All parents make mistakes. Don’t believe it? Being a parent is one among the toughest jobs you can ever come across especially the first few months with your newborn. Parenting is a learning process where you commit mistakes and master the art. But, avoiding some common gaffes by simply being aware of them can actually make the whole process easy and less stressful.
1. Worrying Too Much
Yes, we’re starting with the one thing that troubles a parent throughout their lives – all the worrying! As we said, worrying for your little one is exceedingly common. This is even more true for new parents, who take so long just to get comfortable with holding their babies! What makes it worse is that your baby is too small to be able to communicate anything. Naturally, when all you have is crying and behavior to decipher, things can get stressful. However, there’s a limit up to which worrying stays healthy and relevant.
Firstly, all your stress and anxiety can be felt by your baby. It’s true that a baby gets affected by a mother’s tension when in the womb. But an infant can also sense when all is not well with the parents, especially if you’re constantly worrying and stressing. Secondly, if there’s anything new parents need, it’s sleep and rest. The sleepless nights can take a toll, and constantly worrying only worsens the impact. Lastly, by worrying so much, you’re forgetting to cherish your baby’s first year of life. Consult with a pediatrician for anything health-related, and follow your gut to keep the worry at bay.
2. Panicking over anything and everything
The most common mistake every new parent makes is panicking over everything. Parents spend their first couple of years of parenting worrying about simple things. Baby’s food, sleep and cries, everything worries them. So, if you are one among those panics stricken parents then stop worrying about anything and everything. Worrying about unwanted stuff won’t do any good for you and your baby. Instead, be calm and take your baby regularly to the doctor and get your doubts and concerns cleared by the experts.
3. Proper Sleeping Positions
You might be wondering what we’re talking about with this point, and rightly so. After all, the tradition in India when it comes to infants is co-sleeping. The question of cots or cribs has only come into the picture recently. Whatever you choose, ensure one thing – that your baby sleeps on their back.
Almost all new parents may know about SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While largely unexplained, studies show the undoubted link between SIDS and sleeping wrong. Putting your baby to sleep in a cot or crib (and not next to you in bed) keeps them safe from any unpleasant and devastating accidents. This isn’t it – along with sleeping on their back, ensure that they sleep on a firm, flat mattress. Avoid piling toys into the crib with them, and avoid any sort of cushioning on either side.
4. Not letting your infant cry it out.
Don’t you worry when your baby cries non-stop? Come on! We know you well… Your baby is crying and you can’t figure out why he/she is crying. It is perfectly fine if your baby is crying for no reason. Crying is part of being a baby. You know your baby well. If you think something is wrong, check with your doctor immediately. If your baby is having fever, rash, vomiting or a swollen belly and crying inconsolably, call your doctor for help.
5. Stressing Over Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an intrinsically maternal thing to do with physical as well as emotional benefits. But a very normal truth that is treated as taboo is that it’s an experience that varies for every mother. While some want to but can’t, others choose not to, and some soon grow weary of it. All of these are perfectly normal situations, which is why you should avoid getting too worked up about it.
Bottle-feeding is a perfectly reasonable alternative to breastfeeding. You should consult with a lactation consultant if you have any concerns or issues with breastfeeding. Most importantly, not breastfeeding for whatever reason does not make you any less of a mother to your baby.
6. Ignoring fever
Often parents think it’s normal to have 100.4 temperatures and by home medication, their baby will get well soon. But, if a 3-month-old baby has 100.4 or above fever, it is an emergency. If your baby has a temperature, don’t take risks. It is better you consult a doctor. A baby’s immune system isn’t strong enough to fight many infections. Get your doctor’s assistance as soon as possible.
7. Waking up baby for breastfeeding
It is true that a mother’s milk is the best source of nutrition for the baby. And till six months, the baby must be fed only the mother’s milk. But, that doesn’t mean that you wake your sleeping newborn every two-three of an hour and feed him/her. A well-breastfed baby should sleep comfortably through the night.
8. Neglecting Oral Hygiene
Most new parents completely neglect oral hygiene for their infants. You’re probably under the assumption that there’s no need for it. After all, your infant only has gums to start with, and their baby teeth fall out at some point. However, this is one of those mistakes new parents make in the first year that can have lasting life-long effects.
For one, you need to wipe the baby’s gums gently with a soft washcloth after you finish feeding them. Additionally, once their teeth start to erupt, avoid giving them milk at bedtime. This is one of the leading causes of baby bottle tooth decay. This, in turn, can lead to severe infections in the mouth. Baby teeth also help your baby when they’re learning how to smile, chew and speak. Decayed teeth can lead to adult teeth that grow crookedly.
You must also start with brushing their teeth lightly without toothpaste once they turn 1. Finally, ask your dentist about fluoride supplements and how to ensure your kid’s teeth get all the fluoride they need.
9. Baby talks
It’s euphoric to hear your tiny one cooing and babbling. But, your little baby might start processing language quite earlier than you expect. So, make sure you don’t confuse your infant with baby talks. Engage him/her with infant-directed speech. Short and clear phrases and instruction with facial expressions that are easy to understand and grab his/her attention.
10. Trusting Unreliable Sources For Parenting Advice
A somewhat harsh truth about parenting is that it invites unsolicited, unnecessary advice from practically everyone. But this can quickly become dangerous if you’re taking advice from the wrong source. The biggest culprit has to be the internet, where any and every health-related search will pull up drastic causes that almost always warn about potential death. More so, the internet is a place where anyone and everyone can put up falsified information, whether or not they’re parents.
Your family and close friends whom you trust can be your sources of information. But, above them is a medical health professional who knows a baby’s body and health even more than you do.