have witnessed this transformation repeatedly in my practice, and I have now figured out a way for you to gain this confidence before your baby is born. Feeling confident in your ability to provide newborn care will allow you to truly enjoy your new baby, starting on Day 1.

Here’s How

Remember how you learned to drive a car? … someone with experience was by your side to keep you safe and give you confidence to try new things. Now, you can learn newborn care the same way. And with this new approach you can practice and perfect your baby-care skills before your baby is born!

Your Virtual Baby Nurse

With today’s technology you can have an experienced baby nurse “by your side” to keep you safe, give you peace of mind, and make learning easy and fun. Newborn Baby—Tips & Videos gives you your personal baby nurse to demonstrate baby care, step by step, through delightful how-to videos embedded into the text. Learning to change a diaper, change clothes, give a bath, trim tiny nails, swaddle your newborn, and more, becomes easier too with the gifts of instant replay and repetition as you watch and learn in the comfort of your home.

Practice Makes Perfect

And like learning to drive, you can practice what you learn too! Grab a 15-inch teddy bear … your newborn baby stand-in … a diaper, a T-shirt, and a blanket. Watch the videos, imitate each step, and practice! … over and over again until you feel good about your new baby-care skills.

Confident and Optimistic

Imagine feeling confident and optimistic when providing baby care from the very first moments with your newborn. This confidence, and peace of mind, will give you the freedom to truly enjoy your newborn baby. So, get this video book, grab a bear, and start practicing today! You’ll be glad you did.

Newborn Baby—Tips & Videos is available for iPad and for Kindle.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

A World of Beautiful People

I believe the future holds a world of beautiful people.



Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And beauty can mean different things to different people. But for this particular observation about newborn babies let’s go with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition: “the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.”


As a baby nurse specializing in newborn care I have seen literally thousands of newborn babies. All of them are beautiful in their own way. But, over the years I have made the observation that the newborns of mixed-race parents definitely stand apart in their “qualities … that give pleasure to the senses.” Other baby nurses have shared this same observation, that these babies have something beautiful about them that gets your attention.

The Future

I believe that when we become a world of people without judgement about our differences, that we will become a world full of beautiful people. I believe we will no longer have distinct differences that today keep some of us apart, but rather we will be universally open to the beauty that surrounds us with everyone we meet.

What If

And what if that beauty was not only skin deep. What if the beauty we see on the outside that gives pleasure to our senses, actually goes much deeper and gives pleasure to our mind too. What if the world of the future is full of beautiful people, both inside and out. Imagine the possibilities!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Golden Hour Benefits

The Golden Hour offers benefits for both of you.

Skin to Skin in the Golden Hour

Skin to Skin in the Golden Hour

What Is the Golden Hour?

As you may remember from the last post, the term Golden Hour is used to refer to the time immediately after your baby is born when being in close contact with you is beneficial for both of you. Holding your baby skin to skin is one of the most important parts of this practice that allows a myriad of benefits to unfold.

Special Opportunity

Because your newborn has a sustained period of wakefulness in a quiet-alert state, this hour or so after birth presents the perfect opportunity for bonding, imprinting on each other, and learning about each other to occur. Although other shorter periods of wakefulness will present themselves later, the high levels of oxytocin present right after birth play an important role in establishing, and maintaining, this special bond between you and your baby. Oxytocin acts to lower stress levels for both of you, setting the perfect stage for short and long-term benefits to unfold. Oxytocin generates changes in brain chemistry that increase your desire for nurturing, and creates the desire for further contact for both you and your baby. Dads who have significant contact with their newborns also experience a rise in oxytocin that creates this desire for further contact too. All of this bonding activity is beneficial for your new family, and provides long-term benefits for your baby’s overall health and development.


Skin to skin contact makes it easier for your newborn to transition from the womb to the outside world. Research has shown that your baby will be able to regulate heart rate and rhythm more easily, will breathe more regularly and easily, and will be able to maintain a warm body temperature more easily when held skin to skin. These three things are the important measurements of your newborn’s stability and vitality. Scientists first made these observations about the power of skin-to-skin contact in the early 1980s when the practice of Kangaroo Care (mothers holding their premature babies skin to skin) in Bogotá, Colombia more than doubled the survival rate for these pre-term babies. We now know skin-to-skin holding is beneficial for all newborn babies.

Skin to skin contact also encourages successful breastfeeding, but especially during this first hour after birth. Your body chemistry during this Golden Hour promotes more successful letdown and latching, allowing breastfeeding to occur more easily. The same hormones that help you push your baby out also help to release the flow of milk for your baby (letdown). The readily available milk makes feeding more interesting for your newborn. The smell of the milk, the instant gratification, and the calm-alert state work together to help your newborn “figure out” a proper latch for sustained and successful feeding. And for your benefit mom, the combination of skin contact and breastfeeding releases hormones which cause the uterus to contract and to stop bleeding, both of which are desirable outcomes after delivery.


The Golden Hour with your newborn held skin to skin offers many wonderful benefits. My hope for you is that you both get to have the intimate and amazing experience of sharing this first hour of life together.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour and Your Newborn

Dad Helped Too

Dad Helped Too

What Is the Golden Hour?

Golden Hour is a term used in photography, labor and delivery wards, and in war … and it refers to that small window of opportunity when the action taken, or not taken, directly affects the outcome of an event. Acting quickly with practiced and proven expertise, defined by the circumstances of photography, birth before 32 weeks gestation, or a traumatic injury, significantly increases the probability of a positive outcome. Leaving this small window of opportunity, usually about an hour, to fall by the wayside leads to a less than optimal outcome.

For Your Baby Too

Today, as research documents its benefits, it is becoming the norm rather than the exception to capture the Golden Hour following uncomplicated deliveries of healthy newborns. More and more the expectation is that the first hour of your baby’s life will be spent in close contact with you, one of the most important practices of this golden hour concept, so that you and your newborn can enjoy these benefits too. If needed, medical interventions to save or improve your newborn’s life of course are always performed first, and your baby returned to you as quickly as possible.


If you would like to have this Golden Hour with your newborn you can start the communication process by talking with your OB/GYN. When you check in to the hospital you can talk with the medical personnel who will be taking care of you. Expressing your wishes verbally, using only positive words to describe what you imagine to be the best possible way for this magical hour to unfold, will bring you more success than writing a list of everything you “don’t want” to happen in a Birth Plan. This suggestion has everything to do with Mother Nature, and nothing to do with hospital personnel. Acknowledging and trusting medical expertise, and talking positively about your desire to have this Golden Hour with your baby, will work wonders to help you realize this dream.


A lot happens in the first hour of life as your newborn engages in a play of interactions with the new environment. After the initial crying that brings air into the formerly fluid-filled lungs, your baby typically will transition into a calm alert state, a state of being that is proven to be the perfect state for learning to occur. Being skin to skin with you during this quite alert time adds to the benefits your baby receives. The next post will go more deeply into these benefits, but just know that taking advantage of this Golden Hour, if possible, will provide positive, short and long term, benefits for both of you.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

What’s In a Hug?

Hugs are pretty powerful … let’s take a look.

Hugs are Good

Hugs are Good


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a hug is “to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship.”

Hopefully you have experienced a hug as defined above, and hopefully you’re fortunate enough to get hugged a lot. And if not, perhaps after reading this you may want to exchange hugs more frequently, every opportunity you get.

Benefits of a Hug

For some insight into the benefits of a hug you can turn to that familiar Kaiser Permanente voice, currently on the radio, talking about hugs as part of their continuing efforts to support you in your quest for health. They say that a hug can lower blood pressure, improve memory, and reduce stress. That’s amazing! And besides that, they say that a hug makes you feel good, and is proven to be good for your overall health. There’s a lot happening when you engage in this simple gesture of wrapping your arms around someone, beyond showing love or friendship.

For Your Baby

So, if a  hug is good for you, you can see that a hug is definitely good for your baby too. Perhaps there is no high blood pressure to lower, but hugging your upset or crying baby will definitely reduce some of the stress of the situation, probably for both of you. And sometimes you might, for no reason at all except that you are so filled with love, just give your baby a hug. A gentle little squeeze with your arms that brings your baby even closer and gives your baby an infusion of your love. Who knows? Perhaps hugging does improve your baby’s memory too!

Hugs Are Powerful

Hugs have the power to improve your overall health and make you feel good, I believe, because they offer an infusion of loving energy combined with human touch. Your baby, a little version of you, is capable of receiving this loving energy too, and can experience the benefits of a hug for improved health and happiness.

Hugs, straight from the heart, can only do you … and your baby … good. You’ll see!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN, BSN

Pacifiers are Good

Pacifiers are good when used to help your baby.

Pacifiers are Good

Pacifiers are Good

Learning  to Feed

When your baby is in your womb, nutrition is easily provided without requiring your baby to do any work. From the moment your baby is born, everything changes. Outside the womb, your baby suddenly needs to work to get food. This work consists primarily of sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Although it seems to happen spontaneously, your baby needs to learn to coordinate these new feeding activities. Coordinated sucking, swallowing, and breathing prevents choking, makes the food easier to get, and helps your baby conserve energy needed to complete the work of feeding. Most babies learn this quickly and easily.

When Feeding Is Challenging

For some babies feeding can be a little tricky. If your newborn finds feeding to be challenging, using a pacifier as a learning tool is a good way to help. Sucking on a pacifier will help teach your baby to coordinate sucking with breathing, to coordinate swallowing without having to manage a large volume of fluid, and to learn proper tongue placement to help accomplish these important tasks for feeding.

More Sucking

The pacifier is also good for providing sucking time outside of feeding time. It is possible that your baby may want more sucking without necessarily wanting more food. Hunger may be satisfied earlier than sucking, and a pacifier is the perfect tool designed for your baby’s sucking needs. Once satisfied the pacifier usually falls out of your baby’s mouth as your relaxed newborn gives in to sleep.

For Comfort

The most familiar use of a pacifier is to provide comfort to your baby. Most babies are pacified by sucking, ergo the name “pacifier.” Sometimes sucking has the power to calm your fussy baby and to provide the perfect comfort your baby is seeking.

Rejecting the Pacifier

But sometimes your fussy baby may need more than just a pacifier to provide comfort. If your crying baby quickly rejects the pacifier, it’s beneficial for both of you if you respect that rejection and offer some other measures of comfort. Perhaps food, and/or a diaper change, are needed to soothe your baby, and the pacifier of course won’t provide the comfort your baby is seeking. Your baby will let you know.

It’s Your Choice

As with all preferential decisions regarding your new baby, it’s best to gather lots of information and make an informed decision. You’ll be happier with your choice.

As part of information gathering, observe the babies in your world who use pacifiers, as well as the baby in the photo “Pacifiers Are Good.” Make true observations to help you make an informed decision. It’s your choice, for your baby.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Tummy Time

Tummy time is the perfect complement to back to sleep.

Tummy Time is Important

Tummy Time is Important

If you practice “back to sleep” for your baby’s safety, you’ll want to practice “tummy time” for your baby’s overall health and development.

Back to Sleep

Positioning your baby on his or her back is the current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help reduce the chance of your baby having SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. This simple practice has reduced the incidence of SIDS significantly.

But when your baby is lying down on the back it is not possible for your baby to lift the head. In fact this position that provides total support does not allow movement that challenges the neck and upper back muscles. These are the muscles that will help with head control and body mechanics.

Tummy Time

The AAP also recommends tummy time for your baby. The baby in the picture is a few weeks older than your newborn and is demonstrating tummy time very well. Notice the lifted head, the arm and hand positions, and the leg position.

The tummy position places your baby’s arms and legs next to a firm surface (such as a pallet on the floor), which provides resistance during natural movement. Your baby may be a flurry of activity, pushing, pulling, and lifting up with arms, legs, and head. All of these resistance activities will strengthen your baby’s muscles.

Muscle Development

Placing your baby on the tummy for short periods of time when awake helps your baby to develop muscles necessary for both fine and gross motor skills. Development of these muscles will assist your baby with crawling, rolling over, and sitting up. Lifting the head will strengthen the neck and upper back muscles and will assist with head control. Head control plays an active role in helping your baby with eating, sleeping, and general body mechanics.

Have Fun!

Always stay with your baby, and play with your baby, during tummy time. Whether your baby is on a pallet on the floor, across your lap, or leaning forward into your hand, you can help your baby practice tummy time skills. Interacting with your baby makes it fun for both of you.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Fourth of July Newborn Tips

Happy 4th of July!

Newborn Smiling

Your Happy Newborn

Today is traditionally a time to celebrate with families and friends, with most of us getting together to share food, fun, and fireworks. If you have a newborn, here are some tips for you.

Sharing Your Baby

When you get together with family and friends you can count on everyone wanting to hold your new baby. That’s just the natural response to being in the presence of new life, so tiny and precious. And thank goodness, because babies love to be held. Not only that, but it’s good for them. You’ll find some of the important benefits of holding your baby by clicking this linked post “The Magic of Human Touch.” Sharing your baby, in general, is a good thing for both of you.


While your baby is still a newborn, that is 28 days old or less, you should make sure that the person who holds your baby washes their hands first. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs.

As you probably learned when your baby was born, hand washing is actually recommended for the first two months of life, not only for the first 28 days. And of course, your baby should not be around anyone who is sick.

Peace of Mind

The medical recommendation for taking your newborn out to be with others has two parts to consider.

One, if you are going to be with family and friends, following the above recommendations should be safe for your baby and should give you the peace of mind you desire.

And two, taking your newborn to a public place such as the movies, or the mall, is not recommended until after your baby is two months old. You are not able to know who might be sick when you are out in the general public, therefore it is not worth the risk.

Happy celebrating!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Simple Tool to Guide Your Baby Care Choices

A Tool to Guide You

What would I want if I were you?

What would I want if I were you?

I’d like to offer a tool to help you when you are trying to choose the best care for your baby. There are so many choices to make throughout your day. The benefit of this particular tool is that it will help you immensely with every choice you need to make. It’s “simple” because you simply have to ask yourself one question.

Baby Version of the Golden Rule …

It’s the same question every time:

“What would I want if I were you?”

Only the Best

When choosing for your baby, and that’s what baby care is, if you stop and ask yourself this question you automatically consider the care and response you would want. Since it’s natural to want only the best for yourself, no matter the situation, you will automatically be choosing the best for your baby too.

Try It

So, for example, the next time your baby is crying, stop and ask yourself “What would I want if I were you?” You will automatically begin to make a mental list of options based on the circumstances at that moment. Having this awareness to mentally stop and ask will help guide your response and your choice for the baby care you provide.

Even When You Know

This tool not only helps you figure out what your baby wants and needs, but it also influences how you choose to provide your baby care. Even when you know, for instance, that the care your baby needs at that moment is a diaper change, being in this Baby-Golden-Rule frame of mind will help you provide the best possible care. Because you would want nothing less for yourself, it may come automatically to you to provide your baby care with an abundance of love, human touch, and attention.

Now That You’ve Thought About It

Because your baby is totally dependent on you, your days and nights will be filled with many choices you need to make on behalf of your baby. “What would I want if I were you?” is a tool that is yours … forever. It’s the happy-baby choice. You’ll see!

For you and  yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Your Newborn’s Skin

Your newborn’s skin is interesting.

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Amniotic Fluid

When your baby is in the womb, the skin is in constant contact with amniotic fluid which is mostly composed of water. Mother Nature provides this fluid layer to act as a cushion to protect your growing baby from injury, to help develop your baby’s lungs, and to provide the space and means for your growing baby to move easily. Being able to move is important because movement helps to promote your baby’s muscle and bone development.


Mother Nature also provides a protection for your baby’s skin while living in this fluid environment. That protection is a cheesy-like substance known as vernix. You will see various amounts of vernix on your newborn’s skin, from a little to a lot, depending on when your baby is born.

Peeling Skin

As your baby matures over the first few days to weeks you may notice the skin peeling on your baby’s lips, hands, and feet. If your baby is born after your due date, your baby may have peeling skin at birth. The skin after peeling will be soft and smooth. This process is normal as part of the transition from the fluid environment of the womb to the air environment outside the womb. No lotions or creams should be used on your baby during this time as they will interfere with this natural shedding of the top layer of skin. Soon all of the peeling skin will be gone and your newborn’s skin will be soft and smooth.


If your baby is born early you may see a fine downy layer of hair on the ears, the temples, the forehead, and the back. This abundance of hair is known as lanugo. Lanugo begins to fall out while your baby is still in the womb, and it will continue to disappear on its own after your baby is born.


It is very common for your newborn’s skin to develop little white spots that are known as milia. These tiny spots are usually found on the nose and face. Milia are formed by dead skin cells that do not slough off (due to a still developing oil gland system) and the cells get trapped in tiny pockets in the skin. These tiny white spots are harmless and will go away on their own within a few weeks.

Baby Acne

Baby acne is another possibility for your newborn’s skin experience. Small pink to red spots may appear in patches or alone, usually on your baby’s cheeks, chin, and forehead. This rash is thought to be caused by the hormones your baby is exposed to in the last trimester of your pregnancy. Baby acne may last for a few months. The best treatment is none at all. Just continue your usual face washing routine, using warm water only, and your baby’s skin should clear up on its own.

Picture Perfect

So you see, your newborn’s skin may be very different than picture perfect. All of these skin conditions are normal, and come and go on their own.

With or without vernix, peeling skin, lanugo, milia, or baby acne, your newborn’s skin is perfect. With peace of mind you can embrace all of these events as a natural part of the adventure of being a newborn.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Tips About Your Newborn’s Head

The shape of your newborn’s head may surprise you!

newborn baby in hospital

A Few Hours Old

At Birth

When your baby is first born you may notice the shape of your newborn’s head is not what you expected. In all of the pictures you see, newborn babies have perfectly rounded heads that imitate the natural shape of humans. But when they hand you your newborn for the first time, your baby’s head may have a noticeable ridge along the top of the head, or the head may be markedly oval and not rounded at all. No worries. These unusual appearances are temporary, and not uncommon.

By Design

By perfect design, your baby is born with the bones of the skull separated into primarily five plates that are held together by fibrous membranes. This design accommodates both you and your baby during delivery to allow for safe passage through the birth canal. These separated plates also accommodate the rapid growth of your baby’s brain during the first year of life.

The First Week

Because of these shifting plates, your baby’s head may also assume a variety of unusual shapes during the first week of life. These changing head shapes are caused by the position of your baby’s head at rest, and usually create a noticeably flat area on the side in contact with the sleeping surface. To help return your newborn’s head to a more natural shape, you can gently rotate your sleeping baby’s head so that the pressure of the mattress, or your shoulder, is on the opposite side. Changing the position of the head as needed will help it become more naturally rounded over time. Your back-to-sleep baby may just turn the head back to midline after your attempt to rotate the head to one side or the other, but it’s worth the try.

Babywearing Helps

Holding your baby or having your newborn in a soft cloth carrier will help to keep your baby’s head more rounded too. Because your baby’s head will not be pushing against a plastic carrier, or against a firm mattress for sleep on some occasions, wearing your baby will help to maintain a nicely rounded head.

The Future

Just for fun, notice the adults you encounter in life and the shapes of their heads. It will be easy to appreciate a nicely shaped head for your baby. And, your grown-up baby will be very grateful for a nicely shaped head that can sport any hairstyle, even the currently popular shaved look for men or the partially shaved styles for young women.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Talking to Your Newborn Increases IQ!

Talk to your newborn and raise your baby’s IQ

Talking to Your Newborn

Your Voice and Your Attention Are Powerful

Perhaps it comes naturally for you to talk to your newborn baby about most anything that crosses your mind. Or, perhaps you have never really thought about talking to a person who cannot yet hold a conversation with you. You might be surprised to learn how important it is to simply talk to your baby … a lot!

Reading versus Talking

You are already aware that reading to your baby helps your baby differentiate the sounds of words and the intonation of your language, making it easier for your baby to imitate language when needed. But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), not only is reading to your baby highly beneficial, but the less formal times of sharing everyday “conversations” with your baby are very important too. You can enhance your baby’s brain development and have a smarter baby just by talking to your baby. That’s amazing. Learn more about the AAP’s findings in their article

“The Secret to a Smarter Baby”

There’s More

Recently a friend shared another interesting article that documents the research supporting the importance of talking to your newborn. Apparently the continuous monologue that you can have with your baby … What shall we wear today? Do you like the yellow one or the red one? Ok, the red one it is! … is extremely important and has the power to increase your baby’s IQ. According to Tina Rosenberg in this new article

“The Power of Talking to Your Baby”

(based on the research of Hart and Risley, University of Kansas, 1995) “the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.” Simple, direct, and remarkable.

More is More

So in this new article, it is emphasized that the more words your baby hears, the greater the increase in your baby’s IQ. This seems like such a simple thing to do … yet it has such a profound impact. Now you (and everyone you share this information with) can intentionally help your baby have a more positive outcome in life. Being smart has its advantages … for a lifetime.

Your Attention

The last line of Rosenberg’s comment is valuable because hearing your words, not those of any TV program, are the language and sounds that make a difference. I believe this significant difference is influenced by the attention that goes along with the words you share with your baby. Paying attention to your newborn while sharing the events of the day in a streamed monologue is a very easy way to give your baby the best start in life. Your words and attention are very powerful.

Give your newborn a brighter future by talking to your baby as often as you can.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

First Time Holding Your Newborn

Holding your newborn baby is both exciting and scary.

Holding Your Newborn

Holding Your Newborn

The First Time

When you are handed your newborn baby for the first time your heart races as you tentatively reach out to encompass the tiniest person you have ever seen! It is so exciting! Immediately you are cautioning yourself to be very careful, to support the head, and to somehow manage all of those floppy parts in unison to make holding more comfortable for both of you. You are grateful when the nurse swaddles your baby in a blanket. With everything contained you can now relax and enjoy your new baby.

Perhaps This Will Help

There is an easy and delightful trick that will help you learn to hold your newborn with confidence. Try holding your baby without a blanket!

To make this time together more enjoyable for your baby, make sure your hands are warm, and the room is warm too. For your peace of mind, make sure you are seated in the middle of a bed so there’s no chance of dropping your baby.

Start by unwrapping your newborn, placing your baby in a sitting position in your lap, then using both hands to support your baby’s body, neck, and head. As your baby uses arms and legs to try to maintain balance, your gentle support will help your baby gain control. You will learn together during this symphony of checks and balances.

Start Slowly

Although you will find it delightful to discover your newborn this way, try it for just a few minutes at a time because your baby, like you, will be working hard to gain control and coordination. Learning to manage all of those newborn baby parts is work … for both of you

I hope you enjoy these special, tender moments learning about your newborn.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Video: If you would like to see how this little trick actually works, and build your confidence before you start, you’ll see how 3 week old Vanessa responds to being held this way in “Holding Your Newborn” in Newborn Baby Manual. I think you will like it.

How to Wake a Sleeping Baby

You might ask, “Why would I want to wake my sleeping baby?”

Talk to Your Sleeping Baby

Talk to Your Sleeping Baby

Wake My Baby?

The most common example of when you will need to interact with your sleeping baby is when you have arrived at your destination and your baby has fallen asleep in the car seat.

Wake Without Startling

There is an easy tip that will help your baby wake without being startled. A startled baby usually cries. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Works Like Magic

From the first time you take your newborn out of a car seat you can make the transition easy for both of you. The seemingly magic tip is to start talking to your baby before you touch your baby. A baby in light sleep will hear your voice before coming awake. Your familiar voice, and the calm way you are speaking to your baby, will both be very reassuring. It just takes a second or two of hearing your voice to reach your baby’s awareness. That awareness of your presence is reassuring, and your baby can be unfastened and picked up with ease.

Does Cell Phone Talking Count?

The sound of your voice seems to make a difference in the response you get from your baby. When you actually talk to your baby, your voice is more intimate, and the focus is on your baby. Talking on a cell phone will still be your voice, but who knows what the tone of the conversation might be. Your baby has no reason to respond to a conversation you are having with someone else. So, for an easier and happier life for both of you, simply talk to your baby. “Here we are SweetPea” may be all the magic you need.

Staying Asleep

As your baby becomes used to this reassuring routine you will sometimes be able to make the transition from car seat to front-pack carrier while your baby stays asleep. This usually happens when your baby is in deep sleep. Once transferred your baby should settle easily in the carrier, snuggled safe and warm next to you, and return to blissful sleep.

Happy Baby

Any time you need to interact with your sleeping baby you will have a happier baby if you talk to your baby before touching your baby. It’s one of the easier baby care practices that gives you lots of happy returns.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Tips for Happy Bathing: Part II

Another important tip: Gather supplies first!

Safe, Hands-Free Bath Supplies

Safe, Hands-Free Bath Area and Supplies


Here is a screen shot of the supplies used in the video Sponge Bath. Having all of the supplies you need at your fingertips allows you to work easily and confidently, and helps you keep your baby warm. A warm baby is a happy baby, and keeps bath time fun!

Build a Pallet

Fold a baby towel (or absorbent baby blanket) so that it’s ready to use for swaddling your clean baby at the end of the bath (before the hair wash) and cover it with a waterproof pad to keep it dry during bathing. You can see a small part of the green pad in the picture, and of course the baby towel is protected and hidden.

Fold one adult bath towel and place it on top of the pad to provide the soft and absorbent area where your baby will lie during bathing. Be sure to leave room on the waterproof pad to place used wet washcloths. Your pallet is complete!

Towel for Baby

You will need a small towel for covering and drying your baby during the bath.

Baby Soap

Any baby soap you choose for hair and body is good. You can get baby shampoo and baby body soap separately, or purchase a combined head-to-toe baby soap. The choice is yours.

Baby Washcloths

Baby washcloths are gentle on your newborn’s skin because they are softer. You will need 6-8 of them for each bath so that you can just grab a new cloth for every step (wash/rinse/wash/rinse etc.) and not worry about trying to get the soap out of the washcloth for rinsing. This method will remove more soap from your baby’s skin and will keep your basin of water relatively clean for more effective rinsing.

Diapers and Wipes

Have 2 diapers ready, the extra one is just in case. Baby wipes should be used to clean a dirty baby bottom. You will wash this wiped-clean bottom with baby soap and water during the bath. Keeping baby stool out of your bath water is a measure of safety.

Change of Clothes

Clean clothes picked out and at your fingertips make it easy for you to dress your baby right away. You guessed it … getting dressed will help keep your baby warm too, the key ingredient for happy bathing.

Basin of Water

For your baby’s comfort consider preparing the warm water last, just prior to getting your baby. Warm bath water is essential.

Warm Room

Because it’s worthy of repetition, your baby will be happier if you set up the bath in a warm spot in your home. It just might be the kitchen!

Once you know how to do the sponge bath the tub bath comes easily.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

The video demonstration for a newborn sponge bath is available in Newborn Baby Manual.

Tips for Happy Bathing: Part I

Bath time can be a fun part of baby care, for both of you.

Newborn Sleeping on Towels

One Towel is Safe for Bathing

Two keys to happy and safe bath times are warmth and hands-free bathing.


Warmth applies to the room temperature as well as to the water temperature. The warmth of the room, and the warmth of the water, help your baby to relax and enjoy this new experience. When giving your newborn a sponge bath you may set up a bathing area in any warm room. It might even be the kitchen!

Hands-Free Bathing

Whether sponge bathing or tub bathing, you’ll need two hands free to safely manipulate your baby’s soapy, slippery arms, legs, and body. Safe means your newborn is protected from falling or drowning, without requiring you to hold on to your baby during the bath. This safe bath area allows you to have both hands free to safely wash and rinse your baby. Safe, as you know, also means never leaving your baby unattended during bathing.

Sponge Bath

The newborn in the picture is sleeping on a pallet of towels much too high for safe bathing, but perfect for an adorable picture. For your newborn’s sponge bath, one folded adult bath towel should be sufficient to provide the desired softness and absorption, as well as give you a safe area for hands-free bathing. Keeping bath supplies close to the towel pallet allows you to work easily and quickly, helping to keep your baby warm.

Tub Bathing

Currently the common guideline for when your baby can be placed in water that covers the abdomen, is after your baby’s cord has fallen off and the skin has healed completely. Using a baby bathtub may be a great way to make this transition easily. There are a variety of colorful tubs to choose from, offering a variety of options for your baby’s safety and comfort.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

“Sponge Bath” Video: You will be able to see a demonstration of safe and hands-free bathing, and a happy newborn Baby Vanessa, in Newborn Baby Manual.

When Babies Rock

Rock your baby … every chance you get.

Rock On

Rock On

It seems that Mother Nature has given us a natural response to rock back and forth when holding a fussy baby. And, sometimes you’ll even find yourself rocking back and forth, without even thinking about it, when your happy baby is in your arms. This natural movement is soothing to your baby, and relaxing for you. But there is a lot more going on than just settling a fussy baby. Thank you Mother Nature!

You may be surprised to learn that rocking provides benefits for your baby, and for you too! Thank goodness for rocking chairs. This simple invention makes it easy to rock in comfort, for longer periods of time, enabling you to indulge in these benefits.

Developmental Benefits

Rocking gently challenges your baby’s balance and equilibrium and improves coordination, head control, and motor development.

Rocking motion stimulates your baby’s internal balance mechanisms helping the muscles, eyes, and brain work in harmony. Studies have shown that your baby will have better head control and will sit, stand, and smile earlier when rocked.

Healthy Emotional Benefits

Rocking enhances your special bond with your baby. Something happens, almost like magic, when you sit quietly rocking your baby that makes the experience truly wonderful, even in the middle of the night.

Rocking is not only soothing for your baby, but feels very relaxing for you too. Because of these pleasurable benefits you might try to plan, or steal, these rocking moments as often as possible.

Rocking makes you feel good.

Enhances Feeding

Rocking during feeding, breast or bottle, improves sucking and coordination and makes feeding more successful.

Feeding your baby in a rocking chair is comforting for both of you, making feeding more enjoyable.

Promotes Sleep

After giving your baby a warm bath, settle into a rocking chair and prepare yourself for quiet time. These precious moments with your baby create memories for a lifetime. You’ll see.

Other Benefits

There are many remarkable benefits to be gained by rocking that perhaps will enhance other areas of your life. I want to share them with you because they are so impressive. In this article by Champ Land you’ll get additional information and the research behind the developmental benefits of rocking mentioned above. And you’ll also discover other valuable life-enhancing benefits for all ages.

“Rocking Chair Therapy Research” 

Rock as if it improves quality of life … because it does!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Dressing Your Newborn: How Many Layers?

Deciding how to dress your newborn can be challenging at first.

How to Know if Your Baby is Warm

How to Know if Your Baby is Warm

How Many Layers?

There is a simple rule of thumb that you may find extremely helpful when wondering how many layers to put on your baby. That rule is, put one more layer of clothing on your baby than you put on yourself. For example, if you need long sleeves and long pants to stay comfortably warm, your baby needs long sleeves, long pants, and a sweater or blanket.

A Word of Caution

If you’re a new mom, you might want to use someone else as your guide to comfortable warmth. Some new moms experience an increase in body temperature for awhile after birth related to their pregnancy hormones. You may be warm in a tank top in the middle of winter!

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Warm?

The one-more-layer rule of thumb is a baseline guide. To be sure your baby is warm you can touch the back of your baby’s neck. If the skin is warm and dry, your baby is dressed perfectly. Yay!

If the skin is warm, but damp, your baby is too warm. When this happens the clothing next to your baby’s skin gets damp too. Therefore you should change all of your baby’s clothes and eliminate one layer of clothing or blanket.

Finally, if you touch the back of your baby’s neck and the skin feels cool, you should add a blanket or another layer of clothing, including a hat and socks.

Temperature Check

Anytime you use this quick check for warmth and your baby feels too warm or too cool you are advised to do a follow-up check with a thermometer. Your baby may be just fine, but you need to know.

AAP Guidelines

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a temperature above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) or below 97 degrees F (36.1 degrees C) may be of concern and requires a call to your baby’s doctor.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Tips for Changing Baby’s Clothes

Here are a few tips for changing your baby’s clothes to make it easier for both of you.

From "Changing Baby's Clothes" Video

Changing Baby’s Clothes

Two Hands Are Better Than One

If your baby is lying down while you’re changing the clothes, not only will you have both hands free for manipulating arms into sleeves for instance, but your baby will be safer in the process.

Change the Diaper First

It’s smart to change the diaper first. Putting clean clothes on your baby when the diaper is dirty is definitely tempting Fate. It’s usually when you’re running late that whatever mess is in that dirty diaper escapes onto the clean clothes before you get to the diaper change. That puts you back to where you started … changing your baby’s clothes. This tip will save you time, laundry, and frustration.

Make a Big Hole

When dressing your baby in clothing that goes over the head, here’s a tip that protects your baby’s face and ears. First gather the clothing in a ring so that it makes a big hole formed by the neckline and the bottom opening gathered close together.

Slip the clothing over your baby’s head by putting the ring under the back of the head first, then slip the large opening over your baby’s face, clearing the face and ears.

Taking clothing off over the head is just the opposite. First take your baby’s arms out of the clothing, one at a time, and gather the clothing around your baby’s neckline. Make a big hole to first clear the face and ears. Then gently lift your baby to remove the clothing from the back of the head.

This tip will make dressing and undressing your newborn, your baby, your toddler, and child much easier for you and more comfortable for your baby.

Socks Are Really Good

Warmth is vital to maintaining your newborn baby’s health. Warm feet help to warm your baby to the core. Socks provide an extra level of comfort that promotes sleeping, feeding, and all of the things your baby needs to do to grow and thrive. Socks are really good.

How Many Layers

The Post “Dressing Your Newborn: How Many Layers?” (click here) will provide tips to help you know if your baby is warm enough, and tips to help you figure out the number of layers your baby needs.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Watch 5-week old Baby Vanessa in a video demonstration of these tips in the ebook Newborn Baby Manual.

Your Newborn: How Power Napping Helps You

Power napping gives you increased energy for newborn care.

power napping

Power Napping

Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps

The most common advice given to new parents is to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’re not used to sleeping during the day, you might think this advice is absurd. But perhaps think of sleep in terms of power napping. Power napping offers tremendous benefits.


Research has shown that the power of napping is positive for your health of mind and body. Napping for 20 minutes or so in the middle of the day allows your brain to rest and regroup. Power napping gives you renewed energy to complete your day, not just a boost in energy for the task at hand. That alone is worth the few minutes of rest.

But there are even more benefits, including stress reduction, heart protection, ability to focus, improved memory, improved performance, greater endurance, and more patience, Now I wonder, why aren’t we doing this in America on a regular basis?

Am I Just Being Lazy?

In order to fully enjoy power napping let’s also address the psychological baggage sometimes attached to daytime sleep, namely that you might appear lazy. Remember, not all societies feel this way. But if it’s your thought, perhaps this will help.

You might think of napping as a form of meditation, a tool for letting your thoughts come and go without paying too much attention to them, to clear your mind and rejuvenate your brain while relaxing your body.

Or you might think about napping like this. Since it’s clearly expected for you as a new parent to be awake in the middle of the night to care for your baby, it should also be clearly expected for you to power nap in the middle of the day so you can, again, care for your baby.

It’s a Gift

As a new parent you’ll find that if you rest, even a little, while your baby is sleeping, you will have more energy to deal with the awake times, more patience, more efficiency, and more understanding of this new relationship. You are going to give your all anyway, so why not build up your stores to make it possible for you to give more easily?

Consider indulging in this gift that brings you more basic happiness … power napping.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Tips: Newborn Diaper Change

Here are a few diaper-change tips to help you feel more confident and to save you time, worry, and laundry.

Changing newborn diaper

Diaper Change

Gather Supplies First

When planning to change your newborn’s diaper, grab all of the supplies you will need before you begin. Having everything organized within easy reach before you get your newborn makes it easier, and safer, for your baby.

The List

Suggested list: (1) a waterproof changing pad, to keep the bed linen or changing table clean, and/or to provide a protective surface for your baby when out and about, (2) two diapers, giving you an extra one just in case, (3) unlimited wipes, (4) a place to put the dirty wipes and diaper as you go along, and (5) a change of clothing within reach (always wise). When using cloth diapers you will also need your favorite type of fasteners and a waterproof diaper cover.

Pictures Go In The Front

Disposable diapers have a cute little design across the front to assist you in determining the front versus the back. It is possible to put diapers on backward, but they do not fit as well and may possibly leak.

Laundry Saving Tip

Even before you unfasten your baby’s dirty diaper, place a clean opened diaper under your baby. This new diaper may catch any stray stool or urine, and the outer plastic lining helps keep the changing pad or bed linen clean. This tip may save you loads of laundry! And if the safety diaper doesn’t get soiled during changing, it’s already in place for you to use.

Remove Booties and Socks

Babies squirm and kick during diaper changing, and it’s easy to lose your grip on one, if not both, active feet during cleaning. For sure the booties will be a mess before you can mange to grab those tiny feet again! It’s easier to remove the booties before you start, wipe clean a bare foot that strayed into the mess, and then replace the dry clean booties.

Fold Tabs Back On Themselves

Disposable diaper tabs are sticky, and not only do they stick great on the diaper, but they stick great on your newborn’s skin too. So when you’re removing the dirty diaper, take time to fold the tabs back on themselves. If you forget this little step, you will feel really bad when you have to remove the tab from your baby’s tender skin. This unfortunately is the voice of experience.

Built-In Diaper Safety Lock

The top front and top back of disposable diapers have a thin plastic border. When folded in toward your baby this border locks in the stool and urine, preventing it from wicking out of the diaper onto the clothes. Warm dry clothes keep your baby happier and reduce your laundry load. This clever detail works well if you take care to use it.

Always Wash Your Hands

The germs that live in the intestines are very happy there. These germs may easily get on your hands during a diaper change, and may wreak havoc if transferred hand to mouth. When you change a dirty diaper, and then eat or prepare food without washing your hands first, you and others may get sick from eating the contaminated food. Washing your hands after every diaper change is a very good habit to develop to protect your family and those around you.

Hopefully these inside tips will increase your confidence, save you a bit of laundry, and make changing your newborn’s diaper easier.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

The Football Hold

The football hold may come in handy in several situations.

Newborn Football Hold

Stop and Stare

Football Hold

There’s a way to hold your baby cradled “like a football” that allows you to have one hand free to accomplish other necessary tasks. This hold is appropriately named the football hold.

Stop And Stare

There will be times when you just can’t get enough of your newborn. You want to stop and stare in wonder at the miracle you have created.

In this picture mom has her left hand positioned perfectly for the football hold, supporting her baby’s head, neck, and back. To complete the football hold mom would simply shift her baby to her left side. Braced securely against her side, mom would now  have her right hand free to play with tiny fingers or stroke her baby’s downy head. Precious moments like these can easily be yours too.

You may find this hold very useful many times throughout your day. For example …


When bathing your newborn, your baby will be happier if you wash the face and body first, and save the hair wash for last. Swaddle your clean, diapered baby in a dry towel and use the football hold to wash the hair. The water and bubbles naturally fall away from your baby’s face, adding to your newborn’s comfort. Your baby should feel warm and secure next to you, making hair washing more enjoyable.


If you choose to breastfeed your baby there may be times when the football hold will be beneficial. When you cradle your newborn across your body for feeding, you are supporting your baby’s head, neck, and back with the same hand and arm position you would use for the football hold. When you are ready to switch your baby to the opposite breast for continued feeding, keep your hand and arm in place to support your baby and simply slide your baby across your body. Your baby will now be settled at your side. Sometimes this easy move helps to keep your baby interested and successfully breastfeeding.

Soon enough the football hold will become a comfortable way to hold your baby in many situations throughout your day. You’ll see!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Newborn Sleep: Knowing This Helps

The following information should ease your worries about newborn sleep.

Newborn Sleeping

Sleeping Newborn

Sleep and Development

Newborn sleep is precious to you and very beneficial to your baby. Research has shown that when your baby is sleeping, your baby is growing physically and developing mentally. During sleep, particularly during light sleep, your baby’s brain is growing in size, as well as developing in areas of memory and learning. Since your newborn’s brain will nearly double in size during the first year of life, as you would expect, your newborn will sleep a lot to accommodate that brain growth activity. Baby sleep is designed this way for your newborn’s healthy development.

Sleep and Safety

When your baby is sleeping, about half the time is spent in light sleep (REM) and the other half in deeper sleep (Non-REM). In light sleep your baby can easily be awakened by uncomfortable sensations such as hunger, cold, or lack of oxygen (perhaps from a stuffy nose). Waking in response to a need for food, warmth, or more oxygen is extremely important to maintain your newborn’s health.

Scientists believe that baby sleep, that is, lots of light sleep allowing your baby to wake easily for food, warmth, or oxygen, is designed this way for your baby’s survival.

Thank you! in advance Mother Nature, because it may be hard to remember to be thankful in the middle of a sleepless night.

Peace Of Mind and Gratitude

Understanding this perfect design of baby sleep … waking easily to ensure survival and healthy development … gives you peace of mind, and allows you to be thankful in the wee hours of the morning when your newborn is awake, yet again.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN