Common Mistakes to Avoid as a New Parent
One of the hardest and most loveable jobs you’ll ever have in life is being a parent. No matter how hard you strive for perfection, you’re bound to make plenty of mistakes along the way. Most mistakes are avoidable if you know what to look for. Check out some common mistakes that new parents often make so you can avoid them like a champ.
Not Changing Your Sleep Habits to Match Baby’s
Sleep is something that you’ll start to miss as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. Even if your baby was a good sleeper while at the hospital, their sleep habits can easily change when they get home.
You should expect for you baby’s sleep patterns to change as they become accustomed to their home environment. On average, new babies will spend most of their time sleeping. According to StanfordChildrens.org, newborns can sleep as long as eight to nine hours at a time. Some babies don’t and wake up every few hours. Each baby is different.
Instead of assuming that you will get baby adjusted to your sleep routine, you need to adapt to your baby’s. Whenever you put your child down for a nap, you should take one too. If you don’t, you’ll soon become sleep deprived and function like a zombie. It takes far more energy than you think to care for your baby. 350 hours is the amount of sleep new parents miss out on during the first year of parenthood, states Consumer.Healthday.org. Sleep deprivation can be dangerous for you and your baby, so make sure you take naps every chance you get.
Constantly Disturbing the Baby
Are you worried about SIDS? SIDS is a real danger for newborns. According to WebMD, there are some things you can do to prevent SIDS from claiming your child’s life. Some babies sleep so well that they look like they are not breathing or moving. As tempted as you are to poke and disturb them, don’t.
Once you wake a peacefully sleeping baby, it is usually hard to get them to go back to sleep right away. Instead, if you can’t trust your eyes or your ears to provide you with clues about your baby’s breathing, use a small pocket mirror. Hold it several inches above their nose and watch for condensation to appear on the mirror. You can even watch to see your child’s tummy and chest move up and down. That way you can get the reassurance you need without disturbing your child.
Going Overboard With Clothes and Toys
As tempting as it may be for you to buy your baby a bunch of cute clothes to wear and toys for them to play with, you should exercise some restraint. Babies grow fast. They spit up and ruin clothes even faster. You can expect to change your baby’s outfits several times of day because of accidents.
When it comes to toys, they may not show interest in them for several months, if at all. When they do become mobile enough to play with some of the toys you’ve bought, you may be surprised to find that they are often satisfied with the simplest items like boxes, balls, mobiles and your car keys.
A good strategy to use when purchasing clothes for your baby is to think ahead. Your baby is a newborn now, but they’ll easily double their size in the coming weeks. Instead of stocking up on a ton of newborn clothes, you should consider buying a size or two larger. The same goes for diapers. Once your child’s umbilical cord has fallen off, you should start stocking up on larger sizes so you’ll always be prepared.
Botching the Car Seat Installation
Car seats look like they are easy to use until the day you need to actually install one in your car. Don’t feel bad if you can’t understand the manual that came with your car seat. Although the instructions are pretty thorough, they are not always so easy to understand. Even parents who have multiple children struggle with proper car seat installation. According to a study in Forbes.com, only five percent of first-time parents get it right.
Positioning your baby properly in their car seat can also be quite challenging, especially if they’re on the small side. Before it’s time for you to bring your baby home from the hospital, swing by your local fire or police department so they can show you how to install the car seat the proper way. When it is time for you to bring baby home, make sure you ask the hospital staff to double check your baby’s positioning in the car seat.
It’s understandable, you want to do it all because this is your first-time being a parent. But trying to be super mom or super dad can easily lead to you becoming an overworked and less efficient parent. When a friend or family member offers to watch your baby or help with some household chores or errands that you haven’t been able to get to, say yes. Accept their help graciously because they are making it possible for you to take a little time for yourself and catch up on some much-needed sleep and personal time.
Listening to Everyone Else
Once people learn that you’re a first-time parent, you should expect to receive a lot of unsolicited advice. Some of it may be practical advice and some of it may not be. What you need to remember is that this is your baby. Your friends, family and pediatrician may mean well, but at the end of the day, the only opinion that matters about your child is yours. Sure, there may be times where you need some parenting advice, just remember to take everything you hear with a grain of salt.
Expect to make some mistakes as a new parent. Part of the fun and challenge of parenthood is for you to learn from them so you can become the best parent you can be. For more advice on common parenting mistakes and how to avoid them, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.