5 Not-So-Obvious Newborn Care Questions

You've read the books, gotten advice from every friend and relative who has kids, and now feel confident in your ability to parent. When the big day gets here, you have all the hospital staff you could need to help care for your new little bundle. If the first day home alone with your baby leaves you unsure, cut the confusion by asking the pediatrician a few questions. While it's likely that the books and mommy-friend advice already gave you the basics, make a list of a few not-so-obvious questions to ask the doc about newborn care.

1. The scoop on poop. Bringing up your newborn's bowel movements may seem like an uncomfortable topic, but this is part of routine care. Ask your doctor what to expect when it comes to the color, consistency and timing. This is especially important if your newborn's bowel movements are red, black or white, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. These colors could signal a problem.

2. Stump care. You probably don't think much about your own belly button. The same can't be said for your baby's. Your baby's umbilical stump may seem like a mystery. The remnants of the cord will fall off between 5 and 15 days after birth, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. That said, you may want to ask the pediatrician how to bathe your baby around the stump and what types of clothing to avoid until the stump falls off.

3. Diaper matters. Do the all-natural, organic diapers really make a difference? If the diaper aisle seems dizzying, your pediatrician can help to clear up any questions about what kind to choose. While he might hesitate to recommend a specific brand, he can give you the facts on absorbency and material make-up.

4. Soothing scents. Lavender, vanilla and other scents are all showing up in baby-care products. Before you buy in to the idea that a slather of lavender cream will make your newborn doze off, ask the doctor about the effectiveness and safety. Some babies may have sensitivities when it comes to scents or dyes in lotions or other bath products. The pediatrician is a pro at knowing what the best bet is for your newborn.

5. Timing issues. You shower daily; or at least you did pre-baby. Your newborn doesn't have the same needs. Before giving a nightly scrub down, ask the doctor how many bath times per week he recommends. While you're on the subject, discuss water temperature, how and where to scrub and soap choice.

Even though there is no shortage of advice out there when it comes to newborn care, there's no substitute for what the doctor has to say. While you might already know that your baby has needs such as changing and bathing, asking more detailed questions that aren't quite so obvious can help to ease the transition into parenting. From the colors that you see in your baby's diaper to what these diapers are made from, get specific and control your own comfort level by getting the answers that you really need to know.