They say that being a new mom is the hardest job you will ever love to have. In preparation for a new baby, moms will seek out advice and information in how to be the best parent they can be. That is a goal that most moms strive towards. It is an impossible goal, as there is no perfect parent. This thought alone can set new moms up for failure, and they are left feeling awful and like the worst parent. There are things moms can never understand until they become that mother and endure first hand the trials and tribulations in being a new mom.
Mistake is such a harsh word, and one new moms do not like to hear (I sure didn’t like to hear it) but we are all human and WE ALL make mistakes! Most of the time, they are minor mistakes with no real consequences, but sometimes the best of us can make these big mistakes that more experienced moms forget to tell us about. Most of the mistakes that are on this list have more to do with self-care than with actual safety mistakes, but they can be just as crucial.
It is also important for new moms to understand that it is OK to make mistakes, it’s even expected that you will make mistakes, it happens and it is very normal. I can almost guarantee that some if not most moms have made at least one of these mistakes, and you know what, own it! Be proud that you are not perfect and learn from it and share your experience with other fellow new or expecting mamas out there, they will appreciate it!
20 Neglecting Him
New babies take up a lot of attention, A LOT! Moms spend so much time focused on their new little one attending to their needs and wants that not only do they neglect themselves but they also neglect their partner. It is common for new moms to forget the term partner as they often feel a lot of the parenting burden falls on them. They often forget that their spouse is there to help them.
It can be quite easy for moms to, unintentionally, neglect their spouse and just assume that this is their life now. This can be very damaging to the relationship and in turn successful parenting. There was an article written about why wives should love their husband more than their children, and while it may seem shocking at first the article had a great point. You create this relationship with your spouse, you build a relationship and possibly a marriage and then children come into the picture and it disappears. We raise children to be successful adults out in the real world who contribute to society and then we as parents are left empty nested, but we still have our spouse. So, call up a grandparent, sister or good friend and please go out on that date night! Frequently!
19 Putting Yourself Last
Moms are superheroes. Plain and simple, they really are. They carry this little baby for 9 months; they go through hours of agonizing labour and they spend so much time and energy caring for these little babies. Moms do not stop! It is very common and likely that moms will put themselves last to ensure that their child has everything. I haven’t met a mom who doesn’t put herself last. This is one of the most common and easiest mistakes to make when you are a new mom. You lose yourself a bit when you bring a new life into the world, and it’s normal and to be expected in the beginning, but it is important for new moms to slowly find themselves again and to stop sitting on the back burner. It’s not an easy thing to do, to put yourself first, and you don’t have to all the time, but you must sometimes! Let dad have some bonding time and enjoy a bath and a good book. Indulge in a hobby you may have been neglecting, or go out and treat yourself to a new hair cut or mani/pedi. You will be a BETTER mom if you put yourself first every once in a while.
18 Crying When The Baby Cries
It’s 3 am, the baby is awake, and screaming. And the baby has been awake and screaming for quite some time now. You are sleep-deprived, hungry and at what seems like the end of your mommy rope. You start to cry, no, you start to SOB! Understandably so, but as hard as it may be to do, it is at this moment that a new mom must stay calm. There are many reasons why shedding the Atlantic Ocean at these times can be a grave mistake.
Babies are very perceptive, so crying at this point is NOT going to help the baby stop crying. Babies are in tune with no one more than they do their mother (especially if they are a breastfed baby) so baby will sense that something is not right with mommy and will continue to be upset. We also know the pain that comes with a good cry, the headaches, the sore and scratchy eyes and even chest pain, add all this to a sleep deprived mommy means nothing good. You, yourself will feel worse and even less capable of dealing with the situation. Don’t make yourself sick. What you can do at times like these is take a mini-mental break. Crying for a few minutes will not harm your baby, place them in a safe space and just take a moment, even just a few seconds and breath slowly in and out and count to ten. If you are in a calm space, you will be more equipped to assist your little one.
17 Not Accepting Help
After a new arrival, family and friends will seem to come in waves to see the little one. Often, they may (if they are good visitors) bring meals or ask if there is anything they can do to help you. What comes out of most mother’s mouths is another big mistake a new mom makes: NO. Moms seem to almost be embarrassed to ask friends of family to throw a load of laundry in, wash the floors or do the dishes, but this can be a big mistake. New moms do not need to be superheroes, even though they often feel like they should be. They just pushed a watermelon-sized human being out, who they have to care for with their full being so I think we can agree they are already superheroes. Accept the help, most visitors understand and want to help the new mom in some way.
Another big mistake new moms make is not asking for help. Don’t wait for someone to offer, if someone wants to come and visit make it known that it would be nice if they do one thing that will make your new mom life a little easier. Or, if they are really nice, ask them to mind the baby while you take a nap. Most people will not mind, trust us.
16 Comparing The Baby To Others
I think this is one we have all done. When you become a new mom, you start making friends with other new moms, whether at the park or at a mom and me class. Usually with moms who have babies that are at a similar age as our little ones. While spending some time with these moms and babes you notice that their little one is pulling themselves up on furniture, but your little one hasn’t even rolled over yet! Then the panic sets in, what’s wrong with your baby? Should you make an appointment with the pediatrician? The answer to this is (usually) NO!
The common consensus from doctors is that all babies develop at their own pace and reach milestones at different times. They also don’t always reach them at the time that little chart you always see in the doctor’s office says they should. Babies are surprising creatures, and all grow at different times and rates. There are even cases of babies skipping milestones all together and everything being completely normal. Some babies go right to walking and forget the crawling stage. While babies develop at different times, it could also be due to their personality, some babies are more outgoing than others, while others are more laid back. All this is going to accomplish is to add un necessary worry that new moms do not need!
15 Worrying Too Much
When moms are expecting we accept the fact that we will always worry about our children. However, we do not understand the amount or intensity of worry that we have for our children, especially our newborns. It is normal to worry, it is even normal to worry too much, but this can be another no-no. Too much worry will make anyone ill.
Worrying too much can cause high anxiety, even panic attacks. It can interfere with your lifestyle in ways such as loss of appetite, relationship issues and poor sleeping habits. As a mom, I can recall nights with my newborn when I lost a lot of my opportunities to sleep. Not because my baby wasn’t sleeping, but because I lay there worried about every sound she made or if she was ok.
You may be wondering how on earth a new mom could possibly avoid this, and I don’t think there is an actual answer to this, what advice can be given is to ask questions, talk to the doctor or nurses or even other moms!
14 Leaving Baby Unattended
There are many things we know about babies, they are cute, they cry and they poop, a lot. We also know that in the first week or two of their lives they are immobile. You put them somewhere and they stay, right? Wrong! Moms need to put their babies down at some point, that is unavoidable, they need to go to the washroom or grab a bite to eat. It is where moms put their baby that can be a mistake. It is assuming that newborn babies are immobile that can cause an accident. We may place baby on a couch nestled into a nursing pillow and go to the washroom, and the baby may roll or jerk and end up falling off the couch. This has happened. It was not a mistake made from neglect, but one of a mom going on the assumption that her newborn was not going to go anywhere. Moms need to always place their baby in a confined space if leaving them for a minute. In their crib, bassinet or even on the floor as weird as that may be. Place them somewhere that you know they are not going anywhere.
13 Not Sleeping
Sleep when the baby sleeps! This is probably one of the most common pieces of advice given to new and expecting moms. But, it is often the most ignored advice. This is a HUGE mistake. Unless you are like me and an awful napper, there is no reason why you should not be sleeping when baby is sleeping. You are probably sitting there while baby is napping and saying in your head, well I should do some laundry, or those dishes that are piling up, or any other household chore that has fallen on the back burner, but all that stuff can wait! Please, let it wait. All the dishes, laundry and mess will still be there when baby wakes up, but you will not get that sleep back. Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter with a newborn, and new moms need every precious moment of slumber to power through! When can you get those chores done? When baby is awake and alert bring them with you and place them in a bouncer and talk to them, stimulate them and explain what you are doing as a way of introducing them to language!
Time seems to speed up when you have a baby, they grow so fast! While that is true it is not what I am talking about. Time seems to speed up for just about everything. Running to the store before babies next feed, getting out of the mall while your baby is having a good old cry or even trying to get out of the house to go to a doctors appointment.
There is an immense amount of pressure on moms, so rushing is something that is completely understandable. However, this is a mistake, there was a mother who while in the shopping mall was rushing to get out of the mall and decided to take her stroller down the escalator instead of searching for a nearby elevator. Escalators are not supposed to be used by strollers and it was proven why when the stroller nearly flipped over. This may seem to many people as common sense, but in a moment of rushing it can be very easy for judgement to lack. Please moms, take your time its ok!
11 Car Seat Safety
Car seats were a wonderful invention, they provided a safe space to place your baby in the car to ensure safety when out driving around. There was a time when they didn’t have car seats and moms just held the little ones on their lap, most of us would never think of doing this.
You can find numerous articles and neighbourhood classes to take about how to install car seats correctly and how to place the baby in the car seat properly, but the mistake some moms may make is assuming that if their baby is strapped and locked into their car seat correctly they aren’t going to go anywhere. They are right in this assumption; the baby is not going to crawl out of the car seat. Moms may gain a false sense of security and leave the car seat with the baby inside on top of a table, bench or other ledge knowing that baby wont fall out. We often don’t consider that the car seat could fall off the ledge it is perched on, which could cause an injury. Car seats should always be placed on the ground.
10 Bath Seat Safety
Nothing is cuter or more fun than bathing a baby, and bath seats make it so much easier! Bath Seats can give off a false sense of security to moms and can lead to a very unsafe situation. Moms will place their baby in the bath seat and realize they forgot the baby’s towel so they quickly dash to the bedroom to get a towel, assuming baby can not fall out of the bath seat. Babies can in fact fall out of their bath seat, and this is what happens most of the time when you hear about a bathtub accident involving an infant. It takes a very short time for a little one to breath in water. New moms should always make sure they have all they need to bathe baby, or ensure someone is home who can retrieve something for them. Or if mom forgot the towel, a wet floor is a far better alternative to, well you know.
9 Car Safety
Picture this; you are heading out to complete an errand, you get your baby ready, lug the car seat out to the car and start the car, only to realize that you left your wallet on the entryway table. You quickly run into retrieve it while the car is running. You come back outside and your car is gone. Sounds terrifying, right? This has happened, probably more than we would like to think, it has been in the local news recently and our hearts go out to these mothers who made this very easy to make mistake. Please do not leave your baby in the running car for even a second, because that is how little time it takes. It may seem a pain to lug the baby back in, but those few extra minutes it will take will mean the wellbeing of your little ones. We don`t even have to put on this list not to leave your baby in a car on a hot day, or any day!
8 Childproof The Garbage
We want our little ones to be safe, always, and no where is more dangerous for them than our own homes. They spend the most time there and we are so used to the items we don’t necessarily see them as dangerous. But, of course we know all that, so we spend lots of time and money baby-proofing our homes. We buy all the materials; we crawl around to see any danger spots. Even with that, we learn very quickly what has not been baby proofed when our little ones start moving and getting into stuff. A common place that is not often thought of is the garbage, one family learned this the hard way and the situation could have been a lot worse. Mom was upstairs with her little one getting some cleaning done, and little one was just crawling around in the baby-proofed area, mom walked into the bathroom and her little one had a disposable razor in his mouth! Mom had forgotten to remove the garbage from the room. Baby was fine, but it is a lesson to which we can all learn from.
7 Becoming A Hermit
When you first bring that little one home, all you want to do is stay inside and cuddle and amaze at this little human being that you just brought into the world! That’s ok and you go for it! But, don’t go for it for too long. Most new moms unintentionally become recluses, whether its due to sheer exhaustion of becoming a new mom, or if there is worry about taking their little one out into the world (please see the next post about this). New moms need to get out, and avoid becoming a hermit and staying inside. Fresh air does work wonders and new moms will even benefit from just the sense of being around people again. So, take a walk around the block, go to the bookstore or even better find a mommy and baby group that you can join. Social interaction is so very important for new moms, and it is something that is often neglected by new moms.
6 Keeping Babies Inside...Always
When you bring a little, helpless baby into the world the outside seems very dangerous and scary. You suddenly realize the pollution, the wind, the car exhausts and it seems like a lot of people smoke to you. It is easy to want to stay inside and protect your little one against this big and scary world. This is a mistake! While I wouldn’t advise anyone to take their little one out to a crowded concert or house party, but please take them out! Take them to the local coffee store to get a caffeine fix, or to the library or even just a quick walk around the block! Get them used to the sights, smells and sounds of the outside world. Even if it’s raining, the sound of rain can be very soothing to a baby. The good news is that it may help them set their internal clock by exposing them to the sun.
5 Letting A Newborn Sleep All Night
How is your baby sleeping? I seem to get this question at least every other day, it seems like everyone wants to know how baby is sleeping. I can say that at 12 months she sleeps through the night but that was not the case as a newborn, and I am happy about that.
In hindsight, everyone would love to bring their newborn home and have them sleep through the night from the beginning, that is rarely the case and the mistake would be a new mom letting them. We have probably all gotten the advice to “never wake a sleeping baby” and while that may be true for older babies, it is not true for newborns!
Newborns must feed often, especially when breastfed as breastmilk is digested faster than formula. Babies can become dehydrated if they sleep through their normal hunger cues. It is up to moms (or dads) to wake them every 4 hours to feed. Until they have at least gotten back to their birthweight and are steadily gaining weight. Always ask your doctor for their opinion. For now, enjoy the snuggles at nights!
4 Waiting A Fever Out In A Newborn
We always ask visitors to not come see baby if they are sick, and to always wash their hands before handling babies. This is the best way to prevent any spread of viruses to baby. Adults though can carry viruses without themselves being sick and these can be passed rather quickly. Babies first cold or flu can be very scary for mom. Getting sick is inevitable for little ones, whether from visiting relatives or friends, mom and baby groups or just about anything. Babies and young children are prone to fevers and usually mom will give some medicine, remove clothing and given them a cold bath to bring the fever down. If the fever has not broken over 24 hours, they will then usually proceed to the doctor. This rule does NOT apply to newborns. New moms should never wait out a fever in a newborn and should take their baby to a doctor as soon as possible.
3 Letting People Kiss The Newborn On The Mouth
A new baby has come into the family and everyone could not be more excited! As visitors pour in, they will want to hold and cuddle and kiss your little one. If you have let your visitors get this far with your baby, you are a miracle and I would like to speak to you! Most new moms are very protective with there newborns and will feel nervous when others (even grandmothers) hold their baby. We want people to love our little ones as much as we do, but the mouth is not one of the places that moms should let people kiss their baby. Babies are working on building their immunity system and a kiss to the mouth from someone who though seems healthy could actually be carrying a virus that the baby does not have immunity to yet. While some moms may want to not seem rude when they ask their own mother to not kiss their baby, it is for the best. If the member is insisting on kissing baby, maybe offer a spot such as arm or leg (Again, not the hand as the hand may go in the mouth).
2 Not Letting Dad Help
I’ve stated it before how moms feel like they need to be supermom and do everything. With the traditional arrangement of mom staying home and dad going out to work remaining popular, mom will often feel like all the baby related jobs fall on her and her alone. Not that dads don’t want to help or offer, moms still turn the offer down. DON’T! Let dad help! Take the break! Not only does this give dad the chance to bond with baby in different ways it also lets him experience certain unforgettable moments of parenthood. Let him experience feeding the baby, or getting a mini shower himself while bathing the little one.
Another thought we may have is that Dad doesn’t know how to do it. He does, he may not do it the way that you would do it, but he can do it! And you can enjoy some time for yourself. So, sit back and watch your partner bond with your little one.
1 Shake The Baby
You may not think this needs to be added, I mean this is just common sense, right? Well, no it’s not, if it was we wouldn’t hear about shaken babies. Shaken Baby Syndrome is the after effects of a baby who has been shaken. After effects, can be; bleeding on the brain, paralysis, blindness and brain damage. Moms who shake their baby are not bad people, they are often moms who are sleep deprived, frustrated or suffering from postpartum depression. They act out of extreme exhaustion and frustration, usually when a baby is crying and seemingly inconsolable. Again, it is moments like this that new moms must remain calm and take those deep breaths! It is important for all new moms to know that if they need help, ask! Moms need breaks too, and moms need self care. When a mom takes care of herself, she is stepping in the right direction of being a better parent. Ask for help, but more importantly take the help!
Sources: Caringforkids.cps.ca, Webmd.com