Parents aren’t perfect, and God knows me make our fair share of mistakes (whether we admit to them out loud or even to ourselves.) The majority of our mistakes are made when we bring home our first child and before we have another. Here’s a list of what I find to be the top 9 mistakes made by new parents:
A parents first instinct is to panic at the first sign of vomit, blood or funky poo. First time parents have a tendency to overreact (if you have called your mom at 3 a.m. to ask if lime green poo is normal you most likely overreacted.) At times you may feel guilty if you don’t panic, questioning if you’re a bad mother because you aren’t rushing your baby to the ER after they spit up after eating. We all worry about our children, but the key is not to let them see you worry. Babies sense your anxiety and this may have a negative impact on them, so breathe, relax and ask yourself if it’s really that big of a deal. Babies are resilient creatures (yes, I used that term on purpose!) and bounce back from more than we give them credit for. Of course, if there is an emergency (your child swallowed something bad, has a rash, temperature over 100 etc…) you should most definitely call your pediatrician and/or seek emergency medical attention, just remain calm (as you possibly can) while doing so.
Refusing to Let Your Baby Cry
At one point or another your child has cried, it’s a fact of life (if you’ve never had a screaming baby I want to know your secret!) Maternal instinct screams “Go pick up that baby, you’re awful, how can you let him/her cry like that?” While our mother/grandmother/friend screams “Let them cry it out, it will be okay.” First time parents seem to lean towards their inner instinct to pick up the baby and try to console them (because they feel guilty, or they just can’t stand the crying.) The worst time for crying seems to be nap time/bed time. Your baby can be fine all day long, and as soon as you lay them down they wail like you’ve cut off their toes. As long as your baby is dry, fed, and safe letting them cry themselves to sleep will prove most beneficial to you and anyone within a 10 block radius. If you run to your child every time they cry, they are building a belief that all they have to do is cry and they’ll get what they want (yes, they are that clever.) If your child does not stop crying after 30 minutes, make sure they are still dry, not hungry and there is no underlying cause for the crying. Other than that, let them cry it out while you get some much-needed/deserved you time.
Improper Installation of the Car seat(s )
I hate reading directions, and am one of those people who think just because it looks right it’ll work right too. There’s a lot of that mindset, and when it comes to safety seats, it is a huge mistake. No matter how many times you (or whoever is doing the installing) reads the manual, the risk that it isn’t right just isn’t worth it. Go to your local fire station, or find a retail chain that does car seat installation to ensure it is done properly. There’s no reason to forego your babies safety when it comes to travelling.
Googling for Advice
New parents don’t always have a strong support group to help with daily decisions, and end up turning to the internet for answers. It scares me to think just how many are taking the word of mommy434430 when it comes to their baby. So, instead of pouring oil/peroxide/other unimaginable liquids in your babies ear at the sign of an infection, call your pediatrician – please. There are a few sites that are trusted such as WebMD, but even these should not replace the advice of your doctor.
Not Taking Time for Yourself
As a new parent you may feel the need to watch your child 24 hours a day, sacrificing your sleep and in turn your sanity for that extra piece of mind. Many may feel like a bad parent if they ask a friend or relative to step in and watch the kiddo(s ) for a few hours while you take a nap or a bubble bath. You’re not! Think of it this way: a car can only putt putt so far on empty. A mom with no sleep isn’t much different. If you don’t take the time to rest, you’re going to be of little to no use to your baby sooner rather than later. So call up someone you trust (and has experience with babies) and they’ll most likely jump at the chance to drool over your new bundle of joy. If you don’t have anyone that you trust enough, use babies nap time as you time – go back up and remember to let them cry it out!
Ignoring Friends & Family
Becoming a parent for the first time is a big deal. It’s miraculous, joyous, and so very special to you and those around you – you remember those people around you, right? With a new baby it’s easy to lose sight of everything else in lieu of your new responsibilities, but you should try to regain your footing in the world outside of parenthood. I’m not saying neglect your child, or even spend more time with others than your baby. I’m simply saying share your newfound love of spit rags and diaper pails with your friends over dinner. If you hope to have a reliable sitter down the road (and believe me, you’ll want this) you need to stay in contact with friends. Not to mention, ignoring a significant other can put a damper on future baby making!
Closing the Shades on the Outside World
Similar to the above, forgetting there is more to the world than you and your baby could put a damper on things. If you have plans to go back to school or work you may want to keep up with what’s going on in the world (if for nothing else than conversation.) Read a paper while nursing your baby or relax on the couch with baby while catching up on your favorite show(s ). *Bonus* If your baby watches television with you it will help to introduce them to new colors, sounds, and expressions – SCORE!
Putting Your Baby in a Bubble
I know for a fact most first time parents go out of their way to make sure their baby isn’t exposed to any germs, bacteria, dirt or allergens for at least the first 3 months. Sometimes the products you use to clean with are the real problem causes. If you’re not living 100% green (and even sometimes when you are) overusing any cleaning product can cause health problems for your baby. Not only that, but by preventing exposure to everything, you are severely inhibiting your child’s immune system development. I’m not saying forego all cleaning, nor am I saying let your kid play in trash. All I’m saying is don’t go crazy if your dad sneezes in the direction of your baby, it just may save their life in the future!
Spending Way Too Much Money
How much did you spend on your first child, not counting diapers, food, formula, medicine etc.. I’m talking about clothes, shoes, accessories – things that got used maybe once and then they grew out of? How many baby showers have you been to where the clothes/diapers ended up not fitting the baby? I’ve been to a lot like this, and I chuckle every time a friend who’s having their first child spends hundreds of dollars on cute outfits only to find they don’t fit. A good rule of thumb is to not buy any clothes or diapers until the baby is actually here so you know what sizes to get initially. The second rule of thumb is to but a few sizes
up because no matter how much you plead with them, they wont stop growing.
What are some mistakes you made with your first child(ren)?