Having a baby is a wonderful and overpowering experience. The moment that baby is placed on a mother’s chest, she gets the sudden realization that nothing is ever going to be the same again. She always knew while she was carrying her baby that her life was going to change, but it isn’t until she is holding that baby in her arms that she understands.
Newborns are a lot of things; they are sweet, small, and they smell so good. They are also incredibly fragile. Not only are newborns delicate, but the mom who has just delivered is also fragile. She needs time to heal from what her body has just gone through and there are certain things she can and cannot do.
It is easy for mom to want to jump back into her "old" life and do the things she is so used to doing before the baby came. It can be hard to refrain from running out to the store or to visit friends for a while, but that is one thing that needs to be avoided (spoiler alert)...
Both mom and baby need time to heal and bond. Mom needs to figure out how things work and how to adjust to life with a new baby so there are always things that she needs to avoid for the first little bit. We have found 20 things that are rather surprising that mom needs to refrain from doing right after birth; some are quite serious while others have some humor in them.
20 Administer Gripe Water
There is not a lot more miserable than a baby who has a ton of gas. They are uncomfortable and fussy, and it can be very hard on a new mom. Newborns get gas quite often as well because their digestive systems are still maturing, and they don’t know how to work out the gas themselves.
Gripe water is one of the oldest products on the market and it is wonderful for treating baby gas. However, gripe water cannot be given to a baby who is under one-month-old. This is not common knowledge because it is such a used product that parents generally think that it is safe for babies of every age. It is best to refrain from using this product for the first six weeks.
19 Avoid Strangers (This Is A Big One)
No one wants to become a hermit, and this can happen easily when a woman has a baby. She becomes someone who never leaves her home and it can get pretty hard to make it through. This is something that every mom should follow as closely as she can. There are many reasons why a mom and her baby can’t go out in public too much for the first six months.
Newborns have very new immune systems and the tiniest little bug can create a big problem. Another problem is that everyone loves babies and strangers may get a little too close for comfort. Strangers are just that, strangers, and it is impossible to know if they are fighting any illnesses or when the last time, they washed their hands was.
18 Be Wary Of Photo Shoots!
It may not seem like it at the time, but the newborn phase goes by so quickly. When you are living in the middle of it, it seems like it will never end. With the constant feedings and limited sleep, it seems to be a phase of life that will never change. But, it will. Before you know it, you will be looking back, having a hard time remembering what your little one looked like as a newborn.
That is why so many people like to have newborn photos done with their baby. They want to capture this time and preserve it to look back on. Newborn photo shoots also happen days after birth normally when the baby is still very flexible. However, there needs to be a big caution sign with this one because it can be unsafe. It is important to make sure you go with a reputable and experienced photographer. Mom should not be attempting any of these poses on her own in the first few weeks.
17 Avoid Enclosed Places (Even If The Cabin Fever Is Intense)
One of the hardest parts about being a new mom is cabin fever. Mom spends so much time inside with her baby—because she is avoiding strangers to keep germs away–that she can go a bit stir-crazy. It can cause some depression and feelings of frustration. It is important for mom to try and get out with the baby but there are guidelines on how she should do it.
Going for a short walk (weather permitting) is a great outing for mom and baby. The baby gets some fresh air and mom feels connected to the outside world. Places mom should avoid are enclosed places. Shopping malls, libraries, and other places all have recycled air, and this is the air that can carry airborne germs.
16 Put The Baby Down On Their Belly
It seems like this one would be common sense now, but there is still some educating and work to do when it comes to this important tip. Even though this rule covers a lot longer than just the first six weeks, it is important to note it in this article.
Babies should never be placed on their stomach to sleep. They may sleep better that way and it may be tempting to a tired, new mom to just let them get some sleep, but it is not worth it. The "Back to Sleep" campaign has shown a drastically reduced amount of SIDS and no amount of sleep can make up for that. For those first few crucial weeks, it is important to get in the habit of placing a baby on their back to sleep on a firm and empty surface.
15 Throw The Microwave Away
If the baby is bottle fed (either breastmilk or formula) there are certain ways things need to be done, and it is important that they are done correctly. Mom may want to skip some steps or change up how she does it in order to save some time. We get that, life is busy as a new mom and it can all be overpowering.
However, mom should never heat up a bottle in the microwave. This is true for the entire time the baby is on a bottle, but especially in the first six weeks. The baby is just getting used to feeding, as in the womb it didn’t have to worry about that. Microwaving can create warm spots that mom doesn’t realize are there. It also can alter the nutritional value of the food for the baby.
14 Clean Their Nose The Old Fashioned Way
Hygiene is a very important task of a mother and it takes some learning to get it right. It can be intimidating to bath and clean a newborn because they are so small and fragile, but it is important. Newborns are also often congested. They have to work a lot of the lingering amniotic fluid out of their system and it takes some time.
Mom may be tempted to empty their nose with their finger. They see it all there and figure they can just scoop it out. No one said being a mother was glamorous. This is not always a good idea because our fingers and hands often hold the most bacteria. The best way to do this is by using a nasal aspirator to clear their nostrils.
13 Ignoring A Fever
Anyone who knows basic biology knows that a fever is a good thing. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off an illness. Normally, it is actually a good thing for a person to let their fever run its course, as it means that the immune system is working, and they will get better. This is something a mother of a newborn cannot do.
If a baby under the age of six weeks gets a fever it needs to be addressed right away. Babies that young cannot take any meds yet that would help bring it down and it can be harmful. If a fresh, new baby has a fever it cannot be ignored, and they need to be seen by their doctor immediately.
12 Changing Routines Is Frowned Upon
Now, a baby does change everything, but it should not change your routine. It is important to not change your routine in the first six weeks for a very important reason. Newborns are born not knowing about how days and nights work. They are often born confusing the two which means they can sleep all day and be up all night. Since adults are used to how days work this can be exhausting. Mom may find it hard to sleep during the day because she has her rhythm down.
It is important to not change your routine so that the baby will get to know the difference. Keep the area the baby is in light and busy during the day and dark and quiet at night. This will help them learn the difference between when they should be up and playing and when it is time to sleep.
11 Exercising Is A No-No For Mama
This one is a big no-no, but it is one that a lot of moms have a hard time refraining from. Pregnancy and childbirth change your body and a lot of moms are anxious to get back to the way they were before the baby came. They want to get out there and start walking and running off what they gained. They even make strollers that are designed for jogging with the baby in tow.
This cannot be done in the first six weeks after having a baby, though. Mom needs time to heal and the healing time is generally six to eight weeks. It is important to wait and get the clearance from your OB before you partake in any exercise. Also, even though they make strollers meant for running with your baby, they are still too little to be jostled around.
10 Forget The Mom And Baby Bathtime Bonding
Bonding is something that is very important to a new mom. She wants to bond with her new baby, and she wants to explore every available opportunity she has. One of the ways that a lot of mom’s bond with their baby is in the bath. Mom will take her little one and have some great bath fun together, even if it is just cuddling together in the warm water.
This may seem surprising, but this is something else that mom cannot do the first six weeks after having the baby. No baths are a rule that a lot of moms have to follow immediately following birth. There is concern about bacteria. If they do have a bath, they are generally told to sit up straight in the tub, which is no the best position to cuddle a newborn in.
9 Leave The Baby Alone
This is another one that should go unsaid, but it is vital in the first six weeks. Mom cannot leave the baby alone when they are a newborn. It seems like you should be able to for just a minute. As long as they are in a safe space, it’s not like they are going to go anywhere. However, newborns are always surprising us and it is amazing what can happen in two minutes.
This is even truer when there are family pets involved. We love our pets, and they have always seemed so gentle and kind, but they are adjusting too. They are getting used to this new arrival and it is impossible to know how they will react to any situation with the new baby.
8 No Skipping Appointments (AT ALL)
No one ever goes to the doctors as much as a mom. They are always taking their kid in for an illness, a bumped head, or just a wellness check. It can get exhausting but it is worth it if it means a healthy and thriving child. There may be a lot of appointments in the first six weeks with a baby, and mom cannot skip any of them.
There are various reasons why mom may be running to an appointment every other day, and each reason is important. There may be a lot of body checks in the beginning to make sure that the baby is gaining the right amount of pounds the way they should be, and this is very important to a breastfed baby.
7 Go Strapless
There are a lot of items out there on the market that are geared at new moms and babies, and one of them is a changing table. Change tables are one of those "do I really need this" items. Some moms love them and couldn’t imagine their life without them. Others don’t really see the need and they just change the baby anywhere they are currently.
If mom has one of these, she cannot forget to strap the baby in for those first six weeks. Moms often get a false sense of security with a newborn and think that if they put it down, its not really going to go anywhere. Newborns may not be able to walk or crawl yet, but they can definitely get around and moms guard should never be down.
6 No Trips To The Beach
The first six weeks of your baby’s life is not the time to go to the beach. Many would think this is harmless and it would do everyone a little good to get some fresh, ocean air. There are a couple reasons why babies should not have their first trip to the beach when they are so tiny.
A lot of it has to do with the reasons we listed earlier. About how newborns don’t need to be around a whole bunch of new germs right away. Also, did you know that babies under six months of age cannot use sunscreen? That’s right, sunscreen cannot be put on a baby that young. In order to protect the little one from the sun, mom and baby need to stay home or wear a few layers.
5 Always Remember This One Thing After Feeding
Being a new mom is not easy and it can often lead to having "mom brain." Mom brain is much like pregnancy brain and it is common to forget everything. This is due to sleep deprivation and the stress of a new job as a mom to a little baby. There are certain things mom doesn’t want to forget, especially in the first six weeks.
One of those things is that mom will need to remember to burp her baby. Burping generally needs to happen in the middle of the feeding and after. There is no such thing as too much burping, so if baby seems a little grumpy, try giving them a burp. A gassy baby is a miserable baby, so we need to give them a hand.
4 What's Sleep?
This one is on the more comical side, but it is something that mom can’t seem to do when she has a six-week-old and that is sleep. Sleep takes the biggest hit when a woman brings home a baby. The biggest reason is because the baby is up every three to four hours to feed.
Another reason mom won’t find much sleep is due to sheer anxiety. A new mom (especially if it is her first time) spends a lot of time worrying about her baby when she could be sleeping. Every little noise the baby makes will make mom jump out of bed to make sure they are okay. The advice about ‘sleeping when the baby sleeps’ is not so easy either when mom knows there are dishes to clean.
3 Can’t Avoid Help
This is one thing that a mom could do if she wanted too, but she really shouldn’t. Every mom wants to seem like a superhero and that they have it all under control, but the truth is we all need help every now and then. Mom cannot afford to turn down help in the early days with a baby. It is easy to get burnt out when mom is doing a lot of the work and not getting a break.
So, take the offers from friends and family seriously and have them come over and give you a hand. Even if it is just to hold the baby for a minute so that you can take a quick shower or have a quick power nap.
2 Have Hardwood Floors? Buy A Carpet
After such a heavy entry on fevers it is the right time for a slightly comical one. There is one thing a mom of a six-week-old cannot do and this one may surprise a lot of people. Moms shouldn't walk on hardwood floors. Trust us on this one, it will make sense in one minute. Hardwood floors are beautiful, but I bet you never noticed how creaky they were until you brought home your baby.
No one wants to wake a sleeping baby, especially if it took mom all morning to get them to fall asleep. Mom will place the baby down and go to walk away and the floor squawks and the baby starts crying, it is any parent’s nightmare. Try and map out the creaky spots in your floor before the baby comes home, you can thank us later.
1 There Is Such A Thing As Too Clean!
For the last entry on this list, we are going back to hygiene. While we know it is important that we keep our babies clean, there is such a thing as too clean. Surprisingly, a baby of the age of six weeks old should not be bathed every day. They simply don’t need it.
Newborns cannot crawl, walk, or eat solid foods yet so they don’t really get that grimy throughout the day. They are not comparable to a toddler who spends every day rolling in the dust who definitely needs a bath almost every day. Newborns have new skin, and too much bathing can cause their skin to dry out and become very itchy and uncomfortable.
References: healthline.com, momjunction.com, whattoexpect.com, healthychildren.org, stanfordchildrens.org, fda.gov, romper.com