Welcoming a new baby into the world is a life-changing event, an event that leads to a rollercoaster of emotions. New parents are unbelievably excited to meet their new little one and are in kind of a bubble of happiness when she first arrives. A bubble that feels like nobody or nothing can pop.
When the parents are still in the hospital, they stare at their little one with awe and wonder, and they marvel at the adventures that await… And then suddenly, before they know it, it’s time to head home, with their newborn baby in tow, and while they are still excited, the realization that they are now completely and 100% responsible for that little being starts to set in.
Their excitement and happiness starts to become mixed with fear and trepidation. When they arrive at home and are all alone – just mommy, daddy, and baby – they may feel that happiness bubble that they were in starting to slowly leak as they start to understand just how challenging having a new baby can be.
No matter how many baby and parenting books they have read before the little one arrives, no matter how prepared they think they are, many new parents are smacked in the face by the stark reality that is having a baby.
Yes, it’s wonderful, yes, it’s amazing, and yes, it is can be difficult. Trying to get the hang of the whole parenting gig and sleep deprivation can lead to a lot of bloopers – especially during that first week home with the baby. Some of those mistakes can be comical, and some can be downright dangerous. Here’s a look at 15 of the dumbest things that people have done during their first week in their new role as parents.
13 Cluttered Crib Space
Yes, a bed filled with pillows and blankets seems like absolute heaven for an adult, however, for a newborn, it can be downright dangerous.
A bassinet or a crib filled with blankets, pillows and plush, friendly stuffed animals may look cozy and comfortable, and baby may look absolutely adorable lying in a bed with all of these things, that sleeping space can be extremely hazardous. Heaven forbid she pulls the blanket up over her head or she rolls over while she is sleeping (yes, a newborn may roll over) and pushes her face up against a pillow or stuffed animal and can’t breathe!
One of the leading causes of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is allowing a baby to sleep with loose items. Blankets, pillows and stuffed animals can all cause suffocation, which is why medical experts warn against these and other loose items in a bassinet, a crib or any other space. Despite the warnings, however, many new parents still allow their newborns to sleep with these items.
12 Microwaving The Baby's Bottle
Parents who bottle feed their babies often make the mistake of putting the bottle in the microwave to heat it up. This is a big no-no!
Of course, baby is going to want to drink a warm bottle, but heating it up in the microwave is a bad idea. Whether it’s pumped breast milk or formula, putting it in the microwave is a bad idea for two reasons:
- It can zap vital nutrients out of the breast milk or formula
- It can cause uneven heating, which can lead to hot spots that can potentially burn the baby
Instead of microwaving the bottle, place it in a bottle warmer, or a bowl or pot of hot water for a few minutes. And, always, always test the bottle out before giving it to baby to make sure it isn’t scalding.
11 Allowing Baby To Sleep On Their Stomach
If you haven't heard of the back to sleep campaign, then you're most likely a new mom. This campaign has been running for years in an effort to teach new parents the dangers of SIDS and what causes it.
Back is best for babies, not only when they are sleeping, but whenever they are lying down and are not being closely monitored (mom has to take a quick shower or use the bathroom and can’t hold the baby, for example.)
Research has found that placing newborns on their backs significantly reduces the chance of SIDS. When they are placed on their bellies, there is a much greater change that they could smother themselves. Yes, they should certainly have tummy time, but that time should be closely monitored to ensure that little ones are safe.
10 Improperly Securing Baby In The Car Seat
This is a mistake that parents of all experience levels – new and veteran – do: Strapping little ones into car seats incorrectly.
While new parents may not be taking many trips during the first week of baby’s life, they may have to get in the car to go to the pediatrician, for example. When it comes to strapping baby into the car seat, there is a right way and a wrong way… The buckle that secures the five-point harness should be placed over the rib cage, not over the belly.
Because heaven forbid there is an accident, the rib cage will protect the vital organs from the pressure of the buckle. If the buckle is placed over the belly, there is a greater change of internal damage in the event of an accident.
9 Taking Baby Out
Nobody is saying that new parents should become hermits and that their babies must be indoors all the time. However, it is wise to use caution when taking a newborn out into public.
Their little immune systems are practically non-existent, which means that newborns are much more susceptible to illnesses. Taking a baby out and about the first week (say, to a restaurant, a mall, or even to a grocery store) isn’t the wisest idea, yet many new parents do.
Sure, new parents can go out for a stroll around the block (it’s good for everyone, including baby,) but going out to a place where there are a lot of people and a lot of germs increases the risk that baby will come down with something. And, even something as simple as a common cold can be devastating for a newborn.
8 Sleep Training
Nobody wants to sleep more than new parents, but sleep is truly a luxury and something that many new parents will not be able to enjoy, for quite some time, anyway.
Why are new parents so sleep deprived? – Because newborns don’t understand the difference between night and day, and because they eat every few hours. Hence, just as the new mom and dad are drifting off into dreamland, the baby wakes up and needs to be tended to, which means that mom and dad aren’t going to be getting a lot of solid sleep.
Though there is a lot of controversy surrounding sleep training (some people swear by it, while others think that it doesn’t work and is cruel,) if it is something that parents want to try, it should definitely not take place until the baby is several months old. Trying to sleep train a baby that is only a few days old will not only prove to be unsuccessful (newborns just do not sleep for long stretches, and only time will change that,) but it can also be harmful for baby.
7 Having Too Many Expectations
Expectation are completely normal for all parents – both new and experienced – to want to feel like they are succeeding at the whole parenting thing. In order to feel accomplished and successful, many parents put too many expectations on themselves. Doing so isn’t a good thing for any parent. However, for new parents, expecting too much of themselves can spell disaster.
Taking care of a newborn is a major undertaking in and of itself, adding anything else to the list can make things really challenging. Expecting that they are going to be able to get a routine mastered in just one week, as well as keep the house neat and in order, and tend to other things can make a new mommy and daddy overwhelmed, frazzled, and just miserable.
6 Doing Too Much
Welcoming a new baby into the world is a life-altering event. It takes quite a bit of getting used to, and it requires a lot of attention, patience and dedication. However, many new parents make the mistake of trying to do too much the first week after the baby is home.
In addition to caring for the baby, mamas are recovering from childbirth, and dads have a lot on their plates trying to take care of their recovering spouses’ and their new babies. One of the dumbest things that new parents can do, especially the first week after having a baby, is try to do too much.
Calendars shouldn’t be full of things to do, and plans should not be made (except a visit to the pediatrician) during that first week. The only things that new parents should really try to do is care for the baby and try to get used to their new role.
5 Not Accepting Help When It's Offered
For many new parents, it can be difficult to accept help, especially for parents who like to be self-sufficient and are real go-getters. Some couples feel like accepting help is like saying they're not capable of looking after their own child, but to anyone on the outside that's hardly true at all. However, there does come a time when everyone needs a little help, and having a newborn is one of those times.
New parents often turn down offers for help, thinking that they can do it all, and to be frank, that’s just dumb. Whether it’s letting grandma hold the baby so they can nap or shower, or it’s allowing an aunt or a friend cook dinner and clean up the house, help is an offer that all new parents should take advantage of. Having a newborn can be challenging, so new parents: Don’t be silly and turn away the offers; accept it with open arms!
4 Care Way Too Much About Others Opinions
For some reason, many new parents get caught up with this idea that they are supposed to be absolutely perfect, and they feel like other people are constantly watching them to make sure that they are, well, perfect. And thanks to social media, now more people are watching than ever before.
Despite being absolutely exhausted, the whirlwind of emotions, the chaos and the absolute insanity (there really is no other way to say it) that being a new parent can be. So many people try to maintain this idea of perfection in order to appease others. To create the illusion that everything is, in fact, perfect, new parents will straighten up the house, prepare a big spread and make sure that everything looks magazine-perfect before someone stops by to visit…
Listen, caring too much about what others think isn’t healthy, and to be honest, it’s kind of dumb. The only opinions new parents should care about are the baby’s (and a newborn doesn’t have much of an opinion,) and each other’s.
3 Overstimulating The New Baby
Reading, singing, tummy time, mobiles… Yes, stimulation is a good thing for babies, as it aids their cognitive and physical development, but many rookie parents make the mistake of over-stimulating their babies, and they can start doing so the first week the baby is born.
Nobody is saying that there is anything wrong with stimulation, but there is such a thing as too much – especially for newborns. During that first week of life (the first several weeks, actually,) there is so much the world that surrounds a baby is stimulating in and of itself.
She is trying to get acclimated to her surroundings, her parents, eating and sleeping. She is trying to figure out what those things are at the end of her arms and legs. Heck, she's trying to figure out what hands and legs are! Add much more to the mix of the busy world around her and a newborn can get over-stimulated and it may be too much for her to process, which can lead to irritability and an unhappy, unsettled baby.
2 Having Too Many Visitors
There is something about a newborn baby that people can’t resist. Those little ones bring so much excitement and joy, and everyone seems to want to gobble it up – who can blame them! Let’s be honest, new babies really are incredible. Have a baby and people will start coming out of the woodwork and lining up at the door to visit, and while it’s awesome that everyone wants to visit, for new parents – and the new little one – that’s not always a good thing.
Many new parents make the mistake of welcoming too many visitors into their homes when they first bring the baby home. Given the fact that new parents are often sleep deprived, overwhelmed and just trying to get adjusted to their new gig, coupled with the fact that newborns have such delicate immune systems, having too many people visit can actually be detrimental.
1 Waking A Sleeping Baby
Everyone has heard the saying, “Don’t wake a sleeping baby,” yet so many new parents overlook this advice, especially during the first week. Listen, there’s a reason why that saying exists, and many new parents who decide to wake their sleeping baby find out the hard way.
Babies are ‘supposed’ to eat every 2 to 3 hours, but just like everything in life and with people of all ages, this varies from baby to baby. Yes, newborns do eat every 2 to 3 hours, but they can go for longer stretches. The fear of doing something that will harm the baby is so great in so many new parents that they strictly abide by the 2 to 3 hours feeding ‘rule’ (it’s not really a rule; just a general guideline.)
Despite the fact that their newborn is sleeping peacefully, when new parents realize that it’s been – gasp – 4 hours since baby last ate – they wake the little one up to eat… And that can end up being a huge mistake (cue screaming baby who will not get settled, and who refuses to eat.)
Sources: Babycenter, What To Expect, Fit Pregnancy