16 Baby Mistakes You’re Probably Making With Your Newborn

Here’s a list of baby issues to avoid in your first year of parenthood...

Parenting Isn’t a Job. It’s The World’s Best Career Path.

We’ve all been there. Parenting is the toughest job in the world, bar none. In a global society that seems hell bent on taking away more and more while giving less and less, it can sometimes feel like parenthood and families are under attack.

  • Young generations being priced out of the property ladder.
  • Putting careers ahead of those who depend on your love.
  • Families making less with the ever-growing wealth gap.
  • Women expected to go back to work immediately.
  • Fathers not getting to take any paternity leave.

It’s all a lot to handle at the moment. So what can we – as new parents in this mad, mad world – do to be better at our new career of raising a tiny human life? Well, as a great man once said, define failure and design systems to avoid it. Here’s a list of our top new parent baby mistakes and what you can do to make sure your child doesn’t have to send you a performance improvement warning.

We all wish we could be perfect parents. But if wishes were horses, babies would ride.  It's impossible. And that’s okay. Remember, this list is really just about giving you a few tips to look out for. The fact that you’re reading and exploring how to be better already means you’re doing great.

Supporting Baby's Development: Common Mistakes to Avoid

As parents, taking care of the baby is Priority No. 1. But sometimes, we can go a bit far or fall a touch short. Lessen your mental load of worries by making sure you don’t make some of the goofy mistakes we’ve made along the path to raising a happy, healthy baby.

Your Baby Doesn’t Want You… They Need You

Your baby needs you. It's important to understand that, of all mammals, human babies depend the most on their parents, especially their mommas. We’re not supposed to sleep long stretches when we’re born. We aren't supposed to be far from our caregivers. The milk we drink contains the lowest amount of protein compared to all other mammals so we biologically need to drink more.

All this combined means that mother and baby must be together all the time. The more loving and responsive you are towards your baby when meeting their needs, the safer they will feel. This in turn will help them self-regulate better and calm their nervous system so they’re more relaxed and calm day to day. Never forget this.

Skin Meet Skin

This is one tip that changes everything for you and your baby. The number one mistake people make is not doing enough skin-to-skin contact after birth. Your baby has spent nine months inside the perfect hotel. Putting them right up against your skin right away initiates the bonding process after birth. As soon as possible after coming out, the baby should be doing skin-to-skin with both parents.

Ideally, most of  it will be with Mom because she is the one breastfeeding and the one who feels most familiar. Skin-on-skin contact with your baby helps them regulate their body and their emotions better. It also passes incredibly beneficial bacteria to them to build and strengthen their skin microbiome. Doing it frequently also supports breastfeeding and releases oxytocin to help control postpartum pain.

It Is a Staring Contest

Look into your baby’s eyes whenever you're doing anything with them. It’ll transform your day-to-day care and your parenting journey overall. Whether your newborn has just joined you or you’re raising a stormy toddler, looking into their eyes says: I'm present. I’m here with you. I'm putting aside all distractions because you’re important to me. Eye contact helps you connect emotionally and it encourages compassion in moments of frustration. Your baby will develop security and confidence in you as they grow. They’ll know: When I need Mom or Dad, they’re here for me.

Swaddling Your Baby Too Tightly 

Most mothers are giving birth in the hospital. One of the first things done to baby is swaddling them. Doing it becomes a habit that parents do without really knowing why. Swaddling too tightly might get in the way of getting the baby stronger and more comfortable. If you’re doing it with towels and blankets, you’re probably fine. But swaddling products might restrict baby's reflexes, keeping them from developing their muscles by breaking free of the swaddle. Breaking free might wake them up or upset them but that’s good because it’s part of healthy growth. It keeps them with you longer, which is better for them, and they feed more as a result.

Don’t Overstressing Over Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

There is too much pressure put on parents to have their baby sleeping through the night, having them sleep in their own crib, making sure they're getting all their naps in during the day, and even if they’re taking too many naps. Your job as a parent isn’t to make baby sleep. Your job is to be their safety and comfort. They’ll then fall asleep and sleep as much as they need to.

Imagine all that sleep pressure as a jacket. Now, take it off, give yourself a break, and enjoy the Ultimate Guide we’ve assembled for you.

Speaking of Sleep, Midnight Diaper Changes

Imagine wearing wet underwear to bed… Changing diapers in the middle of the night can help your baby get much better quality sleep. But you’ll be losing more of it. Instead, try using a thicker, nighttime diaper and applying a generous amount of lanolin cream on their skin. This is also used on sore nipples so it’s perfectly safe.

It creates a barrier between their soft skin and the feeling of wetness in their diaper. If your baby is uncomfortable or has pooped in their diaper, you’ll still need to change them but this lanolin hack and using a thicker diaper can make nighttime feeds quicker and get you more sleep. Win win. 

Don’t Wait For Crying To Start

Waiting for baby to cry to feed them is a mistake. Babies will often show you that they're hungry before the waterworks begin. They start turning their head from side to side, sticking out their tongue, eating their fists, making cooing noises, clenching their fists, and so on. You’ll spot them quickly and it’s the cue that baby is ready to eat. Acting on these signs before the baby begins crying is going to make it a lot easier to latch them onto the breast rather than waiting until they're upset and screaming at you until that lungful is all the way squeezed out. 

Similarly, you’re probably missing some of baby’s tired signs. We all make the mistake of keeping the baby awake too long. This is going to happen to you because the world can't revolve around the baby all the time. Do your best to tune into your baby's tired signals. Their eyes will get droopy, they’ll rub their eyes, yawn a lot, and get restless. Getting them ready, whether that's putting them in a baby carrier, putting them down in their crib, or shoosh-bouncing them while holding them. Whatever it may be, help them settle and fall asleep. It’s going to avoid an overtired baby having a mini-meltdown. Then, they’re really tough to soothe and help fall asleep.

Don’t Start Solid Foods Too Early

As early as 4 months, doctors and pediatricians might recommend adding rice cereals into baby's diet. Moms may be desperate to get their babies to sleep longer at night so they’re willing to try anything. But breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby for their first year of life. Formula is the next best option. Rice cereals have next to zero nutritional value. They’re empty calories that might fill your baby but they do nothing to build their immune system, their gut biome, their brain development, or their hormone functions. When a baby starts teething, their gut hasn’t yet developed the enzymes needed to break down solid foods. Around six months, when baby’s body is growing and feeling more prepared, you might want to give it a try. Even then, it can be too early for some. Remember, the first weeks are more about playing with the food and familiarizing themselves with it than providing baby nutrition.

You’re Wearing Your Baby Wrong

Baby wearing has a few risks you should be aware of. If you start putting the baby in a baby carrier facing forward before they’re ready, that is before their neck is strong enough to support their head, you could be causing future spin and hip development problems. 

Even when your baby can hold up their head, if you notice their legs dangling without support, or that you can’t kiss the tops of their heads just by tilting your head down, they might be too far down in your baby carrier. This could cause hip dysplasia from them developing immature hip joints. To keep this from happening, keep your baby facing inward in its first few months, chest to chest. Make sure the legs are in an "M" shape, with their knees slightly above hips and their spine in a neutral position. This’ll keep their hips healthy and their spine aligned.

Don’t Overuse The Baby Bouncer and Baby Swing

Swings and bouncers are like baby sitters for some couples. It’s the only thing that gives you a break from the baby’s tyrannical reign. Using them too much could lead to your baby moving less and being less inquisitive about their environment. They’ve also been found to restrict natural body movements and early sensory experiences. If you’re using them, make sure the baby spends an equal amount of time moving, doing floor play, and strengthening their muscles by doing baby exercises.

Ask Sofia to make suggestions on baby exercises each week.

Don’t Keep the Baby in The Car Seat or Baby Stroller for Too Long

Spending too much time in a car seat or stroller is bad for the baby’s brain and body. They’re basically confined to a tight space and all the movement is happening at a range they can’t really process in the early weeks and months. It also prevents you from interacting with them in any meaningful way and can lead to physical problems like a flattening of the back of the skull and slower motor skill development.  If you’re forced to take long drives or spend more time than you’d like in the stroller, try to take breaks for 30 minutes where the baby is spending some time playing with you.

Sofia can come up with baby games for any situation.

Excessive, Endless Exposure to Electronics

You know how they say TV rots the brain? Well… just look at the state of the world today. Amaright? So break the trend and keep screen time for your baby at an absolute minimum. If you’re doing more than 30 minutes a day, you’re doing it wrong. Plain and simple. Let your baby have more time with you with face-to-face interactions. Talk and sing to them, introduce them to friends at mommy and daddy (are those a thing?) groups

Big Gap in Overstimulation and Quiet Time

Did you know it’s possible to overstimulate your baby. Sometimes, when they’re crying and exhausted, and you’re trying your very best to soothe them, you might be adding fuel to the fire. Instead, just hold them and try being quiet with them instead.

So long as you’re physically holding them, that’s all the attention they need when they’re overstimulated. It’s a chance for them to relax, self-soothe, and reflect on all the inputs they’ve had that day. These moments of calm promote emotional regulation and are super important for the baby.

Calm Down on The Jumpers, Walkers, and Activity Centers

These big toys are tempting. You think they’ll give you some breathing room while entertaining the baby. But if you use them too much or too early, you can hinder you baby’s proper spine and hip development. Also, the fabric seats in jumpers and activity centers rarely have the proper support for a young baby's immature spine and hips. Walkers with wheels have the same problem. They may let your baby move around while seated but it can also hurt their soft spine and hips. Neither are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics because of the high risk of life-altering injuries.

Baby Mittens… Like Holding Kittens

Some people think that using baby mittens is a good way to stop your baby from scratching themselves with tiny little, scalpel-like nails. There are two problems with these mittens. They restrict natural hand movement. And the fabric does the same thing as the nails only on a level you can’t see. The baby who scratches their face will also scrape it like a cheese grater, no matter how soft the fabric claims to be.  Instead, just get good about cutting your baby's nails by using tiny baby scissors. This is safer than using nail clippers or a nail file and baby is free to explore their funny-looking face without getting sliced and diced by sharp nails.

Barefoot Babies For The Win

Your baby’s feet are hands on their legs. Think for them like that. They’re a tool for exploration and learning about the world around them. Using shoes before they can walk impacts the development of bones and muscles in their feet. Wearing them out for style could hamper big milestones like rolling over, crawling, and walking.

Shoes are unnecessary, even when they start walking. Being barefoot in safe environments is massively important, both for their physical development but also their mental confidence. When shoes are unavoidable, choose footwear that supports natural foot movement. Avoid tight shoes with thick, hard soles. Go for wide, flexible shoes with soft soles for optimal foot growth and freedom.

Not sure what’s right or not? Think you’ve just messed up? Ask Sofia for help whenever you’re feeling nervous or lost.

(Caption: Image by Freepik)

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