Common Questions About Newborn Care

Q. When can I give my newborn a bath?

You should wait until the umbilical cord falls off. Until then, just give your baby a sponge bath. Newborns don’t need to be bathed more than once or twice a week.

Q. How long until the umbilical cord falls off?

Usually, the cord will fall off within one to two weeks after birth.

Q. How do I care for my son’s circumcision?

Your doctor and/or nurse will give you specific instructions. It’s important to keep the penis well-lubricated with Vaseline and gauze. You should change this with every diaper changing.

Q. My baby seems to have acne. Is this normal?

About one-fifth of newborns develop pimples or have acne in the first month. These usually appear on the cheeks and forehead, and disappear within a few months. It is thought that maternal hormones cause these. Do not try to break open or squeeze the pimples, as this can lead to infection.

Q. What is the one of the greatest concerns when it comes to the safety of babies during the first
year of life?

Sleep safety is one of the greatest concerns during your baby’s first year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), sudden unexpected death syndrome (SUDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes. Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under one-year-old.

  • Babies sleep a lot – though intermittently – during those first few months. That’s why it’s important to establish safe sleeping habits for your baby to help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Here are some of the key recommendations:
  • Babies must sleep alone, on their backs, and in their own cribs. Period. Your baby should never sleep on beds, sofas, recliners, chairs, soft surfaces, car seats, bouncy chairs or baby swings.
  • Babies must sleep in a proper sleep environment. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all a baby needs to sleep safely. When it comes to sleep safety, less is more. Avoid the use of bumper pads, sleep positioners, stuffed animals, pillows, quilts, comforters and other soft bedding.
  • Do not let your baby become overheated during sleep. Keep the room temperature so it feels comfortable for an adult. Dress your baby in as much or as little clothing as you would wear.
  • Keep any tobacco or cigarette smoke away from your sleeping baby. Secondhand smoke increases the risk for SIDS.
  • Consider sharing a room with your baby for at least six months (and up to one year) to further reduce the risk for SIDS. Keep in mind, however, that the safest space for your baby is in a separate sleep space close to your bed – not actually in your bed.

Q. How do I obtain my baby's birth certificate and social security card?

A birth certificate takes at least 2-4 weeks to be completed by the State of Missouri. Once the state has completed the birth certificate, they notify Social Security.\ This only happens if the parent(s) give permission on the worksheet that is completed at the hospital for Social Security. You can request a copy of your baby's birth certificate in one of three ways:

  • Send your completed green Birth Certificate Request form (provided in your baby's folder from Missouri Baptist) with a check or money order for $15 to:

Bureau of Vital Statistics
111 South Meramec Drive
Clayton, MO 63105
(314) 615-1686

  • In person, go directly to the address listed above.
  • Online for an additional fee at

You should receive your baby's Social Security number in about 8 weeks if you have given permission. Any questions or concerns regarding your baby's Social Security card, call (800) 772-1213. The Birth Certificate Office at MoBap Medical Center can be reached at (314) 996-5746.