Wouldn’t it be great if the baby sat mom down once per week and let her know how things were going? Like what if they corrected her on the way that she strapped them into the car seat or told her exactly what steps to follow to get them to sleep for more than a few minutes at night? It’d make motherhood much easier wouldn’t it?
Then, you’d know exactly what you’re doing right and wrong. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. There are no weekly assessment reports and there are few times when you’ll feel like everything is laid out for you.
Now, for the good news.
While your baby won’t tell you what you’re doing wrong, there is a wealth of information available about motherhood and parenting. You could also have your doctor on speed dial for all those late night ‘my child feels a little warm’ moments. For the other important stuff, we’ve got you. We’ve rounded up a list of a few things that every mother should know or she might be at risk of ‘doing it wrong’.
If you can tick everything off this list as something that you haven’t done, then you’ve got motherhood down and you’re doing it right. If you’re doing a few wrong, then sorry momma, it’s time to change your ways and we’ve laid that out for you too.
15 Googling Everything & Not Trusting Your Instincts
The world existed long before Google was around to tell us what to do. We drove places and could dial a phone number without the help of Siri. When it comes to being a new parent, sometimes you just have to put down your iPhone and trust your instincts. You can’t always worry that you’re doing things by the book, because guess what? There are dozens of books out there, but only one you. That ‘you’ knows how to take care of your baby whether you think so or not. By all means Google what to do when your child has a fever or better yet take him to the doctor. When it comes to the daily cries and feeding times you’ll find that your instinct will kick in and you’ll feel like you’re born to nurture.
14 Not Listening To Your Baby
Be a good mom and make sure that you listen to your baby. There is one way that your baby can communicate with you and that’s through his or her cries. Have you ever heard a mom say that she can tell the difference between her baby’s different cries? It turns out that there might be some truth to that. Robert Froemke and his colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine found that a mother’s brain produces a hormone associated with comforting and other caretaking traits when she hears an infant cry. The hormone is called oxytocin and it also preps the mom to hear an infant’s cry better. So, listen up, because your body is programmed to hear and respond in a ‘comforting’ manner to a newborn’s cry.
13 Stressing Over Whether To Nurse Or Use Formula
Let’s be honest, it’s a BIG topic these days. In some circles it can be controversial, as some moms (and dads) feel passionate about the subject. Yet, guess what, there are good reasons for doing either, and that means that both are okay. That’s right, whether your use formula or nurse your baby, your child has the chance to grow up healthy, smart, and strong. They will also be loved; because Mommy made the best choice that she could for her little one. Another shocker is that you don’t have to stick to one side. You can also do both- breastfeed and use formula. Or, you can breastfeed for a period of time and then switch to formula later on. Either way, science and perfectly healthy adults have taught us that whatever decision is made, it’ll all be okay in the end.
12 Being Caught Up In Being The Perfect Mother
It’s best to be caught up in being a loving mother, because that’s the best that you can give to your child. Raising your child in love and not trying to keep up with the other moms will save you and your little one from unnecessary stress. There will always be a mom more organized, and a child who hits a milestone faster than you and your little one. So, the sooner you learn not to stress about it the better. Focus on your child’s accomplishments and also yours. You’ve come a long way just by bringing a healthy and beautiful life into this world. Enjoy these moments and don’t let a house littered with toys or the fact that you haven’t washed your hair in days ruin it. You’re already the perfect mom just by being there with your child.
11 Not Making Time For Your Partner
One of the fastest ways a relationship can end is by not making time for one another. With a new little person in the house who needs a lot of your attention it can be easy to neglect your partner. However, it’s best to remember that your partner needs attention and love just like your baby does. So, take a moment to stop and give them a little love too. Book time together and hire a babysitter to go out on a date. Make time to chat with one another every night after work. And, whenever your hands are free be sure to give a kiss, a hug, or an 'I love you’. Talk to your partner about what the two of you need to feel satisfied in the relationship. When both of you feel ‘energized’ and loved you’ll also find that it reflects positively on other areas of your life.
10 Not Making Time For Yourself
As a new mom, it’s important to make sure that you’re not neglecting yourself. It might feel like you have to decide between eating or having a shower, but trust us when you speak up for what you need (a.k.a a little time for yourself) you’ll function better as a mom. Ask your partner for more help around the house or with the new baby if needed. Ask a mom or a close friend if they can watch your baby for a few hours while you take a relaxing long bath. Or, if it floats your boat head out early in the morning for a run like you used to. Find a way to continue to do some of the things that make you feel complete and happy. Your baby will thank you later as studies have shown that a mom’s mood can directly reflect how ‘agreeable’ her child is.
9 Leaving Your Kids In The Car
You’ve heard the horror stories; so let it be a lesson that you cannot leave a baby alone in the car unattended. To be honest you should not leave a toddler, little kid or even big kid in the car alone unattended. No matter how quick you think you’re going to be, just know that something could always come up keeping you away longer than you think. It’s a health hazard to leave children in cars. With the windows up for their protection they could be at risk of having a heat stroke during the summer months or suffocating. Even if you do manage to make it back to your car after five minutes with your child safe and sound a bystander could call the police and you would be charged. Either way, it’s a risk that you’re probably not willing to take.
8 Not Allowing Your Child To Cry Out
Guess what? A new study has found that it’s okay to let your baby cry himself to sleep. It turns out that your mother-in-law was right all along. It’s perfectly fine to let a baby cry. It might make you feel terrible inside to hear your little one cry out in discomfort, but researchers in Australia have found that a baby can cry himself to sleep without experiencing stress, behavioral issues, or lasting emotional issues. Crying it out is actually an acceptable and normal method of sleep training. It gives your baby a chance to work out their vocal chords and learn self-soothing methods. It’s as they say, short-term pain will always be outweighed by long-term advantages. You have to sacrifice a little for you and your child to have a better chance at getting a good night’s rest.
7 Waking Your Baby Up To Breastfeed
Coming off of that last note, it’s okay for you to let your child sleep for a few good hours at night. While you’ll find that you’re feeding your child every 2-3 hours during the day, experts suggest that waking up that often in the middle of the night could confuse a newborn about day-to-night. So, it’s best to allow them to sleep for about 5 hours at a time during the night. That’s good news for moms as this means your baby will probably only need one feeding in the middle of the night and you’ll be able to sleep for a few solid hours at night. Of course, some experts believe that if your child is a normal weight and otherwise healthy they can feed every 4-6 hours during the night as well. So, trust your instincts and your doctor.
6 Confusing Spit-Up For Vomit
Just how do you tell the difference between spit up and vomiting? Spit up is the tiny milky dribble that will happen when your baby eats too much, swallows too much air, or burps. It’s a reflex that can continue until they’re one-year-old. Yet, don’t worry new mom, it’s not painful and it’ll usually only be about 1 to 2 teaspoons. Vomiting can be painful. It’s caused by a virus, is a lot more volume, and can dehydrate your baby. If your baby’s spit up is more like a projectile, any color other than white, or is accompanied by a fever and fussiness it is most likely vomit and you should call your doctor. If it’s a teaspoon of milky white dribble here and there, you have nothing to worry about.
5 Not Worrying About Your Baby’s Fever
If your baby wakes up with flushed cheeks or feels a little warm, it’s never a bad idea to check their temperature. If it reads 100.4 F or higher, that’s when you need to call your child’s physician. It’s a first step to ensuring that your baby doesn’t have a bacterial infection, which is different from the common cold. Your everyday cold or flu will fade within three days. However, a bacterial infection can be linked to an ear infection, meningitis, or pneumonia and can require antibiotics to fully treat. So, if your newborn is younger than 3 months old and you notice a change in temperature, make the call. If your child is older, then keep watch to see if the temperature has stayed the same over the last 24 hours.
4 Not Properly Installing The Car Seat
It might seem like a no brainer, but it’s surprising how many moms don’t know how to properly install a car seat. And, if you’re unsure, feel free to ask. This is the time that you should ask Google or check out a video on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There is a free video available to guide you about how to properly install your newborn’s car seat. According to the NHTSA, 3 out of 4 carseats on the road are not installed properly. So, take a moment to clearly figure this out for the protection of your little bundle. Properly installed seats reduce the risk of injury to your child and it really only takes less than five minutes to read your car seat instructions, reference the manual, and lock the seat belt. Yet, it could mean the difference between life and death.
3 Neglecting Oral Care
Your baby’s gums and tongue are important. That means that even before a tooth forms, you’ll need to wipe the mouth area down. The proper way to good oral care for your newborn is to wipe the gum with a gauze or wet washcloth. Toothpaste and a toothbrush aren’t needed just yet. It’s also a good routine to get your child used to having his or her mouth cleaned daily. It’ll make the transition to brushing their teeth a lot easier as they would have been used to you being inside their mouth. Once the teeth start coming in, gently brush your child’s tooth / teeth daily with a tiny bit of toothpaste. If you want to know when to get your child to see a dentist, talk with your primary healthcare provider about when you need a professional to look at his / her teeth.
2 Not Putting Your Baby On A Schedule
Why does your baby need a schedule? Their lives don’t seem that complicated. Yet, as a new parent you’ll find that having a set schedule will make your life and that of your little one much easier. You’ll both know what to expect throughout the day. According to paediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, “Babies like to know that certain things will happen at a certain time each day.” Having your baby know exactly when he’ll eat, sleep, or go out will also make the transition to working with a nanny much easier as well. After three to four months of consistency and predictability your baby could enjoy and follow your set schedule. Log your routine with an app or pen and paper. Taking the extra time to be organized with your baby will make you both happier in the long run.
1 Fighting Too Much In Front Of Your Baby
Let’s face it, we’re human and we’re bound to disagree with someone and let our emotions get the best of us. It’s called fighting (with words) and it’s normal. Yet, it’s not a normal part of your baby’s life just yet. It can be damaging to babies who watch or hear a lot of arguing. Studies have shown that arguing in front of your children can cause long-term stress and emotional suffering later in life. This type of stress alters your child’s developing brain and can impact how the brain functions later in life. “Even during sleep, infants showed distinct patterns of brain activity depending on the emotional tone of voice we presented,” stated Alice Graham, the lead researcher of the study at the University of Oregon. So, next time you feel the urge to yell at your partner, you might want to take a deep breath first.
Sources: HuffingtonPost.com, CNN.com, BabyCenter.com, Similac.com, WhatToExpect.com, ScienceNews.org