Being a new parent is a roller coaster of emotions like no other. You feel excitement, nervousness and anticipation going through the 9 months of pregnancy, and before you know it, your little one is here. As first-time parents, the most common and normal emotion to feel is stress and worry. But remember, all parents make mistakes. What’s important is knowing which ones to avoid and which ones are part-and-parcel of learning the ropes. Read up about the 10 mistakes new parents make in the first year of their parenting journey, so you’re a better-prepared parent.
1. Worrying Too Much
Yes, we’re starting with the one thing that troubles a parent throughout their lives – all the worrying! As we said, worrying for your little one is exceedingly common. This is even more true for new parents, who take so long just to get comfortable with holding their babies! What makes it worse is that your baby is too small to be able to communicate anything. Naturally, when all you have is crying and behavior to decipher, things can get stressful. However, there’s a limit up to which worrying stays healthy and relevant.
Firstly, all your stress and anxiety can be felt by your baby. It’s true that a baby gets affected by a mother’s tension when in the womb. But an infant can also sense when all is not well with the parents, especially if you’re constantly worrying and stressing. Secondly, if there’s anything new parents need, it’s sleep and rest. The sleepless nights can take a toll, and constantly worrying only worsens the impact. Lastly, by worrying so much, you’re forgetting to cherish your baby’s first year of life. Consult with a pediatrician for anything health-related, and follow your gut to keep the worry at bay.
2. Comparing Growth Milestones
New parents will often end up feeling like no one around them can relate, except of course, other new parents! But the danger that comes with constantly doing this is that you land up comparing your baby to theirs. You’ll obsessively discuss baby milestones, trying to ensure that your baby is growing normally while also trying to spot signs of developmental problems. This is a big mistake that can lead you to panic and worrying for no reason.
The only person who can accurately tell you if your baby is medically fine is a pediatrician. They do so with the help of growth charts, and learning how to read them is something you should do if you often obsess about your baby’s growth.
3. Proper Sleeping Positions
You might be wondering what we’re talking about with this point, and rightly so. After all, the tradition in India when it comes to infants is co-sleeping. The question of cots or cribs has only come into the picture recently. Whatever you choose, ensure one thing – that your baby sleeps on their back.
Almost all new parents may know about SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While largely unexplained, studies show the undoubted link between SIDS and sleeping wrong. Putting your baby to sleep in a cot or crib (and not next to you in bed) keeps them safe from any unpleasant and devastating accidents. This isn’t it – along with sleeping on their back, ensure that they sleep on a firm, flat mattress. Avoid piling toys into the crib with them, and avoid any sort of cushioning on either side.
4. Stressing Over Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an intrinsically maternal thing to do with physical as well as emotional benefits. But a very normal truth that is treated as taboo is that it’s an experience that varies for every mother. While some want to but can’t, others choose not to, and some soon grow weary of it. All of these are perfectly normal situations, which is why you should avoid getting too worked up about it.
Bottle-feeding is a perfectly reasonable alternative to breastfeeding. You should consult with a lactation consultant if you have any concerns or issues with breastfeeding. Most importantly, not breastfeeding for whatever reason does not make you any less of a mother to your baby.
5. Neglecting Oral Hygiene
Most new parents completely neglect oral hygiene for their infants. You’re probably under the assumption that there’s no need for it. After all, your infant only has gums to start with, and their baby teeth fall out at some point. However, this is one of those mistakes new parents make in the first year that can have lasting life-long effects.
For one, you need to wipe the baby’s gums gently with a soft washcloth after you finish feeding them. Additionally, once their teeth start to erupt, avoid giving them milk at bedtime. This is one of the leading causes of baby bottle tooth decay. This, in turn, can lead to severe infections in the mouth. Baby teeth also help your baby when they’re learning how to smile, chew and speak. Decayed teeth can lead to adult teeth that grow crookedly.
You must also start with brushing their teeth lightly without toothpaste once they turn 1. Finally, ask your dentist about fluoride supplements and how to ensure your kid’s teeth get all the fluoride they need.
6. Not Burping Properly
Not burping their baby properly is one of the key mistakes new parents make in the first year. The reason for this is that most of the time, especially in the initial months, new parents are nervous about handling their newborn. The fear of holding them wrong, accidentally letting them slip or hurting them is too overwhelming. The result? You quickly place them back down after a feed.
But not burping your baby properly will have unpleasant consequences for them as well as you. The trapped gas will cause them to spit up, losing some of the milk and soiling their clothes. Or, it remains trapped, causing the baby a lot of pain and discomfort. There are several burping techniques you can choose from, and some even have you placing the baby on your lap.
7. Not Ensuring Baby Safety At Home
Between the newborn stage of diapers, cloths and cushions, and the baby-proofing stage with a toddler, there’s something essential. Most parents would want things like a diaper drawer and changing station around the house when there’s an infant around. But what about the other things you leave around the place? Your newborn will very quickly start to grow increasingly inquisitive and will be reaching out for things as soon as 3 to 4 months. It is at this stage that we see one of the common mistakes new parents make in the first year.
There’s a very real danger to leaving things around your baby, especially small things like coins, buttons, and pills. A baby’s grip can be quite strong, and rest assured that most of what they see and touch will go into their mouth at some point. Keep small objects out of reach, and also ensure the baby’s toys are completely soft and devoid of small hard objects or edges. Never leave them unattended unless they’re in their crib with safe toys around them. Even then, keep checking in on them.
8. Not Letting Them Cry
One of the common mistakes new parents make in the first year is rushing to their baby as soon as they hear them cry. We associate crying with something being wrong, with negative emotions like hurt or pain. And, it’s understandable that you don’t want your baby to be in any sort of discomfort. Plus, hearing a baby cry isn’t easy. But remember, infants have no other way to communicate!
Crying is just part of being a baby, and doesn’t always denote something being wrong. If your baby has been inconsolable for over an hour, has a slight fever, has a rash, is not feeding, has a swollen belly, or shows any other uncommon behavior, contact your pediatrician immediately.
9. Trusting Unreliable Sources For Parenting Advice
A somewhat harsh truth about parenting is that it invites unsolicited, unnecessary advice from practically everyone. But this can quickly become dangerous if you’re taking advice from the wrong source. The biggest culprit has to be the internet, where any and every health-related search will pull up drastic causes that almost always warn about potential death. More so, the internet is a place where anyone and everyone can put up falsified information, whether or not they’re parents.
Your family and close friends whom you trust can be your sources of information. But, above them is a medical health professional who knows a baby’s body and health even more than you do.
10. Neglecting Your Marriage
When there’s an infant to care for, and you and your partner are tired and sleep-deprived, tempers can flare. Not giving enough time to your marriage is one of the unintentional mistakes new parents make in the first year of exhaustion that is parenting. Make sure you and your partner take a few seconds whenever you can to bond over the fact that this is your little baby. Communicate things to each other, particularly when you need a little help because you’re too tired.
Don’t stop yourself or your partner from asking for help, whether that’s from a friend or your parents. Finally, make sure you consciously make time for each other, even if it’s for something as simple as a quiet shared meal or cuddling with each other while holding your baby.
These are just 10 mistakes new parents make in the first year; you’re bound to make more! But parenting is all about learning as you go, so don’t be discouraged when you mess up. Remember to keep consulting your pediatrician for anything baby-related, and remember to enjoy this new, daunting yet beautiful journey. Finally, don’t be afraid to turn to technology for a helping hand – from milestone tracking to nutrition charts to immunization schedules, the ImmunifyMe app can help you with it all.
FAQs On Mistakes New Parents Make In The First Year
What Do New Parents Struggle With The Most?
Among other things, new parents struggle with a lack of sleep, being unable to get time for themselves and each other, and clashing over their new roles as parents.
What Are Some Common Mistakes That Parents Make?
Some common mistakes parents all over the world tend to make are not communicating with their kids, expecting too much from their kids, leaving problems unfixed and not hearing their children out.
How Long Does It Take For New Parents To Adjust?
New parents can take anywhere from a few months to a year to adjust to their new role as parents. Taking longer to adjust doesn’t make you a bad parent, but you may need to revisit your parenting since you most likely need a helping hand.
What Are The Worst Mistakes Parents Can Make?
Some of the biggest mistakes parents can make are not setting boundaries with their kids, not letting their children feel respected, expecting their children to do everything their way and disallowing any freedom, and not doing things together as a family.