Parenthood is tough. Those first few days of having a baby usually feel like they're going by incredibly slow, until you're out of them. Then, it's as if they went by in a blink of an eye. While you're discovering the ins and outs of a new routine, new feeding schedule, and new products, we're all bound to make a few mistakes here and there.
The thing is: we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves.
We live and we learn. Parenting is a lot of just that. No matter the advice we receive from family, friends and/or medical professionals, we're likely going to forget (and miss) a few steps here and there. If any of these following mistakes resonate within you, you're not alone.
10 NOT GETTING ENOUGH REST
We know: don't hate us for saying it. But, we promise that once you're out of the "Newborn Fog" you will look back and think: dang, I really shouldn't have done those dishes and stayed in bed for that extra hour to rest.
The Newborn Stage is full of diaper changes and mid-night feeds. You may also feel a twinge of responsibility to clean up after the baby and yourself, just as you did in the time up until baby's arrival. How could the delivery of your baby prohibit you from doing minor activities? Well, it does. It's not an excuse and you must listen to your body as it heals from delivery. Rest while you have an incredibly important and valid reason and excuse to.
9 PUTTING OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES
Just as discussed in the previous entry, it's important to heal from delivery. And, we're not just talking about physical healing. Parents go through a lot of trauma while delivering a child. Whether through cesarean or vaginally, your body must rest and heal from the way they arrived.
When we come home to visitors, other children and partners, it's natural (and quite generous) for us to want to pick up some of the slack. Most of these responsibilities we feel the need to assist in, but this is the time to relax, to heal, and soak up the newborn stage that goes by faster than the blink of an eye. Consider asking friends and family to give your family three weeks before they visit. This way you can get into the rhythm of your new baby's schedule.
8 TAKING ADVICE WE KNOW DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT
There's one thing we know for sure: the "rules" of parenting change every year. From car-seats to feeding statistics, you may feel inundated with the amount of suggestions that come from medical professionals and family members. Everyone has an opinion.
Go with your gut and what you feel is right for you and your baby.
We all agree (at times) with someone's suggestion when we don't feel it's the right choice; but, don't fret. Life is all about trial and error. Sometimes this is applicable to the first few days with your new baby, too. You'll get the hang of it. You'll also get the hang of saying, "that's not for me" when people insist on a way they parented before "your time". We promise.
7 DOUBTING THE BABY'S NAME
We're being honest here: there may be a time when we look at our new child and think, does this name truly suit my baby? Did we make the right decision? It's ok. We have all done it. We sit for nine (if not more) months considering different names. We try and choose the perfect one before we even meet the child.
When they arrive, we usually agree with another person (the partner) on naming a human. Yes, one of the biggest responsibilities you will have the pleasure of taking on in your entire life: baby naming. Then, that child will grow up with this legal name. They will either hate it, love it or not care so much about it. You will consider nicknames, initials and what other kids in school may call them.
It's natural (and ok) to doubt your baby's name choice. But we're sure you made the right choice.
6 DOUBTING YOUR FEEDING DECISION
A classic doubt that many new parents have. Just as with a birth plan, many have a feeding plan. You either breastfeed or you formula feed - it's simple. Or, is it? Technically, there are several options for feeding techniques. It's very normal that the feeding plans change.
Whether it comes down to the first experience of a blocked duct or the expense of formula you're truly not fond of, changing your mind on how your child will eat is very normal and very ok. Again, you will hear opinions from everyone. But do what's best for you and your child. Those are the only people (in this situation) that truly matter.
5 GOING OUT TOO SOON
The average time that most new parents and newborns stay indoors after delivery is six weeks. This is the rule of thumb for most new parents. Six weeks should be an appropriate time where your baby is becoming more accustomed to living outside the womb, and mom/parent feels healed enough to go out. For some mothers/parents, they feel "as good as new" after only a few days.
It's totally normal for this spike of energy to come quickly. For the mother/parent to over-do it before their bodies have truly healed. Take this six-week advice and rest. Because in no time you won't be able to do much resting at all.
4 FORGETTING TO BE CAREFUL AROUND THE BELLYBUTTON
When the umbilical cord is cut, the nub attached to the baby's bellybutton stays on until it naturally dries. This could take days or weeks. Not only are you adjusting to caring for a human other than yourself, but you are now making sure that when you do those often diaper changes you also have to watch out for the belly-button.
Don't feel guilty if you knock it before it's all healed. You're not alone: we've all done it. Do you cover it with the diaper? Do put rubbing alcohol on it to encourage it to dry out? You'll survive this and it will fall off before you even know.
3 FORGETTING TO DRY THEIR BUMS
It's not uncommon to forget to dry your baby's bottom before you put their new diaper on. Everyone will experience a diaper rash in their infancy; some sooner than others.
To ensure their bottoms are dry enough, either take a clean cloth and dab their bum dry or use corn starch. Over the counter powders are also available, but some Moms wonder if they are really the best option. There are luckily many healthier options for parents with this concern.
2 NOT ASKING FOR ENOUGH HELP
You are adjusting as a parent to taking care of a new person - someone who is completely unable to take care of themselves. When it comes to asking for help, some parents have some issues knowing when it's appropriate. To be completely honest, it's appropriate at any time.
The moment you feel like you need help with a task you are more than welcome to ask for it. Put the pride aside; this is a huge adjustment for more than just you. It takes a village. Don't ever be too worried that you're asking for help too soon or too late. No one is perfect, especially the parent.
1 EATING ALL YOUR PREPPED FOOD TOO FAST
Firstly, we hope that you have decided to prepare meals before baby's arrival. Whether this is frozen soup or sandwiches ready to grill, ensuring you have enough quick and easy meals to eat during your postpartum experience is absolutely necessary.
When you arrive home from the hospital or wake up from your sleep after a home-birth, you will surely be starving. Don't eat all of your prepared food too soon. You'll wish you made enough for the year.