Caring for Your Infant

Your infant depends totally on your care and protection. Your newborn needs a safe crib and a quiet place to sleep, away from bright lights and sudden noises. He needs to be fed often with breastmilk or formula. And he needs your prompt and loving attention when he cries. When you respond quickly to your infant’s needs, he feels secure and learns to trust your care.

Helping Your Infant Sleep

Helping Your Infant Sleep Infants may wake up several times a night. And they take longer to go into a sound sleep than older babies. Put your baby in her crib when you see signs that she’s sleepy�when she yawns, fusses or rubs her eyes.

Crib Safety

  • Use a new, safety-approved crib or make sure that your old crib meets today’s safety standards. If a soda can fits between the bars, they are too far apart.
  • Lead paint on or near cribs can cause brain damage. To find out how to check for lead paint, call Lead Hotline.
  • Use a firm, tight-fitting mattress with a fitted crib sheet.
  • Portable cribs and bassinets are better than chairs and sofas, which may be too soft for safety.
  • Don’t put pillows, toys or fluffy, loose bedding in your baby’s sleep area.
  • Keep your baby’s face clear of coverings. Tuck the blanket only as high as his chest or use warm clothing instead of blankets.
  • Cords from bedding, curtains, blinds or toys can strangle a baby. Keep them away from the crib.

Sleep Safety

Always put your baby to sleep on her back, unless your doctor suggests a different position. This can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Call California SIDS Program.

Things You Can Do

Where to Find Help

Learn More

Crying Is How Babies Communicate

  • Crying is How Babies Communicate
    A cry may mean that your baby is hungry, tired, in pain or lonely. Over time, you will learn what each cry means. Respond to your baby’s crying right away. She needs your help to calm herself. When parents respond quickly, their infants cry less.

Try Different Ways to Comfort Your Baby When She Cries

  • Crying Baby
    • Take your baby into a dark, quiet room.
    • Wrap your baby in a blanket to help her feel warm and secure.
    • Walk with your baby in a carrier on your chest, or hold your baby close to your chest with skin-to-skin contact.
    • Gently rock your baby up and down or sit with her in a rocking chair.
    • Lay your baby on her tummy across your knees and gently pat her back.
    • Give your baby a pacifier.
    • If your baby likes to suck her thumb or fist, help her find it to comfort herself.
    • Hum, sing or speak softly to your baby.
    • Ask for help when you need it, so you can have a break.