There's a lot of free advice out there for moms on how to take care of newborn babies, especially on the Internet. In addition, friends and family are also always eager to point out what a new mom should and should not do with her baby, which can be helpful and annoying at times. Of course, there's what doctors recommend from a medical perspective, advice that moms should take more seriously than all the other sources. Therefore, since all this information can be a lot, a new mom needs to learn how to take all that advice in, process it, and take only what is necessary.
There's no denying that newborn babies can also be very unpredictable since each one will need time to adjust to the outside world in his or her own pace. If a mom overloads her child with routines, activities, and expectations, she has read about or heard from other people, she will end up irritating her child and making him or her fussy.
Therefore, moms should treat their babies like the individuals they are, especially during the first few weeks so that they can establish their own cues and routines. Chances are that babies will cry or fuss when they need their mothers' attention. Therefore, if a mom has met all her baby’s basic needs, she should let her baby rest.
Below is a list of 15 things a mother needs not stress about because the baby can do without them and continue to grow up happy and healthy. However, we also have five things we believe a mom should do that can make her life and that of her baby even better.
Let's start with the 15 things moms don't need to be doing...
20 Join Mommy Groups
When some moms get their first baby, they feel like it is mandatory for them to join mommy groups, but they really do not have to. A mommy group is a platform where moms can vent and share with other moms experiences about motherhood. Moms can do this in one of the mom’s homes or online in a chat group.
Moms join these groups so that they can share struggles and concerns about their babies. However, they do not have to be part of these groups because other moms have different parenting styles and this only makes them start comparing themselves with other moms. Having a good support system around them and in the comfort of their homes is enough to get moms going. They can always vent and share with their loved ones.
19 Give Babies Too Many Baths
It is tempting for moms to keep giving their babies baths especially after leaving the hospital to remove remains of the vernix, which is the protective layer that covers a baby’s skin while in the womb. Moms should not bath their babies all the time because their skin is very sensitive after birth and they might end up irritating it. They are also supposed to keep the umbilical cord stump dry and clean until it falls off to avoid slow healing and risking an infection.
Moms can opt to sponge bath the baby instead of submerging them in water. Even after the stamp falls, babies do not need more than one shower in a day. Some moms even alternate baths with sponge baths especially if it's cold outside. As long as mom is cleaning the baby’s bottom properly there is no need for taking plenty of baths.
18 Re-Warm Leftover Milk
Taking care of an infant can be tiresome for moms. Re-warming breast milk left over from a previous feeding can seem easier than defrosting a new bag. Moms should not really do this. Milk that has touched a baby’s mouth is prone to bacteria and experts advise moms to discard any leftover breast milk after a feeding.
Therefore, moms can give leftover breast milk to a baby within two hours from when they started drinking it. Some babies prefer cold milk anyway, so mom does not need to re-warm the milk. As long as the bottle was covered and handled with clean hands while the baby was on break, the baby can keep drinking his or her milk for about two hours.
17 Overpack For Their Babies
First-time moms always carry many unnecessary things when they leave the house. They find themselves packing more diapers than necessary, several extra changes of clothes, toys to keep the baby occupied and a variety of foods and snacks. Moms really don’t have to over pack baby stuff. New moms may feel like they need to pack their entire house before they can leave for an outing.
A good rule for packing diapers is to have enough to cover a day even if the baby will be out for only a few hours. Moms should also pack simple outfits; carry only the necessary toys and just the right amount of snacks.
16 Pick Them Up Whenever They Cry
Babies need and require a lot of care and attention. Sometimes they cry even after mom has attended to all their needs. Moms really do not have to pick their babies up every time they start to cry. At times, they should let their babies cry so that they can self soothe. Crying is healthy and opens up a baby’s lungs especially after birth.
If the crying persists for long, moms need to check on the baby and ensure that they take care of whatever is causing them to be uncomfortable. Babies also cry a lot when they are tired and sleepy. In this case, moms can sing to them and soothe them until they stop crying. If this does not work, then they can pick them and soothe them, then place them back in their crib to let them wander into dreamland.
15 Buy A Baby Crib
Many moms have chosen to ignore warnings against the sharing of beds with their babies. This is because they have either done it before with another baby or they know someone who has slept with their baby and none of them has caused any harm to the child. Babies do not really have to sleep in their own bed. Co-sleeping has been a debated parenting practice, some support it and others say it is dangerous.
Sharing a bed with your baby enhances the bonding experience between mother and child. The mom can also attend to her baby’s needs from the comfort of her bed. However, co-sleeping can be risky in some situations, so what moms can do for the safety of their child is to put their babies to sleep in the same room but on a separate, well-fitted baby bassinet.
14 Attend To All Hunger Cues
Moms can ignore their babies hunger cues especially just after feeding them. Moms know the amount of time a baby spends feeding having considered the baby’s efficiency to suckle and her milk flow.
If the baby is still sucking on its fist, smacking its lips or rooting after a feed, it could mean that they still want to hold on to mom and cuddle instead of feeding. Moms can be tempted to continue feeding the baby, but this only result in overfeeding. Mom should instead hold the baby in a different position to assess whether they are hungry or they just need mom to hold them. If the baby settles in the new position, then it means that they want to be close to mum. If he or she is, still showing hunger cues then mom can continue to feed them.
13 Buy Many Newborn Clothes
Moms, especially first-time moms tend to go a bit overboard while shopping for their new bundle of joy. They can spend a lot of money buying the same type and size of clothing but in different colors or stocking up on different adorable newborn gear. They really do not have to do this.
It is very easy to sway moms into buying many of those expensive brand new baby clothes. Babies usually outgrow clothes fast and leave mom with a bunch of clothes that her baby can no longer wear. She then ends up spending more money to get bigger sizes. What moms should do is buy a variety of sizes to accommodate growth spurts.
12 Change Diapers After Every Short Call
It can be challenging to tell how often new mothers need to change their babies’ diapers. On average, a baby requires at least 6 to 8 diaper changes for short calls and about 3 to 4 changes due to bowel movements in a day. Sometimes moms forget to change their babies’ diapers or can intentionally leave a baby with a wet diaper because they have not had a bowel movement.
Moms should not insist on waiting for their babies to go for a number two in order to change them nor should they leave their baby for too long with the wet diaper. Babies get fussy and can develop nappy rashes. Instead, moms should invest in those diapers that have wetness indicators and can show when a diaper is full.
11 Decorate The Baby’s Crib
After giving birth, moms are usually excited to prepare the nursery where the baby will be spending most of his or her time. Some will invest in stuffed animals and coat bumpers to put in the crib. They will also spend money on unnecessary beddings. They really do not have to do this.
While a well-decorated crib is good to look at, it can pose a health risk to the baby. Using soft bedding and crib bumpers increases the risk of SIDS and should be avoided. A baby’s crib should have a firm and safety approved mattress, fitted sheets, and no pillows or stuffed animals around.
10 Hold The Baby All The Time
Some moms do not like putting their babies down even after they fall asleep; they want to hold them all the time. Moms really do not have to do that. A baby considers her mother’s arms the safest place to be in and when mom holds them, they enjoy the comfort of hearing their mother’s voice and heartbeat together with sharing body heat.
Holding the baby to feed them or picking them up when they are fussy is okay; however, doing it all the time is not a great idea. The baby will cry from separation anxiety the day the mother decides to leave him or her to go run errands. The baby also needs tummy time on a firm flat surface so that they can begin to develop their motor skills.
9 Stay Indoors
Moms are aware that they should not bring their babies around unnecessary. However, some moms become overly cautious and opt to stay indoors with their babies for the first few months after birth. Moms really do not have to do this; germs are everywhere, even inside a house.
Some say that exposing babies to a few germs is good as it improves their immune system. Therefore, moms should take them out so that they can experience a change in environment despite them being too small to run and play outside. They also should not forget that babies, just like adults, need a bit of fresh air and sun.
8 Let Babies Sleep Only On Their Backs
Some babies are usually fussy and uncomfortable when left to sleep on their backs. Moms can put these babies in other sleeping positions. A number of babies also have startle reflux and cannot sleep for long when put on their backs, these babies will keep waking themselves up. In such cases, mothers can either swaddle them or put them on their tummy.
Although putting them on their backs protects them from SIDS, a baby left to sleep on her stomach rarely moves a lot. However, moms should keep checking on the baby to make sure that they do not hurt themselves while trying to turn their heads in an attempt to change positions. Some mothers prefer the side position especially if their baby spits a lot. This position prevents unnecessary risks.
7 Use A Bumbo Seat
Babies who are too young to sit on their own can support themselves on a bumbo seat. These seats come in a variety of sizes and shapes but moms can only use them once the baby is able to support his or her own head. While the seats are a creative invention, moms really do not have to sit their babies on them.
Placing them on supervised tummy time will help them learn how to sit down on their own. When a baby is able to support his or her own head, it only takes them a few more weeks, for them to be able to sit down. Experts also believe that the bumbo seat hinders the natural progression of development.
6 Cover The Baby’s Head When Swaddling
Some moms take a lot of precaution when it comes to keeping their babies warm. Swaddling is the process of wrapping a baby tightly in a shawl or swaddle cloth. This reminds babies of the position they were in while in the womb. Therefore, babies feel calm and safe when moms swaddle them. Studies also show that swaddled babies wake up less frequently.
As much as swaddling is advantageous, moms really do not have to swaddle their babies up to their heads. This puts them at the risk of SIDS. Babies can struggle to breathe especially if the swaddle cloth comes off and moves to their face.
And next are the 5 things moms really need to be doing...
5 Exclusively Give Milk For The First Six Months
When moms give birth, they can decide whether to breastfeed their babies or to give their babies formula. Most moms would want to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months, but not all of them can. Some moms are unable to produce milk after birth due to various reasons, and when this happens, the babies have to survive on baby formula.
Feeding a newborn with breast milk or formula exclusively for six months is very important. After birth, a baby’s immune system is still immature so moms need to stick to the best possible diets for their babies, to help them fight infections.
4 Make Use Of A Car Seat
Moms should always put their babies in a car seat when traveling in a car. Car seats keep babies safe and comfortable when traveling. Aside from the safety of the little one being the first priority, holding a baby for a long time can also exhaust both the baby and her mom. Therefore, moms should not carry babies in their arms while traveling.
In the event of an accident, a baby seated in a car seat will be prone to fewer risks compared to the one mom was holding. Therefore, moms should invest in a good car seat. There are those specifically designed for newborns and others for much bigger babies. Moms should also ensure that she mounts the car seat properly once she chooses one.
3 Let Babies Sleep
Some mothers may be overly excited about meeting and holding their baby that they do not want to put them down or leave them alone. Newborn babies need plenty of rest so moms should let them sleep. During the first 12 months, babies develop fast and they do this mostly when they are asleep.
A baby that is encouraged to stay awake when her body is craving sleep will end up being cranky and then start crying. Moms should be able to read their babies’ sleeping cues so that they can put them down when they are tired. Letting babies sleep also give their moms the opportunity to attend to other things, including resting.
2 Take Babies To Clinic Appointments
Some moms do not take their newborns for their appointments and check-ups, which is wrong. They really should make these appointments as much as they are quite a number. These appointments are usually for the doctor to check on the baby’s progress, administer vaccinations, and answer any concerns the mothers might have.
Moms who have a hard time remembering dates should set reminders or note appointments down on a calendar they use often to avoid forgetting. Since the doctor will want to examine the little one, moms are encouraged to dress babies in clothing that is easy to take off.
1 Hold And Cuddle The Baby
Babies feel safe, warm and relaxed when cuddled. Some moms will put their babies back into their crib once they finish attending to them. They may not have time to cuddle with their babies because they have to attend to other duties and house chores. However, cuddling is vital for these little munchkins and moms should really find time to do it.
A gentle touch or skin-to-skin contact is important for babies. Cuddling sessions with the little ones, strengthen the bond between them and mom. It also lowers their anxiety levels and helps them sleep well. Mothers can also sing to or sway their babies while cuddling them; doing all these, gives a baby some sense of security.