Becoming a parent doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Parenting isn’t easy, and the first year can be the toughest as you struggle to find your footing in your new role as mom or dad. Don’t worry, all parents stumble their way through at first, learning as they go and racking up an impressive number of mistakes along the way. Here are some common mistakes that new parents make their first year and how you can avoid them.
- Not Letting Your Infant Cry It Out
When babies cry, It’s a normal reaction from parents to want to make them stop. We always thought something is wrong with them and as parents, it’s our duty to fix it. But really, crying is part of being a baby.
Nothing may be wrong with your baby. She may be perfectly fine: well fed, clean diapers, rested… but yet, they will still cry. Often it’s ok to let your baby cry it out. Nevertheless, if the cry persists for more than 1 hour, or the cry associated with rash, fever, or vomiting, please call the attention of your pediatrician.
- Panicking Over Anything and Everything
Lots of new parents panic at normal things their babies do, such as vomiting, crying, or even bowel movements. They wonder if their baby is eating enough or too little, having too many or too few bowel movements, spitting up too often, crying too much. Remember, babies are more resilient than we often realize. Talk to your pediatrician for the things that you really should be concerned about and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Waking Baby Up to Breastfeed
You really don’t need to do that. Don’t wake her up to breastfeed. If the baby is sleeping through the night, it’s best for the baby. Therefore, Mum should sleep as well. The little baby can breastfeed in the morning.
- Fighting in Front of Your Baby
Be careful about fighting in front of your infants. Even babies who are just a few months old can sense the negative vibes of parents arguing.
Snapping at each other after a stressful day is common, but if things start to get intense or conflicts become more frequent, be conscious of expressing your anger in front of the baby.
- Not sleeping when baby sleeps
Most new moms have heard the advice that they should sleep whenever their baby sleeps, but all too often it seems to fall on deaf ears. For first-time parents, sleep can be scarce—especially in the first few months—but instead of napping when their baby naps, they end up folding laundry instead. This is a big mistake! Sleep when you can.
- Being overly overprotective
New parents tend to sense danger at every turn and worry about every little thing. They mean well, but all that over protectiveness actually does more harm than good. Children learn by watching their parents, so if yours observes an overly worried mom or dad, they may grow up being too afraid to ever take risks. Making mistakes and taking a few tumbles is how children learn to handle all the challenges life is going to throw at them, so keeping them in a safety bubble can hold them back from learning some major life lessons. Keep an eye out for real dangers, of course, but don’t stop them from playing with other kids for fear of a skinned knee.
- Not leaving the house
First-time parents have a habit of keeping the baby and themselves locked inside the house for the first several months of life for fear that the baby will catch something. While it’s true that a newborn’s immune system is weak and more susceptible to germs, that only means that it is best to avoid crowds—not the outdoors in general. Fresh air and a little sunshine are good for the entire family and the baby is unlikely to catch the flu from a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Instead of holing yourselves inside for weeks on end, try to spend some time outside on a regular basis.
- Comparing your baby to other babies
Many parents stress themselves out by comparing their baby’s development to the development of other babies. Try to avoid this, as it will only cause undue worry, and is unfair to your little one. Every child is different and develops at a different pace. While one baby may begin walking at nine months old, another may not start until their one-year birthday. Don’t worry about how fast or slow your baby is developing. As long as your doctor has no concerns about health or growth, things are likely just fine.
- Neglecting your marriage
For first-time parents, a new baby is their sun, moon and stars. Yes, the new addition needs your focus and energy—but not all of it! A marriage requires nurturing too. So put in the effort, even if it’s reserving some time for a quiet candlelit dinner once the baby has gone to sleep. Growing up in a warm and loving environment is important to your baby’s well being, so make sure your other half is a priority too.
- Not accepting help when it is offered
New parents often don’t trust anyone to take care of their baby, so offers of help are waved away. This is a mistake. Being a parent—especially a new parent—can be exhausting and overwhelming. Every mom and dad needs a break every now and then. Don’t deny yourself some downtime, or you’ll risk becoming burnt out. You don’t have to be a superhero. Let loved ones help out and take some time to care for yourself. You will be a better parent because of it.