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16 essential baby care tips I learned at NCT

Baby doll dressed in pink

After completing the NCT course, which included advice on caring for a newborn, I thought it would be helpful to collate the essential takeaways in a post that I can use as a refresher when the time comes.

I hope other new mums will also find it useful.


Nappy changing

1. To avoid an unexpected shower whilst nappy changing, particularly if you have a boy, unfasten the nappy, open it to expose baby to the air and cover it straight back up again. Wait until your baby has finished the inevitable wee before continuing to change the nappy. 

2. Use the old nappy to wipe off as much poo as possible and keep it underneath while getting the next nappy ready. This will minimise the time that baby is without nappy protection and help to protect your changing area.

3. Once the new nappy is fastened in place, fold the top over towards the inside. Apparently all nappies fold in this way and it helps to prevent poonamis.

4. It’s OK to use wipes, even for newborn babies, but look out for special newborn wipes or water wipes , which are kinder to their sensitive skin.
Cartoon baby boy after nappy change



5. Baby’s eyes and umbilical cord stump should only be cleaned with cooled boiled water. Use cotton wool or a different sponge for each. Boil the kettle in the morning and keep the water that you will need for the day in a covered bowl.

6. Sometimes the easiest way to clean baby, for example after an explosion or incident with sick, is to wash them down with the shower.

7. If your baby doesn’t like having his/her hair washed it is easier to do this before you put them in the bath. You will have a better hold on them. Babies are slippery when wet!

Cartoon baby in the bath



8. The envelope shoulders on a vest mean that you can put them on and take them off from the bottom up. This saves you having to wrestle a dirty vest over baby’s head.

9. Some long sleeved vests have built in scratch mitts that fold over baby’s hands.

Cartoon baby clothes on the washing line


Controlling baby’s temperature

10. The easiest way to check whether you baby is wearing the right number of layers is to compare their temperature to yours. Touch their chest and then your own. If you are a comfortable temperature, baby should feel about the same.

11. As a rough guide baby will usually need one extra layer than you are wearing. Unless it’s really hot, baby is likely to need a vest and a baby grow.

Cartoon thermometer



12. The advice is for babies to stay in their parents’ bedroom for the first 6 months. However, babies are likely to grown out of their moses baskets within this time. If you want to keep baby in your room once he/she has grown out of the moses basket, a travel cot will take up less space than the normal cot.

13. Grobags can be used from birth and are fine to use in moses baskets. 

14. If you are using sheets and blankets, baby’s feet should be at the bottom of the cot and the sheet or blanket should not be tucked in higher than baby’s shoulders.

Cartoon babies sleeping


Baby carrying

15. A sling can be a great way of keeping a needy baby close to you whilst leaving your hands free to get things done.

16. This YouTube video features an easy to follow demonstration on how to wrap a Moby sling to carry your newborn.

Cartoon mother soothing baby


Is there anything I’ve missed? Feel free to add your own tips in the comments below.


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Becci Johnson

Hi, I’m an almost 6 ft, thirty-something living in Manchester. Writer, blogger & mum to twins plus one.

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