Bringing home a newborn is an incredible experience. But it’s also an experience that can be stressful and challenging. A precious newborn is helpless in the arms of loving parents. It relies on the adults around it to care for it completely.
The first time a parent holds their child they understand the gravity of this new role. It’s clear that the newborn baby expects them to care for it and protect it. Parents have the best of intentions when they dreamily look at their precious bundle. They want to do everything possible to keep this sweet angle alive, happy and healthy.
But there are common mistakes that many new moms make. Mistakes that can have deadly consequences for the baby. The oversight can happen in just moments and many times can’t be undone. Mothers who have made these mistakes live a lifetime of regret from the simple slip. They plead for other moms to avoid the dangerous mistakes they made with their own precious newborn.
Reading the entire list will only take a few minutes but it might save countless moms from making the same mistakes with their newborn. A few minutes to learn is nothing compared to a lifetime of regret.
15 Swaddling And The Risk Of SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) can happen for a variety of reasons and often the cause is unknown. In one case, though, swaddling incorrectly led to the baby’s death. A young mother was arrested after her baby suffocated in a tragic case of SIDS.
The mom swaddled her 4 month old son then laid him down for a nap. Tragically, she laid him down on his belly while he was swaddled.
When mom woke up, she found her baby unconscious. The combination of swaddling and placing the baby on his stomach lead to his suffocation.. When a baby is swaddled it should always be placed on its back since it will be unable to roll over with its arms in the blanket.
14 Accidental Starving
Knowing when or when not to supplement breastfeeding with a bottle can be a difficult decision to make. One that Jillian Johnson regrets deeply. Jillian tells the foundation Fed Is Best that if she had given her son just one bottle he would still be alive.
Her son suffered an accidental starving just weeks after being born. Her son didn’t get enough colostrum in the first days of life which lead to his death. Babies who nurse day and night but are never satisfied and cry nonstop may be at risk for starvation. Newborn babies shouldn’t cry non stop and this is a signal that something isn’t going right.
Some moms don’t produce enough colostrum in the first few days after giving birth. This can lead to blood sugar, hydration and even neurological problems for the baby.
13 How Safe Is The Changing Table?
A common way newborn babies are injured is from falling from a changing table. To avoid this risk, make sure the table is sturdy before you begin changing. A changing table should have a railing that is at least 2 inches high on the side to keep baby from rolling off. Changing tables should come with a small strap to secure the baby during the diaper change.
Make sure to use this strap to keep baby safe. Keeping all of the diapering supplies like cream, wipes and diapers close will help to keep the parent close during the entire changing. The baby shouldn’t be left alone on the changing table even for a single moment—even if the baby has yet to roll over.
12 Downplaying The Baby's Fever
It’s easy for parents of newborns to overreact to anything that happens with the baby. One or two anxiety filled trips to the doctor’s office to find out you were worried about nothing can change that quickly. But there are some situations that parents should be concerned about.
Any fever over 100.4 degrees in the first three months of a baby’s life is something to be concerned about. The baby’s immune system isn’t ready to handle a temperature that goes this high trying to fight off an infection. Don’t just assume it’s no big deal and give the baby a little Tylenol. Instead, contact your physician to get exact advice on what you should do in the situation. The temperature can vary depending on where you take it. A rectal temperature is the most accurate.
11 Dangerous Mistakes Are Made While Cleaning
Eventually bath time will be a soothing time for baby. It might take a while for baby to adjust to the new sensations but before long she will love it. Baths, though, can also be a dangerous time for babies. Babies should never be left alone in the water as it’s too easy for them to drown. Also, the temperature of the water can be dangerous. A baby’s skin is so much more sensitive than an adults and it can easily be scalded by bathwater that is too hot. One way to prevent scalding all together is to make sure that the water heater is set below 120 degrees F. This will ensure that the water never gets extremely hot in the tub.
10 Watering Down The Baby's Formula
According to a study done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, more than 25% of families in poverty reported watering down formula or reducing feedings. This is known as formula stretching. It can cause problems with the babies’ developing brains including behavior, memory and judgment problems.
Stretching feedings may seem like the only option for parents who are having a hard time affording formula. They want to feed and nourish their baby but they can’t afford to do so properly. It happens across the globe.
By reaching out to community organizations parents can often find more help. Local food pantries, pregnancy help centers, and churches are often more than willing to help parents in need. Some parents even put in requests on Facebook groups and other parents will help.
9 Never Put The Carrier In Front
Each year about 23,000 children are treated in emergency rooms because they fell from a shopping cart according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Newborns can be injured when they are placed in the front of the cart in a carrier. Most shopping carts have a printed warning about this but it still happens all the time.
Instead you could leave baby in the carrier but place the whole carrier inside the large basket area of the cart. You might also take baby in a wrap attached to your body. Another option is to ask for help with the baby so you can run out to get groceries. You might want to take advantage of the personal shopper programs many grocery stores are offering right now and skip the shopping all together.
8 Breastfeeding In Bed
Falling asleep with your newborn in bed with you can happen so easily to the sleep deprived parent. It can feel like relief to get a little sleep with your baby. But it can easily turn into a dangerous situation for the baby.
Kristin Hoffmann of Indianapolis knows this all too well. She told others on Facebook, “My precious son slipped off my breast and into the covers of my bed early Sunday morning and into heaven. The way we discovered him was a tragedy I don’t want to hear happens to anyone else.”
Newborns can easily slip into bedding or pillows and suffocate right next to their loving parent. While its best to keep newborns close it’s also important to give them a safe space to sleep in.
7 The Baby Sleeps With Blankets And Pillows
Over 3,000 babies die each year in the United States as a result of SIDS. It is recommended that babies are put to sleep on their backs in a crib without blankets, pillows, crib bumper or toys. These are the safe sleep guidelines set out by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When extra things are added to the crib, it makes the baby more likely to suffocate on them. Especially small babies who don’t move around easily. Often, as parents, we think that they will be comforted by a blanket, lovey or toy. When in reality those comfort items can be dangerous to the newborn.
It is much safer to keep the room at a warm enough temperature and dress the baby in a sleeper that is appropriate for the season.
6 Not Paying Attention To The Car Seat
Installing a car seat can be amazingly complicated. It’s so important to do it correctly so that your new baby is as safe as possible during a car accident. When installing the car seat, make sure to follow the instructions in the manual (yes actually read and follow each step!).
Then get your installation job double checked by someone who is trained to check car seats. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get your car seat inspected at Babies-R-Us, the fire department, police department, the hospital, or Help Me Grow. Talk to your midwife or doctor for advice on where to get it inspected while you’re still pregnant. If the baby’s already here, her pediatrician should know who will inspect it locally.
5 Do You Really Know The Caregiver?
When leaving your baby, even for a short period of time, it’s important to choose the right caregiver. Newborn babies can be difficult to handle for the inexperience caregiver.
When considering a caregiver, think about how much you know about this person. How will they react to different situations? What will they do if the baby won’t stop crying? Any adult caring for a child who can’t be comforted can get upset themselves. It creates a high stress situation. It’s important to be able to trust that your chosen caregiver will be able to navigate the situation safely.
Shaken baby syndrome is a serious problem that can be prevented. It can cause long term consequences like vision problems, developmental delays, physical disabilities, hearing loss and even death.
4 Breathing Problems Are Only The Beginning
Secondhand smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals and creates toxic environments for babies. Secondhand smoke causes so many problems for babies including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections and ear infections. But most importantly, it causes many cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Smoking during pregnancy is related to more than 1,000 deaths each year according to the CDC. Plus smoking during pregnancy puts the baby at a higher risk for SIDS once its born.
The connection between second hand smoke and SIDS isn’t exactly crystal clear but researchers do know that it puts baby at a higher risk for SIDS. Chemicals in the smoke seem to change how the brain regulates breathing in the infant. Babies who die of SIDS have higher concentrations of nicotine in their lungs than infants who die of other causes.
3 Co-Sleeping On The Sauce
Co-sleeping can be dangerous for baby because she could suffocate in bedding or pillows, fall off the bed or get wedged between the bed and the wall. But co-sleeping becomes much more dangerous if one of the parents have been using drugs or alcohol. Being under the influence makes it more difficult to wake up if baby is in trouble. Some of the signals may go unnoticed because the parents are too intoxicated to wake up.
Emma Hector was devastated by this. She had almost a bottle of wine before nursing her daughter. She then fell asleep and only awoke to her husband’s screams. Emma’s breast was covering the baby’s face and the baby had blood in its mouth. By the time the dad discovered her it was too late for the baby.
2 Assuming It's Only For 5 Minutes
Sleep deprived parents of newborns are in a prime position to make a mistake. One mistake that can have deadly consequences is leaving the baby in the car. Children have died while in the car in temperatures just above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult, making them especially susceptible to heat stroke. Heat stroke can lead to brain damage and even death. The temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
As parents, we might think that we’d never leave our child in the car. It’s not always intentional, though, when it happens. Each time you get out of the car, double check the back seat.
1 Ignoring The Doctor's Orders
New moms have more info at their fingertips than any other generation. With this, they often feel more confident in forming their own opinions—even if those opinions go against their healthcare providers.
With so much information available it’s easy to research any topic. The mistake many new moms make, though, is to allow internet research to supersede a doctor’s many years of experience in the matter. Sure, between doctors there are many differing opinions. Find a doctor you trust and see eye to eye with Then let their knowledge, expertise and experience guide the family through difficult decisions.
Sometimes we don’t exactly understand the seriousness of the issue a doctor is pressing and just brush it off. This can be a major mistake for new moms.
Sources: WebMd, American Academy of Pediatrics, Marie Claire, People, Fed Is Best, CDC