The 8 Baby Care Skills First-Time Parents Need to Know

You’re counting down to the day when you will officially enter the world of motherhood. It’s a few more weeks before your newborn makes his debut (yay!). Raising and caring for a baby is not rocket science, but there are indeed a whole load of new skills to get accustomed to. Before you go into a panic mode, run through this list to check if you have all skills covered:


Smiling mother holding baby

It’s normal if you’re worried about dropping your little one. Some babies like to be held upright, some lying down. The rule of thumb is to have a steady grip, be gentle and pay extra caution to the neck and head.

Cute baby boy relaxing while receiving a diaper change

Diaper changing
Whether you are opting for disposable diapers or cloth nappies, this is a skill that will get better with practice. You may struggle with which tab goes where and finding the right size for your baby at the beginning but soon, you will be able to change baby’s diaper in the dark with half-closed eyes.


swaddling newborn

Swaddling may seem easy from the diagram but trust us, when done in real-life situation amidst a crying, struggling baby, it’s double the effort. Some babies like to be swaddled, some resent it – so follow your child’s cue. Read the swaddling dos and don’ts here.



If you are bottle-feeding, you’ll need to learn the ‘art’ of sterilising bottles and making a feed in a jiffy. Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not come naturally, especially for first-timers. We recommend you to take up a breastfeeding course before baby comes to get an overall understanding of techniques and positions involved. It is a skill that will save you a fortune and last you through all your babies.


topping tailing

Topping and tailing
Also known as a wipe-down, you can opt to give your newborn a topping and tailing every other day. You’ll just need a soft cloth and some warm water. Start by wiping from the head and face, then slowly work your way down to the groin area and legs.


bathing a newborn

That first bath can be pretty nerve-wrecking. Remember to get everything ready (towel, clothes, diaper) and check the water temperature with your elbow or wrist. 
Support baby’s head, neck and body with one arm, then slowly lower her into the water and wash her gently with a sponge using your other free hand.


crying newborn

Baby cries. Baby needs something. What do you do? Thankfully, this is an instinct that comes naturally for most mums. Is he hungry? Wet? Sleepy? Need a cuddle? You’ll soon know what your baby wants. If possible, listen up for the different type of cries to differentiate each need. Check out Dunstan Baby Language.

babywearing newborn

Hold on to buying a baby carrier before your baby comes. It’s always best to try it on with your baby in it. Best still, ask the staff to guide you on how to use it. Find out more here.

Fret not if you are not entirely well-versed with all the skills above yet; there’s always time to learn. Seek help from your confinement lady, experienced mums, friends or in-laws. The support is always there if you look hard enough.


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