Having a newborn can be the most amazing experience you will ever have. At the same time, it can be nerve-racking when you think of all the things that you must learn, understand, and do as a new mom.
After all, you are now responsible for the well-being of this beautiful and fragile human being, and any mistake could potentially be harmful to your baby.
When you know the mistakes that seasoned mamas have already made, you will make a conscious decision to avoid them.
Here are some mistakes you should avoid when you have a newborn.
1. Taking advice from everyone
When you are expecting a baby, it’s normal to get anxious. People will give you all sorts of advice, both solicited and unsolicited.
Some of them may mean well and others may not know better. This can be confusing.
The key is being able to distinguish between what you should and should not apply.
If a friend tells you to sleep with your newborn on your bed, your sister suggests the baby should sleep in the nursery, and your neighbor says you should have the baby in his or her crib in your bedroom, what do you do?
Always follow your intuition because you know what’s best for your baby. If in doubt, consult your pediatrician or maybe a baby sleep consultant will guide you better.
2. Following a Strict Schedule & Not feeding on demand
In the early weeks, your baby needs to eat frequently to gain weight and get accustomed to feeding through a nipple.
You can have a schedule for feedings, however it’s important to also feed your baby when it seems like they are hungry. Even if it is between feedings on your schedule, if your baby is screaming, go ahead and feed him.
It’s also important not to let your baby sleep for a long time without feeding.
You may feel like it’s a blessing to have a newborn sleep through the night and it can be hard to set your alarm for 2am to make sure you’re up for a feeding, however it must be done.
When a newborn sleeps through the night and fails to eat at intervals, they may become dehydrated and even shed some weight. Therefore, wake up the baby up after no more than 4 hours to feed.
3. Improper sleeping positions
One of the things many parents struggle with is which sleeping position to put their child in.
According to research, some sleeping positions (such as sleeping on the side or tummy) increase the risk of Sudden Infant death (SID). This is because these positions can make it difficult for a newborn to breathe properly, which might lead to death.
The safest position for your baby is on their back.
As they grow and start rolling over, they might sleep on their tummy too. However, always confirm with your pediatrician, depending on which stage your child is in.
Related Post: Tips for Newborn Sleep
4. Not burping the baby
Babies need to burp frequently because they eat frequently. They take in plenty of air while learning how to suckle on the nipple and that air needs to leave their bodies. The air they have breathed in can cause gas build up that they will need to relieve.
Therefore, if you don’t make your baby burp, they’re likely to spit out the milk. Although this is typically just annoying because you will be cleaning up spit up all the time, it can also be dangerous if they choke on it while sleeping.
They might feel pain later on because of the air build up in their bodies. If your child sleeps after feeding and wakes up an hour later yelling in pain, there’s a high chance you didn’t help them burp.
Parents have different methods of making their baby burp.
Some parents place the newborn over their shoulder while rubbing the baby’s back; others place the baby across their laps and pat the newborn’s back while others perform several exercises aimed at helping the baby burp. Find a method that works best for you.
Experts recommend doing this before and after you feed the baby.
5. Falling asleep with your baby on you
Just like any new mom, you’re going to be exhausted for those first few weeks or even months. It’s imperative to fit in a snooze whenever you can.
However, it is highly unsafe to let yourself fall asleep while holding your baby. Even newborns can wiggle around and roll right off of you without you knowing.
There have been incidents where babies roll off the couch and hit their head or get wedged in between a cushion or the mother’s body. Always make sure to remain awake while your baby is sleeping on you to ensure that they are safe.
6. Refusing help
It is common to find parents refusing help from others because they believe that they know best how to care for their newborn.
The truth is, parenthood is a new journey that you’re still trying to navigate. Some have gone through the experience, and they can teach you a thing or two.
Therefore, it’s okay to accept help when it’s offered or to ask for it. You will learn a lot from the people around you and the breaks will help to keep you sane.
So, next time, your sister offers to watch the baby as you sleep, say yes, and thank you.
7. Not trying different methods when they are crying
When babies start crying, we may think that we are doing everything in our power to make them stop. If they don’t, it drives us crazy, wondering what could be wrong.
Sometimes, the only things you might try to get them to stop crying is feeding and diaper changes. There are other reasons that your baby may be crying.
If the baby is not hungry, has clean diapers, and doesn’t have any symptoms of an illness like vomiting and fever, but they’re still crying, it’s okay to allow them to cry.
However, try other methods to soothe them like giving them a pacifier if they need to suck, walk around while holding them in different positions, rock them, bounce them, sing to them, play with them, check if something is making them uncomfortable, etc.
Related post: 16 Tips to Soothe A Crying Baby
8. Shaking the baby
When parents and caretakers fail to stop a baby from crying, it’s possible to get really frustrated. This can result in an adult shaking the baby to get them to stop.
This action is extremely dangerous because it can cause shaken baby syndrome. The syndrome refers to a condition where the brain gets injured as a result of violently shaking a child.
A newborn’s brain and blood vessels are weak and the act of shaking them can make the brain hit the interior part of their skull.
This condition can lead to intense brain damage and even death. Therefore, avoid shaking your baby at all.
Having a newborn comes with a lot of challenges, responsibilities, and a million items on your to-do list.
You don’t need to panic. Just watch out for these mistakes and provided your baby is safe; you’ll get the hang of it along the way. All the best in your parenting journey!
Click here for more new mom advice on how to handle our newborn and keep your sanity.