Common Mistakes Made by First Time Parents
Being a first time parent is, to say the least, nerve wrecking for many because of its new terrain and most people have no clue what to expect. Be that as it may, most first time parents are excited about their new roles. They definitely want to do the best for their baby, in spite of the challenges they know they will face. Sometimes, despite only wanting the best and despite all the good intentions they may have, new born parents still end up making mistakes. There is a first time for everything, they say. Well, definitely. And that includes making booboos while trying to pass Parenting 101. There is nothing to feel embarrassed about, if you happen to be one of those parents who don’t quite have a firm grasp on being a parent yet. Very few people come out unscathed during their first time as parents. Everyone has made a booboo or two... or 10. These are some of the mistakes common to first time parents and tips on dealing with them.
Having unnecessary anxiety
People have been having and raising babies since time immemorial, but for some reason many new parent panics unnecessarily. This causes them to sweat the small stuff like a simple cough or a rash and even worrying that the child is not crying enough. While it is true that real health challenges and serious ailments may call for concern and worry, healthy babies have been known to exhibit different types of symptoms like colic and diarrhea. You need to let go a little bit and learn to relax. You cannot control everything. Know that spitting up and vomiting are few of the things a baby does, though admittedly they are a bit scary. Do not, however, be overly anxious since babies can pick up on your anxiety.
Yes, being a new parent can become too worrisome. With that said, you should also accept that raising a child should be a positive experience. Being anxious over every little thing will get in the way of you enjoying your baby’s first months. Babies are actually tougher than we give them credit for.
Bottom line is that, once you have taken care of yourself through the pregnancy and once the baby is born, all you really need to do and all you really can do is give them food, shelter, clothing and all the loving. They should be fine. They cry here and there, but as long as you take care of the basics, they grow like weeds; the best thing is to concentrate on spending time with them and enjoying this period of their lives because it goes by so fast.
Underestimating the power of routines
Being home with an infant is no easy task. Sure, it looked easy when other people did it. It is not. It is more akin to getting a new job except you have a smaller human as a boss. Probably more demanding, too. The key here is not to overestimate your free time. If you are a first time parent, you need to set a routine and follow it religiously. This will help you and your baby tremendously. Babies are strongly influenced by the environment around them, and a daily routine will greatly affect how well you manage them. They are creatures of habit and routines make them feel secure, which translates to fewer problems, such as crying or not eating, for you.
Remember that a baby does not simply fit into your old life. You have to carve out an entirely new life, now that you have a baby. Setting a routine and schedule will help you feel as if you still have some level of control. The routine will also help you as a new parent to cope with the challenges of parenthood with ease because you will have fewer issues to deal with, and more time to spend with your spouse or by yourself recharging.
Foregoing your happiness and your relationship
This brings us to the next mistake, forgetting about your needs and those of your partner. It is truly challenging to transition from a carefree life with just you and your partner to a completely new life where you become both responsible for the life of your baby. Marital troubles are bound to arise. Stress that could put tension on your relationship is normal. But your marriage should not take a backseat in your life. You have to make it a priority along with taking good care of your baby. Staying connected as a couple in your partnership is very important.
Any weakness in your relationship can easily be amplified when there is a child involved. You have to be able to maintain your partnership. Babies can pick up on the negativity. Make a habit out of focusing on each other, as well. You both need to nurture each other so that life does not become mechanical and that you can maintain happiness in your relationship. A happy person will make a good parent. Make sure to make some time for you and your partner at least once a week, without the baby. Spend quality time together. Don’t shut each other out. Share the load of being parents. Let your partner do his part without hovering and being overly critical.
The fact is, babies need their parents to get along. Even if you are a single parent he/she needs to know that the people around him/her are getting along. For some reason, they pick up on negative vibes and this makes them irritable. Handling your relationships well is not only suitable for you, but for your baby, as well. It’s common for partners to neglect each other at this time, but this is wrong as it is the time when you need each other the most in order to enjoy the birth of your child and get through any rough patches with ease.
Listening to others and ignoring your instincts
This is your child, and they have a unique connection to you that instinctively helps you to nurture them in the way that is best for them. A classic parenting mistake is going to the wrong places for parenting advice. Many first time parents suppress their instincts and listen to the people around them excessively. This is wrong because each child is different. Your child won’t behave like that of another because you mimic their parenting style. Do not compare your baby’s development with that of others. Every baby has his own pace.
Expected milestones from developmental charts are merely averages and as long as your baby is within the normal range, do not fret too much about it. Learn to take criticism and advice with a pinch of salt and concentrate on knowing your child and how to relate to them. Do not believe everything you hear. Everyone in your life who has had a baby will naturally want to offer you an advice or two. Thank them graciously for their offering but keep in mind that the only option that really matters is what your instinct tells you. If you follow each advice that everyone else is giving you, you will be taking away from yourself the chance to fully explore what probably will be the most creative role that you would ever have in your life.
Read all you can about babies and listen to advice from others, but make decisions based on your baby and your parental instincts. This will save you a lot of anxiety and unnecessary action. Instead of consulting other parents, try reading up on general medical care for babies on WebMD.com and the American Academy of Pediatrics instead. These are reputable sources that can come in useful when you are making decisions about the proper childcare for your baby.
Not getting enough rest
It is pretty common to mistake staying up while the baby is asleep to do other chores as a good thing. Maybe even industrious. It is so hard to resist finishing all those chores when you finally have your hands free. There always seems so many things to do. According to studies, new parents suffer a loss of 400 to 750 hours of sleep during the first 12 months of their baby. That is a lot. If you don’t get enough rest, you will soon find yourself so exhausted that you are dropping a plate or two when you are cleaning up. God forbid you drop the baby. Get enough rest. Snooze daily while your baby is resting. On the weekends, do take a long nap to be able to properly recuperate. Do not underestimate the power of sleep. When you are well rested, you are energized enough to actually enjoy what should be one of the happiest time in your life.
Failing to stick to a budget
As new parents, it is quite easy to lose one’s ground when it comes to wanting to provide everything for the baby. An average of $6200 is how much a baby will cost you in his first year. That is $6200 worth of clothes, food, diaper, strollers, furniture and all the other baby essentials. Going inside a local baby store can leave your checkbook significantly thinner than when you came in. When going shopping, be sure to take along with you an experienced parent who can show you the ins and outs of buying only what your baby actually needs. Minimize the desire to shop for cute baby clothes that they will outgrow in days. Skip on the numerous toys that are tempting to purchase. They will be happily contented with just one. It is best to save your money for the future of your baby, like his college tuition for instance.
Not taking enough souvenirs
Your baby will go through a number of milestones, and while you are honest to goodness sure that you will never forget each moment, odds are, you will. Watching a baby grow is like watching the world go by in time-lapse. It goes by quickly, and in a flurry. One day when your baby has grown into a young adult, you would want to look back on his infancy. Luckily, these days, keeping track of your baby’s milestones isn’t that difficult. With all the technology and social media that let us document any given moment in our lives, preserving cherishable moments have never been easier.
Neglecting your baby’s oral health
Most parents make the mistake of not thinking about their newborn baby’s oral health until it is too late. It is never too early to get your baby started on good oral health habits. Just because he doesn’t have any teeth yet does not mean his oral health does not need any taking care of. Before bedtime, wipe down your baby’s gums with a wet gauze. Once your baby turns 1 year of age, you may start introducing him to the concept of brushing his teeth with a toothbrush. Once your baby’s milk teeth have started growing, avoid feeding him in bed or risk the development of cavities, which are also known as baby bottle decay. Be sure to provide your baby enough fluoride. You may ask your child’s dentist about getting supplements in case you do not have access to fluoridated water.
Panicking when your baby is crying
Crying is the primary form of communication for babies. Crying is how they communicate to us, and it does not always have to mean that there is something wrong that we need to fix. Babies still cry even when they have already been fed and when their diapers have already been changed. Sometimes, they just need to cry it out and you just need to let them do it. Do worry when your baby has been inconsolable for more than an hour and is accompanied by a fever or rash. That would be the time to go and consult your doctor.
Waking your baby from sleep just to breastfeed
While breastfeeding is indeed the best for babies, one common mistake of new parents is being too strict about it. Yes, it is good that your baby is breastfed. No, it is not okay to wake him up from sleep just to feed him. Let him sleep through the night, as we all should. You might be thinking that breast milk might not be thick enough to keep the baby full through the night. It is a common misconception. If it isn’t, the baby will let you know. Meanwhile, let us agree that both breastfed babies and mommies can sleep through the night.
Originally posted 2013-11-10 09:40:42.