Ah, parenting….it’s the toughest job you’ll ever have but also the most rewarding. But as a new parent you’re nervous about making mistakes; well, you’re going to make them, you’re human, after all. Yet there are some slip-ups that can be avoided. Last week we looked at the first five; today, we’re examining the last five errors that can be prevented.
Becoming Alarmed Over Every Little Thing
Of course, you’re going to worry—you’re a new parent. But a lot of parents are exaggerated with their reactions when their baby vomits, spits up, has diarrhea, etc. But you can’t sweat the little things. Babies are much smarter than we think they are and he can detect your uneasiness.
Don’t stress out with questions like: Is he spitting up more than he should? Is she not crying enough or too much? Are her bowel movements too little or too many? Is he eating enough or too much? You’ll drive yourself crazy with questions like this! Your baby’s tougher than you know. Just take things as they come, be in the moment and enjoy your new daughter or son.
Ignoring Oral Care
It may sound crazy, but you really need to start thinking about your baby’s teeth now. She’ll get her front baby teeth when she’s between six and twelve months old—and that first tooth will be an exciting occasion! Those 20 baby teeth are already there, they’re just underneath her gums waiting to come through—and they’re essential for smiling, eating and talking. By the time she reaches 3 years, she’ll have her complete set of baby teeth.
So it’s never too early to begin caring for her gums and teeth. Even at her young age, you’ll be instilling good oral care habits which will stay with her through her life. Here are a few terrific tips:
- Until her teeth start to come through, it’s good to wipe her gums with wet gauze after feeding. When she’s a year old, you can begin gently using a baby toothbrush on her teeth.
- Once her teeth have begun to appear, don’t let her have milk in her crib. Doing so will raise the chance of getting cavities which pediatricians call baby bottle decay.
- We all know sugar is a villain to a tooth. But if you don’t want to make your own baby food (that doesn’t contain sugar), then you’ll need to read baby food nutrition labels carefully and purchase only the ones that don’t have sugar in them. If she likes juice, then you’ll need to dilute her juices. Always provide food for her that’ll assist with her development and growth.
- Fluoride is also important for her prevention of cavities and is naturally in water. Some cities and towns have tap water that’s fluoridated; if your city/town doesn’t have this type of water ask your pediatrician if she needs supplements.
Comparing Your Infant with Other Babies
At some point, you’ll most likely come across developmental charts, but you shouldn’t pay much attention to them since these charts are just averages. You can drive yourself (and your spouse) nuts asking, “Should he be trying to sit up or crawl?”, “Shouldn’t he be smiling by now?” and so on. Likewise, don’t listen to other parents who try to make you feel bad because he isn’t doing what their baby’s doing. Every baby develops differently. So what if their daughter started crawling at 4 months? As long as your pediatrician is happy with the way your infant’s growing and developing, then he’s fine. Besides, if he does crawl or walk earlier than average that just means you’ll be running around earlier too!
Co-Sleeping is Dangerous
There’s no feeling better than having your newborn hugging your shoulder while you recline in a chair, snuggled next to you in a bed or sprawled on your chest as you lounge on the sofa. It makes a nice picture too! But co-sleeping is very dangerous, and you should refrain from doing it. Why? It’s way too risky; you could accidentally cover his mouth and nose which will cause suffocation or drop him. It’s fine to hold him while rocking but if you feel yourself getting sleepy, put him in his crib. His safety should come first.
Not Making Time for Yourself
Let’s face it, there’s a lot to deal with when a baby comes along: caring for her, worrying about money and being sleep deprived are just a few. No matter what you’re coping with, make time for you—it’s not a luxury, it’s something you need and you’ll be a better parent for it. Think of something you love to do: yoga, reading, chatting on the phone with a friend or just sitting on your porch enjoying a cup of tea, then go do it for a half hour. You’ll discover that half hour will make your life seem normal and by nurturing yourself, you won’t become a robot around your baby.
These ten magnificent tips should get you well on your way to being the best parent you can be. You’ll find your baby will grow way too fast so there’s one more tip we’d like to share with you: always savor the special moments of your child’s infancy. How? By videotaping small everyday things, keeping a diary or creating a photo album. As parents you can enjoy these keepsakes for many years—and when she/he gets old enough, they can too.