Skip To Content

    10 Super Useful Tips To Remember When Taking Care Of Babies

    Pacifiers can help decrease the risk of SIDS.

    BuzzFeed recently spoke to pediatrician Kara Fine, MD, about the important things people who care for infants should know. Well, we also wanted to share some helpful baby tips from her as well!


    1. Early introduction to certain foods – like peanuts – may actually help reduce potential allergies.

    Red Table Talk / Facebook

    "In the past there was a recommendation to delay the introduction of foods that babies may have potential allergies to, like peanuts. But, there has been one good study that looks at the early introduction of peanuts to kids at a high risk of having that allergy and babies who tried it earlier actually decreased their risk of the allergy. We don't have great studies for some of the other foods, but – for peanuts – earlier introduction may be beneficial," said Kara.

    2. A rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to take an infant's temperature.


    Kara explained, "Rectal thermometers are the best, even up to the first couple of years of life. Just get a regular thermometer and have it be the dedicated rectal thermometer. Otherwise, I would say the next-best way to take a temperature as kids get older is under the arm."

    3. It is unnecessary to put cereal in a baby's bottle to help them "sleep through the night."


    Kara said that adding cereal to an otherwise healthy baby's milk at night is not needed and you are giving the baby extra calories they don't need.

    4. You shouldn't sleep train (AKA let the baby "cry it out") until the baby is at least six months of age or older.

    Kim's Convenience

    "Giving a baby under six months of age a few minutes to fuss in the middle of the night to see if they stop is fine, but babies that young shouldn't be allowed to cry for too long. It is OK to do sleep training – or 'cry it out' methods – after six months, but they can be really tricky depending on how stubborn the child is," said Kara.

    5. You don't need to clean the umbilical cord with anything!

    Soul Pancake

    "There have been different recommendations over the years about what you should and should not do to clean the belly button, but you don't need to do anything. It will dry up and fall off on its own. The umbilical cord is an old blood vessel, so you can expect to see splotches of blood when it falls off, but if it gushes blood, you should get it checked out." Kara also said the umbilical cord can smell bad, but there shouldn't be surrounding redness, swelling, or puss. The cord usually falls off between 10-14 days of life.

    6. You shouldn't give an infant a cool or cold bath with a goal of trying to lower their temperature.


    "If you feel like a cool washcloth or a lukewarm bath would help them be more comfortable, then that is OK, but there should never be a goal of something like that trying to bring down the baby's temperature," said Kara.

    7. However, the temperature of an infant over two months of age is not as important as how long they've had the fever.


    "If a baby has had a fever for more than three to five days, we definitely want to see them." Kara also said that as far as sicknesses in infants, it is on a case-by-case basis, especially if there are other symptoms accompanying the fever. "We try and get away from the fear of fever. It can certainly feel scary, but most of the time it's the body's reaction and there's not always something that can be done."

    8. Because babies are supposed to sleep on their backs, there has been an increase in plagiocephaly, or flattening of the head. To prevent this, make sure your baby gets enough tummy time.


    "Plagiocephaly is a cosmetic thing, so it's not going to impact the development of the baby's brain. If it's severe enough, they may qualify for helmet therapy – which doesn't necessarily re-shape the skull, but directs the growth of the skull to allow for a more rounded head. We are also putting more emphasis on tummy time to prevent this from happening, so when they are awake and alert – and a parent is there to supervise – we want them to lay on their stomach to help build up neck muscles."

    9. In younger infants, pacifiers can help decrease the risk of SIDS.

    Bounce TV

    Kara said if younger infants are put to sleep with a pacifier, it may be helpful in preventing SIDS. "However, after six months of age, babies who use pacifiers have a slight increased risk of ear infection. So, maybe use it for the first few months of life, then by six months ween away from it. But there are worse things, so it is totally reasonable for a baby to have a pacifier within the first few years of life. It's best to ween away once they start getting teeth and opinionated and too attached."

    10. There is no right or wrong way to burp a baby!


    Kara said that everyone has different techniques that work for their baby and that is OK. Every baby is different, so whatever works to get your baby to burp is sufficient.

    And that's all for now babiesssss.