You’re a new a parent—congratulations! No doubt you’re overjoyed and nervous at the same time, wishing your new bundle of joy came with an instruction manual. You don’t want to make any mistakes with your baby, but there aren’t any parents that are perfect—just look at your Mom and Dad. You’re bound to make errors along the way, it can’t be helped. However, as a new parent, there are ten slip-ups that can be avoided with your infant and we discuss five of them here in this two-part blog to give you a helping hand.
Dealing with Your Newborn When She/he Cries
Babies are supposed to cry—it’s their way of telling us what they need. So don’t panic, you’re not doing anything wrong. Your baby could’ve just been fed, had a diaper change and still cry as if their world is coming to an end; sometimes they cry just because they want to. After all, you’ll find that your little one will have cranky days just as you do. So does that mean it’s wrong to let your infant cry in her crib for a few minutes? Certainly not. This is called controlled crying, and there are a lot of parents who think by letting their infant cry for a bit she’ll settle into a regular routine. Yet some infants like to cry themselves to sleep. It all depends on your baby—each newborn is different.
On the other hand, if you just can’t stand to hear her cry, it’s definitely okay to try consoling her by cuddling her. She might cry less.
What’s the mistake you ask? Not listening to your baby or paying attention to your instincts. If she can’t be comforted for an hour or longer and she’s vomiting, has a fever, swollen stomach, rash or other abnormalities, phone the pediatrician immediately. But always be aware of what your newborn is trying to say.
Being Confused with Vomit and Spit-Up
Yes, there’s a difference. It’s in the frequency, not the force. If he’s sick with the flu, vomiting will occur every 30-45 minutes whether or not he’s been fed. Spit-up can be a projectile but normally happens after a feeding.
Improperly Installing Your Baby’s Car Seat
Once you’ve purchased that “perfect” car seat you must make sure it’s installed correctly—your baby’s life is depending on it! But any new parent who attempts to put in a car seat may think they need a science degree to do so. But you don’t have to do it alone; there are organizations that are willing to help you install the car seat properly. Try calling your local police or fire department using their non-emergency phone number to see if they have someone there certified in installing car seats, or you could call your community’s hospital maternity ward to check if they have a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) that’s available in the daytime. At the very least the hospital should be able to connect you with their social worker that’ll find the person or organization that can help you.
While we’re on the subject of keeping your newborn safe, always make sure she’s strapped into her carriage properly and use the brakes when you’re stopped; accidents can happen, and you want her to be safe. Likewise, never use the carriage handles to hold your shopping bags—the carriage will become top-heavy causing the carriage to tip over and injure her.
Not Paying Attention to Your Spouse
It’s crucial that you don’t neglect your spouse—especially after your baby’s born. Yes, babies are a lot of work and responsibility but so is a marriage. You must make time for both of you to be a couple; go out for an evening dinner or a movie. If you don’t make time, any problems in your relationship will expand as your baby grows.
Listening to Other People or Bad Sources
As a new parent, you’re going to get lots of advice—specifically from your mother or mother-in-law. They mean well, of course, and are just trying to be helpful. But just because they give tons of advice doesn’t mean you have to follow all of it; there isn’t only one way to care for your infant. As long as you’re nurturing him, keeping him safe and loving him, you’re doing things right. You’re also going to be tempted to go online and do all kinds of research on how you should care for him, but there are many websites out there that are untrustworthy. You need to trust your intuition and your baby. If you have questions the best source to go to is your pediatrician.
This is just a start of the handy tips to help you thwart new parent mistakes. Join us next week as we explore the other five gaffes.