The first month of a baby's life is the best of times and sometimes the hardest of times for parents. Between the physical and emotional stressors, the lack of sleep and the amazing miracle of welcoming a newborn, many moms and dads are happy to give their all to their child, but by month two, the adrenalin wears off and the hard work begins.
In that first month, a lot of shortcuts are allowed, but it's not a good idea to continue to use a shield for nursing for too long. And at the same time, the hard work of counting diapers and waking up the baby for feedings can become a bit more lax.
That first month with the baby can feel like a magical family bubble, but eventually, life starts to get back to normal — but with another person involved. Moms have to start thinking about getting out of the house and figuring out how to return to work (if they choose to do so). The routine of parenthood sets in by the second month, so moms and dads need to be more choosy and thoughtful in their decisions. This guide might help with that.
Here are 20 things that parents need to stop doing by month two (according to doctors)!
20 No More Constant Swaddling
The swaddle is a magical technique that moms and dads will want to learn right away. Wrapped up tight in a blanket, a newborn can be soothed quickly, and it can work wonders when it's time for bed. But that magic only lasts for a short time.
By the second month, moms and dads need to stop leaving the baby swaddled constantly. It might still be great for bedtime, but babies quickly learn how to unravel themselves, which makes their blankets a risk for suffocation. Constant swaddling can also cause hip dysplasia, so it's time to allow the arms and legs to go free for most of the day.
19 Stop Stressing So Much
The first month of a baby's life is really stressful for his parents. The round-the-clock schedule can be difficult, and the pressure to make sure that the baby is breathing and eating enough and growing can be a lot. With hormonal changes, many moms feel major stress, and the truth is that the baby can pick up on it.
By the second month, the parents' stress can make it even harder to calm down the baby. Moms and dads need to do their best to try to relax, and that will help the baby to feel soothed quicker. The more the parent tenses up, the harder it will be for the baby.
18 Stop Using A Shield For Nursing
The first month of breastfeeding is definitely the hardest. Moms have a round-the-clock job, and their bodies just aren't up to the strain, and some women have trouble producing enough milk, which can make the situation even more stressful. It's fine if a mom uses some accessories like a shield to help her get a good start.
By the second month, however, it's a good idea to stop using a shield. It might take some time to wean the baby from the device, which can help with flat or inverted tips. Some babies can get too dependent on the shield, so it's better to wean them off of it without jeopardizing the breastmilk supply.
17 Stop Sequestering (Unless A Preemie)
Bringing a newborn home from the hospital can be a little intimidating for moms and dads, especially when they know how fragile their tiny guy is when it comes to germs. Many doctors recommend keeping the baby home for the first few weeks, especially during flu and RSV season. But by the second month, it's time for baby and mom to enter the world.
Moms should still be cautious, especially with preemies and others with fragile immune systems. But sequestering can be very hard on moms, and it's good for the baby to be stimulated by outside surroundings. Just try to avoid passing on germs.
16 Newborn Clothes Are No Longer Necessary
Once moms and babies get a handle on feedings, it can be surprising how quick the little one can get bigger. Most lose a little bit in the first week or so after birth, but doctors want the baby to be back up to the birth size quickly, and after that, some babies double up with a couple of months.
Those newborn clothes sometimes don't last a week. Most moms are switching to the 0-3-month or 3-month size by month two. It can be bittersweet to see the newborn outfits go, but that just means the baby is thriving.
15 Don't Skip Tummy Time
Tummy time is an important part of a daily routine for a newborn. We'll give parents a pass in the first week or so when they worry about the baby's umbilical cord, but by the second month, tummy time shouldn't be skipped.
Many little ones protest being on their stomachs because they have to work so hard. The time is good for developing the baby's back and core muscles, and it can ensure that they reach their milestones of holding their head up, turning over and eventually sitting up and crawling. Tummy time is the basis for so much, so be sure to make it a part of the routine by the second month.
14 No More Silence For Sleep
Lots of moms enjoy the noise—and the silence—that happens in the first few weeks home with a newborn. They can go all out to try to keep their baby asleep, even disabling the doorbell to try to make sure it's quiet during the baby's nap.
By the second month, though, it's a good idea to bring on the noise. It's not a good idea to get the baby used to silence because that might mean that any noise in the future could interrupt their slumber. But if the baby gets used to hearing the vacuum in the early months, then it won't be a problem a year later.
13 Stop Waiting On Toys
A newborn doesn't need a lot of toys. Family and friends are likely to provide a few stuffed animals for the little one, and eventually, they'll love the electronic ones with lights and sounds. But moms should start giving simple toys by the second month.
The key is the baby's grip, which begins to develop in the first few weeks. It's important to start stimulating the little one's interest so he will start to reach for things and hit his early milestones. Usually, a rattle or two will do the trick, and mom and baby will soon have a favorite.
12 Stop Worrying About The Hat
As soon as the nurses clean up the baby in the hospital, they will wrap them in a blanket and put a tiny hat on their head. That's because newborns are notorious for having trouble maintaining their body temperature. A hat can help them to keep warm, so sometimes they end up with a hat before they get a diaper on.
But newborns get better each day at holding their own temperature, and by the second month, a head covering isn't essential. It's still important to put on a hat when going outside when it's cold, but moms don't have to stress about the hat so much at home.
11 Stop Waking For Feedings (If Thriving)
In the beginning, the baby needs to eat around the clock. As a mom's body is still working to produce milk, it can be difficult to get the baby to put on some meat. So it's vital that the baby gets fed every two hours, even if that means waking the baby from a deep sleep to do so.
That schedule can be really difficult for the first several weeks, but getting the all clear report from the doctor can change everything. The baby still needs to eat every three hours or so, but having a reprieve from waking the baby up to eat can make a big difference in getting through the second month.
10 Stop Holding Out On Mom Naps
For a few weeks after the birth, moms run on adrenaline. They get a dose of endorphins during the birth that can propel them through the first few sleepless nights watching to make sure that the baby is breathing. With feedings every two hours, it isn't long before the adrenaline wears off and the mom is simply exhausted.
Some women fight the urge to take a nap, thinking that they should be taking care of the baby and their domestic responsibilities night and day. But there is a reason that people encourage moms to sleep when the baby sleeps, and by the second month, the mom needs to give in and take a nap.
9 Outgrowing Baby Mittens
Teeny tiny baby mittens are really cute, but moms soon learn that they are also really handy in that first month. Lots of babies are born with long, sharp fingernails, and when they move their little hands around, they end up cutting their poor faces.
Cutting the baby's fingernails can be really intimidating, especially in the first month, so the mittens can be real life-savers. Unfortunately, babies outgrow them really fast, sometimes by month two. We recommend that moms try to sand down those sharp nails as best they can so that the baby doesn't end up hurting himself accidentally.
8 Don't Forget About Those Baby Teeth
We understand how moms forget about brushing the baby's teeth in the first month — after all, there aren't any teeth yet. But oral hygiene is really important, and doctors recommend that parents pay attention as soon as they can.
By month two, most parents have started to get into a routine with the baby, and that includes a night time routine, even if the baby is only sleeping for a few hours at a stretch. Incorporating a wipe down of the baby's mouth is a good idea. It can help cut down on the germs and be the beginning of caring for the teeth that will come a few months later.
7 Chill Out On The Over-Sanitizing
When anyone enters a house with a new baby, they will surely be handed a bottle of hand sanitizer right away. That is a good thing since hand washing is the best protection from germs to keep the baby as healthy as possible. But by month two, the over-sanitizing needs to end.
It's still important to protect the baby from germs and bar visitors who are sick, but babies have to develop their immune system as well. Moms and dads need to wash their hands after diaper changes and such, but they don't have to constantly be sanitizing everything they come across.
6 It's Time To Stop Putting Off Babyproofing
While moms are pregnant, often families start to prepare for the baby's arrival at home. But they mostly focus on putting together the nursery. After birth, it's time to start shifting the attention to babyproofing.
In the first month, the baby isn't very mobile, but he'll start turning over before long, and other milestones come soon afterward. That means that the outlets need covers, the cords for the blinds and the computers need to be moved out of reach and the baby gate needs to be purchased. It's okay to babyproof in stages as the baby grows, but it's time to stop putting it off.
5 No More Constant Calls To Pediatrician
Moms have lots of questions after the birth of their baby. It's understandable, but it means that every hiccup—literally—can cause moms and dads to call the pediatrician to make sure that their little one is okay. Sometimes that means a lot of late-night calls to the answering service.
But after a month, most parents start to settle into their role. They might overreact to sniffles, but they won't call constantly. For some families, it takes longer than others, but the baby can seem a little less fragile and moms can feel a little more capable by the second month.
4 Stop Waiting To Pump
Establishing a good breastfeeding relationship is very important in the first month after birth. The mom's body is producing milk and starting to toughen up to go through the strain of nursing, and the baby is getting the hang of the latch. By month two, though, a mom who is planning to go back to work needs to start pumping.
The timing changes depending on how much of a maternity leave a woman has and how her body is doing with the milk supply. But for those with six weeks of maternity leave, she will likely need at least two weeks of pumping to have enough bottles in the fridge.
3 Don't Put Off Adult Time
In the first several weeks after the baby's birth, the life of the parents revolves around the baby. That's certainly understandable, and many people end up growing closer together as a couple as they work together as parents. But by month two, it's time to start putting a little more attention on adult time.
We're not necessarily talking about bedroom time since doctors recommend women wait at least six weeks to return to that kind of activity. But a partner can feel lonely if they don't get any attention compared to the baby. Eventually, couples will find a balance, but we recommend it start around month two.
2 No More Counting Diapers
In those first few weeks after birth, moms keep track of everything. In the hospital, nurses even have them fill out charts to show the importance of logging feedings and diapers. But if the baby is thriving, the need to count diapers constantly is over by the second month.
Don't get us wrong; moms should be aware in general if her baby is filling the diaper, and they should let the doctor know right away if there aren't eight or so diaper changes a day. But by now, changing has become a routine, and it doesn't need to be logged every time.
1 If Help Is There — Take It!
During the first month after the birth of a baby, a lot of parents run on adrenalin. They are so excited to welcome a new little life that they can power their way through exhaustion and stress. But by month two, things start to catch up with them, and it's hard to get through the day.
Most women go through the baby blues due to hormones, and a lot of women suffer from postpartum depression. After a month, it's time for women to consider asking for help if they need it. Most family and friends—and definitely medical professionals—are willing to help, and there is no guilt in asking for it.