35 Weeks: Baby Care Basics Class

Last week Matt and I attended the final class in our baby prep series. First was Childbirth, then came Breastfeeding and finally: Baby Care Basics.


The class was a great overview of things to know about caring for a baby. Having babysat many-a-sweet babe in my life and thanks to some of the recent reading I’ve done, I didn’t feel that I really learned too much new material, but Matt has very little baby experience, so I’m glad he was able to absorb the information hands-on. I have enjoyed our classes because it’s hard to find time to read whole books on topics (especially for Matt), but these present all the up-to-date info in a concise 2-hour evening. We had two couples in our class who are adopting infants, so it was cool to learn with their perspective in mind as well.


I liked that we talked a lot about Happiest Baby on the Block, which I read and shared with Matt over a DVD and dinner discussion. Matt actually came off looking pretty experienced when he already knew how to swaddle from the DVD : ) He’s a pro – better than I am!


A few tidbits I learned (not saying these are the end-all-be-all rules, but sharing what our nurse shared!):

-The American Pediatrics Association no longer recommends taking rectal temperatures at home. Our instructor said to use a regular digital thermometer under the arm. This totally surprised me and is not what I was prepared for, but she says rectal temp taking is harder and riskier and the underarm is now recommended.

-I need more sleep sacks : ) They are recommended over regular swaddle blankets because there is much less of a chance the blanket becomes loose and a suffocation hazard. Not that swaddle blankets are bad, but just that sleep sacks are better.

-You can give a baby a real bath even before the cord falls off – just be sure to dry it well after. The research showed no difference in healing time between babies given sponge baths and submerged baths for the cord stumps.

-Baths are recommended twice a week because babies have such sensitive skin. Don’t use lotion on the face or hands – because the face is sensitive and the hands get eaten!

-Tummy time 3x a day is good – or more if your baby is up for it.

-Tests performed at our hospital by the pediatrician include a metabolic panel that is sent to the state to test for things like PKU and sickle cell, a hearing screen, jaundice and an oxygen saturation test for heart problems (which was researched at UVA!).

-We also viewed a series of images of normal variations of newborn skin and appearance. Things like swelling, blue feet, clogged pores, dry/cracked skin, vernix and some head shape formation are normal at birth.


Diaper change! I think putting on a diaper is pretty easy – kind of wish we had talked more about diaper rash, types of poop, signs of a problem, how exactly to wipe both girls and boys, etc.



At the end of the class, we played a jeopardy game and Matt and I won!!


Diapers for the win. (We are using cloth long term but disposables until we’re ready)!





Nesting Projects

Wet Nipples

No Sides Left


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62 thoughts on “35 Weeks: Baby Care Basics Class”

  1. so so exciting!! and also so so soon 😉 and i seriously thought that baby in the first picture was real at first glance! ha just seeing these pictures makes me crave the warm, smooth skin of my nephew. is there anything better?!

  2. Sounds like a great class!

    The picture of Matt holding the doll by his head made me laugh. (haha)

    You will master everything within days of having that little guy and not think twice about what you’re doing. 🙂

  3. Diaper rashes do seem to come up a lot among my circle of mommy friends. I’ve learned the following things about them:

    1. They happen more frequently when child is teething. A teething baby often produces more saliva which changes the pH level of poop and causes more rashes.
    2. They can sometimes be fungal which would be helped simply by using Lotrimin cream (yet, the athlete’s foot stuff.) If that doesn’t do it, your pediatrician will prescribe a prescription anti-fungal. My daughter has needed this.
    3. BY FAR, the best cream we’ve ever used for diaper rash is a homemade concoction of equal parts Maalox, Eucerin lotion, and zinc ointment. Seriously, listen to me on this one. It is a miracle worker and I bless the nurse who told me about it. I’ve told so many people about it and they’ve called to thank me.
    4. If it’s real bad (and my daughter’s has been – she got a fungal rash from being on antibiotics for an ear infection) – it helps to let the kid run around naked and air out. I’ve even used the hair dryer on cool to dry her bum after a bath.

  4. Dads are the best swaddlers! I think their large hands are better at creating the snug wrap. Looks like you guys had fun.

  5. I’m so happy they talked to you about newborn screening! It’s so important and great to hear that information is being passed down.

  6. I’d suggest a velcro or swaddle blanket you can secure over ditching the swaddle and going for a sleep sack. The swaddle can assist with getting your baby to stop crying and to sleep.

  7. The Summer Infant SwaddleMe blankets are great and they really stay in place. I always felt much more comfortable with those than a regular swaddle blanket during the night.

    1. I second the summer infant swaddlemes – they are lifesavers!!! Keeps the baby tight and wrapped up but no worries about suffocation/movement.

      1. was totally going to recommend the swaddle me blankets with velco. SO much faster and easier- with our 2nd we even took them to the hospital to use too b/c we learned the 1st time around how much more efficient they are!

        1. I love these too! I don’t think they had them when I had my first, but they have been great for my last three….they can’t “escape” the swaddle. I think the sleep sacks are good in theory (or maybe for an older baby), but my babies didn’t like them. They just don’t give new babies the snug fit of a swaddle that they seem to love so much.

  8. Regarding the swaddle vs. sleep sack thing– we LOVED the velcro swaddlers– I think they’re made by Summer? They’re for sale at pretty much any baby shop (and Target). They made swaddling much easier in the early days (which is nice when you’re functioning on very little sleep!!). Highly recommend those!

  9. I loved going to our baby classes. I had been around babies, but not newborns, so it was nice to get an idea of what to expect.

    If you have any concerns about changing diapers, take advantage of the knowledge from the nurses at the hospital. They deal with it every day, all day – they will be able to help you and are a great resource. The rule of thumb is front to back – unless you’re dealing with poop up the front (which you will) – then all bets are off. That’s the point at which you just start wiping however you can to get him clean!

  10. Just to forewarn you…not all babies think “tummy time” is “play time!” my son hated being on his belly for the first 3 months! I was very concerned because all anyone ever talks about is tummy time, yet he would have nothing to do with it!

  11. It’s so funny to read suggestions such as these now that I have a baby. The mantra I just keep hearing in my head is “every baby is different” which could not be more true. My son hated to be swaddled (but loved the other 4 S’s) and wailed whenever I put him on his tummy. In spite of this – he had amazing head control early on and is almost crawling at just 5 months.

    I know you said what you learned was not the end all and be all and that’s very true. Basically you can read all you want and take classes but if I’ve learned one thing it’s that it’s all a lot of trial and error. You’ll find out soon enough which things work for you and your baby.

  12. The piece of information that I gained from the most while learning on my niece & nephew— ‘you’re not going to break them’ 🙂 I know it sounds silly but between dressing, changing, bathing, ect— I was always afraid that I’d hurt them.Time showed me that they will be just fine 🙂
    We get to kiss & snuggle our babies sooooon!

  13. I’m glad you still enjoyed the class and learned a few good things. Some great tips you shared there, thanks! I bought some swaddling blankets but also some Summer brand swaddlers with the velcro and I have a few sleep sacks as well. We’ll see what works best I guess!
    You both look so cute holding the doll 🙂

  14. My husband was a much better swaddler than me! The blankets are fine to use until they start to really wiggle around – then the sleep sacks are great! We used them until he was 6 months.

    I got a chart from our County Public Health office of different types of poo to know what to look for – I referenced it often.

  15. We use Pampers Swaddlers from the beginning too. Teaching swaddling is overrated, use the velcro ones and don’t mess with figuring out the blanket. We have done daily baths everyday from Day 1 to get into a routine and it works well for us. Babies hate tummy time in the beginning. Don’t stress if he screams for 6-8 weeks on his belly. He will eventually roll and enjoy being on his belly. I never knew when to do tummy time because I didn’t want to make him mad if he was happy, and he would get more mad if he was already crying. We found rectal temp with a glass thermometer way better than ear with a digital, have not heard of underarm for a newborn. It’s all about figuring it out as you go!

  16. I echo the recommendation for the Velcro SwaddleMe, it’s all we used for the first 4ish months. Now that my baby is bigger and no longer swaddled, we use sleep sacks.

    Also, re: diaper rash. Your baby will get WAY less rash with cloth diapers, we’ve only had a couple instances and never severe. Also, make sure you have a cloth diaper friendly cream. There are a few out there, we have California baby brand, which has worked fine.

    Best of luck! You are going to love being parents,it’s the best!

  17. Pampers Swaddlers are the best! Especially for little boys that can pee out of diapers if things aren’t just right in there. I always give those at baby showers. Good luck with the cloth diapers but these are worth the extra $$ when using disposable.

  18. We just bought a couple different kinds of the velcro swaddlers – including SwaddleMe. I’ve heard they are the safest too!

  19. Here is some advice that you didn’t ask for, that I didn’t know about when I had my baby boy (all my nieces are well, obviously, girls!) but point his penis down – into the diaper. One would think gravity would take care of that, but one would be wrong, and you will end up with a baby with a wet belly. 😉

    1. 100% agree with Celeste here. I’ll never forget learning that lesson on my own. It will definitly make life easier from the get go if you point his penis down. Nobody ever told me and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on. He’d wet through his onesies in no time, and my shirt, and the blankets and anything else that was around. Then I talked to my mom (who had 2 girls only, mind you) and she asked if I took the extra 1/2 second to adjust his penis. I thought she was crazy, but it worked.

    2. Here’s another suggestion for boys which goes along with Celeste’s awesome one: When changing him, place a dry washcloth over his penis while you do the clean up with the wipes. Something about the cool air made my son need to go many a time, and I learned having the washcloth in place helped the diaper changer and baby from getting a face full of pee. 🙂

      1. I’ve actually read that intact boys are less likely to spontaneously pee during diaper changes. The foreskin keeps the penis warm (like the washcloth for circumcised boys). My son is intact and hasn’t ever peed on either my husband or me. I’d be curious if this was the same for other intact boys…

        1. My son is not circumcised, and we’ve absolutely gotten pee’d on – cold air on a penis is cold air on a penis, foreskin or no. Poop was much rarer, but that was more about changing a diaper before he was finished.

  20. Definitely joining in on the chorus of recommendations for Summer Infant velcro swaddlers – they are a lifesaver! Make sure you get some in both small/medium and large – my 6 week old is in size large already!

    As far as wiping a boy baby goes, the most important thing I’ve learned in the last 6 weeks is to pay special attention to the underside of both boy parts!

  21. We loved the SwaddleMe and Halo sleep sacks-the Halo was especially great once our son got bigger, and we swaddled for a long time (till almost 5 months). You don’t need a ton, we got away with having 2 though it would have been nicer to have 3. With a newborn you’ll be doing laundry constantly anyway, so with 2 or 3 you’ll always have a clean one in the rotation!

      1. We have a spitty baby, so we ended up needing 4-5 unless I was doing laundry daily in those early days (yeah right..ha!). I’ll also recommend the Swaddle Pods! My kiddo was like MacGyver but couldn’t get out of the zipper :). The woombie is also good!

        All babies like different things, and their needs/likes will change. So, your best bet is an Amazon Prime account haha.

      1. I had one of these and found that my son could get his arms out of the bottom of the swaddle and push the swaddle part up around his face and neck, even with the back velcro pieces all completely fastened! I woke up in the night and found him like this, and thank God he was okay, but the Halo swaddle went right in the trash and I have since filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I also found reviews on Amazon stating the same thing.

          1. My first daughter did the same thing no matter how tight I fastened the velcro!!!!! It was unnerving. I feel much better using a woombie or something similar.

        1. Yes – they are tough if your baby is long. Our son had the same issue, wriggling out of his so we had to go to using a blanket to swaddle.

  22. Good Luck in your last couple of weeks!! I’m glad you came and visited RealNewMom!! You have some really great times ahead of you, rest up in the next couple of weeks!

  23. Just a tip i’ve learned: While i do agree sleep sacs are awesome when my babies were young for the first few months swaddling is what helped soothe them the most. They do make swaddle blankets with velcro that reduce the suffocation risk. They are awesome. Sleep sacs don’t wrap tightly to mimic the womb that they need early on to feel safe and secure.

  24. One tip I learned through working in health care is your not supposed too pull down a baby’s foreskin even if they get bowl movement on their man parts just wipe of off and soak him in the bath 🙂

    1. Can you share a source for this please? She said this was a new recommendation by the APA – in the past year?

    2. Actually, you’re wrong…

      I’m a NICU RN and we NEVER do rectal temps. There’s a risk of perforating the intestines, especially when you consider inexperienced parents who don’t know how far in to put a thermometer. Take into account that an infant’s anus is not that large, yeah, no. I work at a large academic hospital where we do evidence-based practice.

      Axillary (under the arm pit) temps are the norm and the range is about 36.5 C to 37.5 C for newborns.

      Kath, I would also recommend (via asking your pediatrician) about getting Vitamin D drops (called d-vi-sol) as the AAP has come out last year that infants getting less than 1,000mL per day do not get enough vitamin D regardless of whether they are on formula/breast milk plus you can’t take a newborn out in the sun and put sunscreen on them.

      The newborn metabolic screen results should come back within about a week or so and I’m really excited to hear about them routinely checking the pulse ox! There is a nationwide campaign to do this–basically for anyone reading, we put on a special light on a baby’s right hand and then another on their other hand or foot. If there is a large gap in these numbers, it can be indicative of a congenital heart disease. So many infants die from congenital heart defects that don’t present until a few days after birth and they are so heartbreaking. This is such an easy, cheap test that doesn’t require any blood.

      1. Thanks for the feedback! The perforation is exactly what our nurse said was the risk with the inexperience of new parents

    1. I second that, our son loved the Woombie and I liked that it had a bit of stretch, so he felt snug, could wiggle a bit but not flail his arms!

  25. Hey Kanz,

    About that last picture: no, you can’t hold your new baby like a pint of a new kind of beer you like 🙂

  26. Another Woombie lover here–I recommend them to all my childbirth and doula clients! Not nearly as straightjacket-like like the Miracle Blanket and babies usually like having their arms/hands on their chest as opposed to straight down at their sides.

  27. Hi Kath!

    Can you share where you got the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD? I just ordered the book and didn’t realize they also had a DVD. I found it on Amazon for $20 but was wondering if you knew of a place to get it cheaper? I am spending a fortune on books from Amazon these days! At least buying used has saved us some $! : )


      1. That’s so sweet of you! If its not possible for you to make a copy of it, that would be awesome! If it’s not too much trouble. How would I go about giving you my address without posting it here?


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