July 29, 2017

Most Common Mistakes Made By Parents

It’s actually fine that babies don’t come with manuals because really, nobody ever reads those things anyway. Making mistakes as a new parent is rarely life-threatening, either to you or your infant, and all parents seem to say the same thing when their kids leave home – “I wish I’d worried less and enjoyed more.”

That being said, there are some common mistakes that almost all new parents make, which can be avoided with a little knowledge and planning. We’ve split them into the four health dimensions because one way or another, most mistakes will take a bite out of you (or your infant) general wellbeing.

Physical Health

  • Waking up babies to check on them. You’ll do anything to get your baby to sleep and then as soon as they’re out, you start worrying there’s something wrong. Babies don’t like being woken up in the middle of a sound sleep any better than you do, so allow them to sleep soundly. Even breast-fed babies are capable of sleeping through the night and will wake themselves up if they need feeding.
  • Confusing vomiting with spit-up. All babies regurgitate - it’s just part of their charm. Vomiting, however, can indicate a problem that needs to be checked by a healthcare professional. If your baby is vomiting long after a meal, or at regular intervals, that’s not just spit-up and you need to take it seriously.
  • Not installing the car seat correctly. This is the manual you must read. If you’re not 100% sure you’ve installed the seat correctly, get help from someone who knows what they’re doing.
  • Ignoring a fever. Babies have a really hard time handling a fever, so if their temperature is up above 100, don’t wait to see a doctor.

Mental Health

  • Believing everything you hear. Want to make yourself crazy? Try following every piece of free advice you’re getting from family members, friends, complete strangers and social media. At some point, you just have to shut it off.
  • Thinking that crying means something’s wrong. You will tear your hair out if you feel compelled to find a “reason” for every bellow. Babies cry. They do it a lot. Until they develop other means of communicating with you, that’s all they’ve got.
  • Not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a greater threat to your mental health than it is to your physical wellbeing. You’re probably more than a little strung out by the sudden upheaval a new baby has brought to your life, and losing sleep isn’t going to help with depression, anxiety or stress. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and share the overnight shift if you can. Nothing is going to make you feel better than an unbroken period of REM.
  • Turning down offers to help. Being a new parent can be lonely, isolating and frightening. If someone offers to help, let them.

Emotional Health

  • Worrying about every bodily function. Your baby is going to absorb whatever you’re feeling for the first few months, so if you fret and fuss, so will they. For the most part, laid-back parents are rewarded with (almost) laid-back babies.
  • Making your relationship wait. Putting your relationship on the back-burner doesn’t make a lot of sense. There is no “later”. The baby and the partnership are going to have to learn to get along, and your emotional well-being depends on feeling loved, appreciated and secure.
  • Fighting in front of the baby. Again, babies are little emotional sponges and while they might not understand the meaning of harsh words, they will certainly feel the sentiment. Get into the habit of working out your differences in your own space because it’s something you’re definitely going to want to do as your child gets older.
  • Putting Your Needs Last. There’s a reason why they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting a child when you’re on a plane. If you can’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to look after your little one.

Spiritual Health

  • Staying home all the time. This is the single biggest trap all new parents seem to fall into. Leaving the house seems daunting. What if the baby cries and bothers other people? What about feeding, changing, and nap time? What if they catch a cold? Take a deep breath and open the door. Just go. And if you didn’t make it past the end of the block today, you will tomorrow…
  • Not enjoying the Moment. Believe it or not, there will come a time, in the very near future, when you won’t remember having a baby that couldn’t talk. All those important milestones are going to flash by, and you’ll want to experience each fleeting one to the fullest. Take the time to be mindful, and if you think meditation is out of the question, check this out: Meditation with Your Baby

One last thing....Both you and your baby’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health will suffer if you start comparing them to someone else’s. You made this unique little person with their own rhythms, talents, and foibles.

Take a breath. Just enjoy.

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