Posted: May 08, 2012 10:45 AM
You’re home with your sweet newborn baby... but now what? From tips about what a newborn’s umbilical cord really looks like when it falls off, a safe way to cut your baby’s fingernails to the reason your newborn looks as tan as a member of the Jersey Shore cast -- here are five must-knows for all new moms.

1. My baby's umbilical cord looks... gross

And it will until it falls off. The best way to describe a newborn's umbilical cord stump is a big, nasty scab. But, we promise you that even though it looks disgusting, that scab is normal and eventually will fall off. It's best to let the umbilical cord fall off on its own, so even though it's hanging by a thread, let it be. It doesn't hurt your baby or even annoy her. If the umbilical cord area does look red, inflamed or has a discharge, please do contact your doctor.

2. Why does my newborn have a tan?

No, you didn't give birth to the newest member of the Jersey Shore. As long as your newborn isn't also doing the fist pump, that baby tan is most likely jaundice. If you notice that they are looking a little yellow at home (or tan, as many parents describe it), let your doctor know. Jaundice often isn't caught until a few days after birth and is easy to treat.

3. I'm nervous about cutting my baby's fingernails

It's likely that veteran parents have told you horror stories about accidentally cutting off the end of their baby's finger while trying to snip those long newborn fingernails. And, it is hard to get those soft little nails cut, even with the baby clippers. We suggest waiting until baby is sound asleep and taking your time -- even if you only get a couple of nails at once!

4. Why are his private parts so swollen?

Parents of boys often wonder why their baby's penis looked so much bigger at the hospital, but now, a few days later at home, things seem to have... well, shrunk. The swelling is simply due to birth and it's normal for it to go down as time goes on. The same goes for the genitals of baby girls -- don't be alarmed if you see some changes in the diaper-region in the first week after birth.

5. How careful do I really need to be with her soft-spot?

All newborns have different sized soft spots on top of their head and if you look closely, you can actually see it pulsing a bit, just like a tiny heartbeat. You're already being careful with your newborn, so their soft spot should already be quite safe -- it's not like they are jumping off the couch yet or playing at the park. You can even touch the soft spot gently without concern.

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