The most exciting day in a woman’s life is the day the baby is born. Of all the memories made during the pregnancy and childbirth, the minute that baby comes into the world, every woman forgets the hardships she went through at the sight of the delicate little being she just brought to the world.
That first piercing cry that a baby makes brings tears in a woman’s eyes every time and when the doctor does finger and toe count and places the baby in her arms, her world is complete, nothing makes a woman happier and more fulfilled than seeing a newborn in her arms. Babies come in tiny delicate packages with super soft skin and a vulnerable look that instantly turns a woman into a lioness.
Before a woman leaves the hospital she is taught how to latch the baby if she plans to breastfeed and the correct milk formulation for those babies who will be formula fed. Even with all the information on baby care from the hospital, we are never quite prepared for the new person who is totally dependent on us. We may have the best intention towards this tiny life but sometimes, we may make the following 15 mistakes the first day home with the baby.
15 Forgetting To Burp The Baby
A new parent is an exhausted parent. Those feeds throughout the night can truly drain a new mother. Even though we are told that babies sleep a lot, they do not do so throughout the night and for those babies who like to sleep, parents are advised to wake the baby up to feed after two to three hours. For most of us, night feedings are the worst and it is during this time that some of us get lazy about burping, especially if we try to burp and it takes too long for the baby to burp.
According to Baby Center, burping frees up some room in the child's belly so that he can settle in well and feed for a longer time. Burping done in between smaller, as well as frequent meals, is beneficial to a child who spits up or one who has symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Burping releases gas as well as air trapped in the child's stomach and has been found to be beneficial to babies who suffer from colic. Releasing trapped gas also helps the child to rest better and sleep better and reduce the crying episodes. Ensuring a child is burped well is quite beneficial in the long run.
14 Not Sticking To A Feeding Schedule
We are told that the baby has a small stomach and all he needs is just a little breastmilk or formula and he is full. The biggest shock a new mother will get is when she finds out just how often a newborn feeds. According to WebMD, breast milk is easier to digest than formula, which makes most babies feed as many as twelve times in a day. This can be translated to a feeding every two hours, around the clock, especially in the first weeks.
Babies display signs of hunger by crying and even though one may not be able to tell whether a baby is hungry or not, waiting for the baby to be this distraught is wrong. Carol Huotari, IBCLC, director of the Breast Feeding Information Center at La Leche League International in Schaumburg, Illinois, tells WebMD that, "Babies have really small tummies, so you should assume they are going to be hungry within two hours or less. If possible, don't wait until your baby is crying to begin feeding." Crying has been established as a late indicator of hunger. Establish a schedule and feed after every one and a half hours at the beginning.
Early signs of hunger come in the form of a nuzzle to the breast, opening the mouth as though to take the breast, as well as making sucking motions or nuzzling at a clenched fist.
13 Ignoring Signs Of Infection
The most distressing, yet hard to handle thing, is knowing how to take care of the umbilical stump. When a baby is born, the connection between him and the mother is severed and when that is done, the stump is left and tied at the end. Since the stump is usually wet and unsightly, proper care is required in order to ensure that it does not get infected.
The way to do this is to ensure that the diaper does not go on or above it and that the baby wears loose clothing.
The baby's stump can get infected and when this happens, the signs will include weeping ooze, swelling, foul odor, bleeding, and redness. To prevent this infection keep the cord dry and clean as much as possible, try to keep the baby clean using sponge baths and not the tub. When the weather is hot, leave the baby in a diaper and also a loose t-shirt to promote aeration. Do this until the stump falls off. The stump should fall off between seven and 14 days. Keeping it dry will greatly speed up the chances of it falling off without an infection and if it does get infected, see the medical practitioner immediately.
12 Giving The Baby Kisses
Babies are adorable and there are none more adorable than the newborn. The super smooth silky skin elicits in us the desire to nuzzle our noses in their faces, as well as rain kisses all over their body. When one is tempted to do this, temper the temptation and do not do it. Kissing babies is what we all love to do and people do not think twice before they kiss children, even those that do not even belong to us. Unfortunately, kissing babies is very dangerous and newborns are prone to so many infections that kissing can easily transmit. Babies have little immunity and most of what they have is inherited from their mother.
If someone has a cold or a cold sore, kissing the baby will transfer the cold to the baby. Herpes can also be transmitted to the baby through kissing. If a baby contracts herpes, this can lead to very serious complications which range from eye infections, lung diseases, as well as meningitis. Grownups should be stopped from kissing newborns as doing this may be the reason babies contract diseases that could have easily been prevented. For those kisses, it is best to wait until the baby grows up a bit.
11 Not Changing The Baby's Diaper Fast Enough
Babies use diapers and the world has changed for the better this days. Diapers of the days of old are gone and now disposable diapers have taken the place of the cotton diapers of yesteryears. Gone are the days when one needed to buy cloth diapers that required washing and frequent changing to prevent odor, as well as keep the baby dry. Every woman who has a child knows that she needs to change the baby’s diaper at certain intervals and that she needs to keep checking to see if the diaper is wet.
Some diapers come with a wetness indicator and one can tell if it is wet without undressing the child. Unfortunately, most mothers forget to change the diaper probably owing to the fact that half the time they are so tired and when the baby does decide to rest, that is when she has to catch up with housework or even take a shower. Newborns use a lot of diapers and it is not surprising to see a baby use twenty diapers in a day. Even though diapers are truly costly, it is important that a woman keeps changing the baby's diaper as often as possible to prevent diaper rash, a situation that can be devastating to the baby, as well as the mother
10 Swaddling Too Tightly
According to The Bump, swaddling is wrapping a baby tightly, using a blanket so that she feels secure and cozy just like she felt in the mother's womb. Melissa Gerstein, RN, a maternity nurse based in Boston who is also the inventor of the Tranquilo Mat, says, “Swaddling creates the snug, familiar, soothing feeling a baby experienced in the womb before being born. Because in the last few months before birth, the baby didn’t have much space in the womb and could only make small movements, as he tries to reposition his hands and feet.”
She goes on to say, “Being swaddled is like receiving a big hug”.
Swaddling a baby is a good thing as the baby remains warm and can even sleep longer. Unfortunately, swaddling a baby too tightly can lead to some negative effects like overheating and can even prevent the baby from moving his legs. If the temperature is too hot outside, do not overdress the baby as it may lead to overheating, dress the baby in breathable materials and also ensure that you do not cover the child in blankets that are too heavy. Clothes or blankets that are too heavy and that are too hot could lead to a fussy child and overheating.
9 Underdressing Or Overdressing The Baby
When we leave the hospital, we are given ambiguous instructions concerning the warmth or lack thereof of the baby. Some of us come from very cold places and so we are advised to keep the baby warm and to ensure that he does not get cold, as cold may lead to some pretty nasty diseases like pneumonia or flu. But how warm is warm and how cold is cold? When we get home with this delicate creature the first thing we do is dress him in onesies and rompers and cover him with a baby blanket.
Waking up the following morning we find the baby is full of rashes and we rush to the hospital and are told that this is not a disease, it is heat rash. This is where we are advised not to overdress the baby and when we do not overdress him as advised the baby catches a cold. It is a rollercoaster of dos and don'ts that do not make sense and they are likely to drive any woman crazy. The rule of thumb here is to dress the baby in one layer more than what you are wearing. If you are cold then the baby is too, and he requires one more layer than you do. Ensure that his clothes are made of breathable material preferably cotton, to prevent flare-ups of rashes.
8 Inviting Too Many People Over
Everyone's darling is the new baby. We all want to see the new member of the family and we want to be the first to welcome the child. With all this excitement and the many hands clamoring to see the new kid on the block, the situation can be quite overwhelming. A new baby can make even enemies friends and even those who can't stand you want to come and catch a glimpse of the tot. While most of us are well-meaning, some people are just gossip mongers and we want to see whether the baby resembles the neighbor or the handyman.
Whatever our reasons for visiting, too many visitors are a potential health hazard for the newborn. Visitors expose our children to germs from every corner. The hardest part is telling people to wash their hands before they handle the baby or even not to kiss your child. For a woman to be labeled a snob, all she needs to do is put conditions on how to handle her baby. To prevent this issue, it is advisable to just politely decline requests for visitors for the next two weeks or so until the baby gets enough immunity, as exposure to diseases can be quite fatal for the child.
7 Shaking The Baby
A new mother is a tired mother. She has to cater for every need of this baby who cannot do anything for herself. The baby requires feeding, soothing and cuddling. This coupled with the leaky boobs and fatigue, plus lack of sleep can make even a saint snap. Frustration can bear fruit to a lot of evil and in some instances, a mother may make a mistake without intending to.
According to Health Line points out that Shaken Baby Syndrome happens when the baby is violently shaken.
When a child has been crying non-stop and the parents are exhausted, frustration can make the parents shake the baby to shut her up. This would be very wrong and can result in brain damage that will be lifelong or can even be fatal for the child. Due to the weakness of the baby’s neck muscles, babies are not able to support their own heads and can’t keep it from snapping back and forth and causing irreparable damage.
When he is shaken with force, his head will move uncontrollably and this violent movement will keep throwing the babies brain against the inner lining of the skull and it may cause bruising, bleeding and swelling. If a child is diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome, child services are likely to come for him and you may wind up in jail for abusing the child. If you feel you are reaching the breaking point, let the child cry in a safe location and leave the room to take a break.
6 Going Outside
After the child has been born, new moms find that the only conversation they have is with the baby and after a while, that is all they ever get to do. New mothers find they need to go out and see their friends. Isolating themselves in the house is not an appealing idea. Most of them want to step out into the store or run some personal errands. After delivery, it is important for the mother to give herself some time to heal and get her strength back. A new mother is dealing with an episiotomy or CS scars and the best thing to do is to wait for both to heal.
Taking the baby out at this time exposes him to germs in a world where pollution is rampant. For those urgent errands, it is advisable to send someone else. A walk for you is advisable and this should be done without the baby to prevent exposure to the elements, as well as germs. There are other people who want to bond with the child and this could be a good time to let them do so as you get some fresh air or run those very urgent errands that no one else can do for you.
5 Allowing Bath Time
Don’t put the baby in a tub of water too soon. Waiting for the stump to fall off will only take at most, two weeks, and this will help as the stump will not get wet and it will heal better and faster without getting any infections. Full body baths are completely unnecessary for newborns and the good news is, if you do not wet him too often, he is not likely to get infections. Babies are not that dirty. Unless the baby has soiled himself, which is rare, babies don't need to be washed often.
Unfortunately, some new mothers obsess over their children's cleanliness and the smallest speck has them worried that their hygiene is wanting. These are the women who insist on giving the child a full birth every day. Babies should not be given a full birth at least until they are in their second week. Babies will not get dirty even if they stay for that long without a bath. This is because they are not doing anything physical that necessitates daily baths. The only job babies do is nurse and cry and the smell of breastmilk can be eliminated without necessitating a bath. Sponge baths work very well for newborns and is really all they need. Just make sure you have everything you need and bathe him in a warm place so they don’t get chilled. Also, after wiping a spot, cover it with a part of the towel to help with warmth.
4 Being A Little Too Possessive
After months of pregnancy and finally the pain that is childbirth, a mother gets to hold her child in her arms. The bond that is created at this instant is perfect and out of this world. It awakens that maternal instinct that makes us so defensive that we know that we could kill anyone who dares touch our baby in a heartbeat. Some new mothers find that even though they are truly exhausted, they do not want to part with the baby and they will do everything humanly possible to stay near him and hold him and be around him.
This feeling makes a woman so possessive that even seeing anyone else bond with the child becomes an issue.
New moms need to know that even the father needs to have time to bond with the baby and it is for this reason that she should allow other members of the family to help and bond with him. This is the time she can take to rediscover herself or even take a shower. Even though it may be difficult and chances are she will not be able to do it all at once, a new mom should try to let the other members of the family bond with the baby.
3 Trying To Stay Awake
We all know the new mother is exhausted and we all know that until that baby gets to around one year, the new mother will be sleep deprived. Nothing quite prepares us for this one and the stories of ‘my baby sleeps through the night’ don’t help. New mothers should know that sleep is vital and to prevent some accidents, it is important that they learn to sleep when the baby sleeps. A new mom should ensure that she gets herself, someone, to help with house chores so that she can rest when the baby is sleeping.
Babies sleep during the day when the mother is trying to catch up on some household chores and for the mother, this is not convenient. She may want to lie down for a nap but someone needs to clean the baby clothes, as well as the house and this is all in her lap. This is why new mothers need to ask for help because missing that nap during the day may mean exhaustion, especially if the baby does not sleep during the night. Asking for help may be a difficult thing to do, but once done, the new mother will be able to cope better.
2 Not Asking For Help
Asking for help is not something many of us do well. Some people think it is pride, but the truth is some of us do not want to seem vulnerable and risk being denied. The first week of a baby's life is difficult for the mother, as well as the family members. There are people who love babies, but then there are those who like babies as long as they can give them back to their parents. In difficult households where the mother keeps being told to keep the baby quiet, she may be afraid to ask for help because she does not want her baby to be judged.
This is where the mother starts to get feelings of inadequacy and she may even develop post-traumatic stress. A newborn is hard work and even though families are different and relationships complicated, a woman should try to find someone to offer her some assistance. Doing this will help her cope with the change that a baby brings and it may save her from feelings of resentment that may stem from fatigue. Asking for help does not in anyway take away our power. Instead, it helps us to regain a little sanity, at least until the baby is a little older.
1 Leaving Your Baby To Cry It Out
Sleep training is said to be beneficial to children if introduced early. This is where they insist that the baby should be left to cry it out at least for a few minutes before he is picked up. This method has been discussed exhaustively and while many people swear by it, it is very hard for a mother to listen to her baby crying without picking him up.
Most sleep experts say that a child should be able to sleep on his own without needing a prop to help him fall off to sleep.
In this case, a prop is either breastfeeding or a toy. Those who propagate this school of thought argue that rocking a child to sleep during the day leads to him needing the rocking at night. It may be true or not but letting a small baby wear himself out with tears is not only cruel but unnecessary. Newborns need reassurance. It is a scary world they are now in and rocking the child will not hurt. "There are good times to sleep-train and periods when it may be less likely to work," says developmental psychologist Isabela Granic, PhD, who is also the co-author of Bed Timing: The 'When-To' Guide to Helping Your Child to Sleep. “This is because infants and toddlers go through mental growth spurts that make them especially clingy, fussy, and prone to night wakings. They're learning new cognitive skills and often don't sleep as well."