Motherhood is a learning curve, and every day there is something new to this challenging phase of being a parent. Moms learn everything by themselves on their journey to motherhood and become the best judge for their babies. However, in this learning curve, we all make naive mistakes, and we learn from our mistakes.
Furthermore, first-time parents tend to make common mistakes with babies that may seem normal without any significant consequences, whereas in some cases, they could have an impact.
Newborn care can be tricky sometimes, although it may seem simple and easy. Some of the common mistakes could be concerning, therefore, you should always keep the newborn baby’s safety and health in mind.
In other words, common mistakes may not be harmful to the baby, but negligence may have an impact. Thus, it is essential to be on top of your baby’s care and safety.
Parenting is not easy, and so as babies. In fact, every baby is different and takes her sweet time to get settled with this new life. Parents do not know in advance what challenges are coming their way.
This post talks about a few common mistakes that new parents could make during the first couple of months after birth. Even though these bloopers may seem harmless, but it could have temporary consequences that require professional’s advice leaving parents worried.
Most moms, if not all, may experience an easy start and do not face any significant newborn challenges with breastfeeding or reflux issues. However, this does not mean that other moms could not come across breastfeeding struggles or parenting curveballs. Like I said, every mom is different, and so as every baby. Exceptions do always exist.
Every mom has her own instinct to follow. There are a few sensitive issues (regarding breastfeeding, etc.) which are not in ANY CAPACITY to suggest or advise any mom to do contrary to, as she wishes to do. DO WHAT YOU AS A MOM THINK IT IS RIGHT AND IN YOUR CHILD’S BEST INTEREST.
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Mistakes new moms must avoid with newborns
Although some of these mistakes are not harmful, however, they could be avoided as much as possible.
1. Overfeeding or less feeding
Doctors advise feeding the baby at least every two hours to meet their feeding requirements and to establish a better and quick milk supply for breastfeeding moms. Truth is, babies generally do not overfeed themselves.
When they are hungry, they are going to cry even if they just ate and feeding would calm them. You can do feed on demand and follow hunger cues baby shows by sucking on her hands or crying.
However, the good practice is to nurse them for a reasonable amount of time, if they are asleep wake them up and feed because while nursing it is somewhat unpredictable how much baby has eaten.
You can pump out breastmilk and bottle feed to have a better understanding of how well your baby is eating so far.
If you are giving a top feed (formula feed) start with a small portion because when you are bottle feeding, there is a slight chance of being overfed. Babies have a tiny stomach that fills up fairly quickly. Overfeeding would not harm but it will eventually result in a huge spit-up and baby is going to throw up almost everything.
This certainly does not mean that if your baby is crying out of hunger and you don’t offer anything because she just ate. Every baby grows at a different pace so their needs tend to vary.
Moreover, if you still feel your baby does not stop sucking on her hands after a feed, you may try introducing a pacifier. It is highly recommended to wait until 4 to 6 weeks so that breastfeeding moms can establish a good milk supply, More you nurse, the better will be the supply.
2. Not burping
Burping is as essential as feeding a newborn. Babies need to burp once they are done with feeding. Keep your baby elevated after a feed or put her on your shoulder for 15 to 20 mins so she might not throw up. If you have to put your baby down due to any reason (chores) or you have to take care of other kids too, put them in baby rocker which keeps them elevated.
Wearing your baby is also a good option for keeping her elevated and to avoid any reflux issues.
3. Waking them up for Night Feedings
Newborns tend to sleep longer as they have been sleeping in the womb. You swaddle them, and they sleep. Feeding them every two hours during the daytime is highly recommended, the more frequent they eat during the day, the better they will sleep at night.
Babies need 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours each day. Each feed has to be in 2 to 3 hours. Moreover, you can stretch one feed to 4 hours, preferably at night if your baby has been eating well during the day.
Some babies, if not all, get hungry every hour in the beginning, whereas some are cozy and sleepy. I don’t think it is a good idea to wake them up and feed every two hours at night (unless you get your milk flow settled in) to develop their nighttime routine. Let them sleep, and you sleep, too – while they are asleep.
Although babies wake up when they are hungry or dirty, and it is not going to be more than two hours anyway. However, If they sleep longer than 4 hours, Set an alarm for 4 hours, wake them up and feed as they should not get dehydrated in the early days of their lives.
Once your baby is a few weeks old and is eating fine during the day, let her sleep at night to establish a goodnight routine. She is going to wake up in a few hours anyway. So you also sleep better to fight your sleep deprivation and function better during the day.
Remember when babies are dehydrated, they tend to get sluggish, fatigued, and more sleepy. Keep an eye on the baby’s health and talk to your doctor immediately if you see any signs of lethargy or baby is skipping two feedings in a row or seem disinterested.
However, you can do a dream feedings if you want. It is waking up your baby to feed before she wakes up crying. Before you go to bed, feed your baby so that you both can sleep for at least 4 hours at a stretch.
Choosing a dream feeding process entirely depends on your routine and how feasible this practice would be for you.
4. Exclusively breastfeeding when there is not enough supply
For some moms (not all), it takes a while for them to have a milk supply about 3 to 5 days. Although every mom wants to have a supply right after delivery and unfortunately, that’s not true for every woman. Some women get the right amount of milk supply right away to meet their babies’ nutritional demands, whereas some have to wait.
When moms deliver they get colostrum, thick yellowish milk, that is all the nutrition your baby needs for the first several days of her life, also it has infection-fighting antibodies.
As colostrum is the first food, your baby is going to get and, that is supposed to be enough for her tiny stomach in those early days. Also, it is very light and easy on digestion so: babies tend to get more hungry. That is why moms need to keep expressing more colostrum to help baby get more interested in nursing.
After colostrum, the milk supply – transitional milk with a more runny and whitish color- set in within a few days. Transitional milk set in once your baby gets a good latch and nurse more. Remember, breastfeeding is a demand and supply relationship; the more you nurse, the better will be the milk supply.
Unfortunately, it is normal for babies to lose weight during the early days of life after birth. About 7 to 10% of newborn weight loss from their birth weight, is considered normal. However, milk Supply gets better as the baby latches properly and, the more you feed, the more supply comes in. Once milk supply settles in, your baby starts gaining weight.
If your baby loses more than 10% of her birth weight in the early days of her life and she does not have enough wet diapers within 24 to 48 hours, then this needs immediate attention.
Hospital doctors and nurses evaluate baby’s progress in terms of feedings, wet diapers and weight analysis.
Pediatricians monitor baby’s growth for the first two weeks after birth and see if your baby is gaining weight, otherwise, they may ask you for supplementing with formula along with breastfeeding. You can do a combination feed if your baby needs more milk unless you get enough supply.
If you are expecting your first baby, get this online breastfeeding class by MILKOLOGY. Stacey is a certified lactation educator.
There is nothing like breastmilk for babies, and it should be the priority but, there could be numerous other factors for not having enough feed or baby not eating enough.
Talk to your doctor about other possible options.
Although newborns do not need too much milk, a few drops of colostrum are enough in the beginning. With every passing day, your baby might need more milk and you might not be producing enough by that time.
Supplementing is what you may want to consider as discussed with your pediatrician. But, once you get a good flow, you will be able to exclusively breastfeed.
Lactation consultants are a great help when you feel like quitting and not trying enough, they come for you. I would suggest you should get a breastfeeding class before you go into labor.
Signs of dehydration in newborns
Babies should not get dehydrated. ORANGE Color pee-diaper is a sign of severe dehydration.
Sign of dehydration are, lethargic baby, sunken fontanelles, sleeping more than usual and not having enough wet diapers.
If you are struggling with less milk supply, here are the food suggestion you might need which helped me immensely to increase milk supply.
5. Feeding regular formula on Sensitive Stomach
Some babies have a sensitive stomach. They cannot digest the regular formula, which results in frequent spit-ups. If your pediatrician suggests, try the formula for a sensitive stomach.
6. Not noticing any food allergies during the first several weeks
Although you can eat whatever you want to eat or drink in moderation, you might want to avoid food which could be gassy for you like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. for the first few weeks. Moreover, it entirely depends on individual preference and metabolism.
Your baby will get used to what you eat, eventually. However eating healthy is not supposed to be affecting your baby’s digestion in a negative way, but it is always a good idea to watch for any sign of allergies after eating food like peanuts, dairy intolerance, and eggs.
Allergy signs are frequent spitting up after eating a specific type of food, or rashes, etc. Some food allergies run in the family history, but the chances are your baby will not be sensitive to any food later in life.
7. Not Drying babies properly after bathing
When you bathe your newborn, thoroughly dry them up. Folds in their neck, arms, legs, thighs, wrists, and armpits should be dried; otherwise, the moisture will make them red and itchy.
Experts advise not to use lotion on the newborns’ skin as their skin is perfect and do not need any lotion unless the baby has a medical condition.
Once the baby is a few weeks old, and her skin feels dry you can massage organic coconut oil if advised by your child’s doctor.
My son’s skin got really dry and itchy until 3 months because I was not moisturizing it after bathing him. Eventually, his skin got super dry, and; nothing seemed to be working. He used to scratch his skin so hard that it started bleeding.
When he was about 4 months, I tried itch Defense lotion called Curel Itch-defence lotion. That helped him big time. He got perfectly fine within a few days after using it.
Please talk to your doctor or seek professional advice if you see anything about your newborn’s health which is a matter of concern.
Please do not use baby powder; It is not healthy for the baby’s lungs. However, if you still want to use, look for talc-free options.
8. Umbilical cord care
Bathing your newborn daily could delay the drying process of the umbilical cord. My son’s umbilical cord took almost five weeks to come off. I used to bath him every day, which didn’t let the cord dry out quickly.
It is highly recommended to wait when it comes to bathing your newborn baby.
However, if you still want you can sponge bath your baby, and make sure it doesn’t get the cord wet too much.
Watch out for any signs of infection on the umbilical cord, though it might bleed a little bit which is very normal and you don’t have to worry about that.
However, it should be getting dry as the days go by and do not have any signs of blood oozing out redness, or swelling.
9. Not combing hair after bathing your baby
My son had developed the cradle cap on his head, and it was extremely itchy. Cradle cap is a scaly and patchy scalp condition which form thick greasy yellow patches. Although the cradle cap is not harmful to the baby, still, it is uncomfortable to some extent and keeps parents worried.
However, I tried coconut oil, olive oil, and whatnot. The only thing that helped was oil massage and then wash hair with a mild shampoo and gently comb the scalp while it is still wet. It will remove all that dead skin gradually within a couple of weeks. The purpose is to scrape off that dead skin but, you should not be doing it with your nails. Using this Safety 1st comb should help. It is soft and works like a charm.
10. Ignoring Flat spots on baby’s head
Unfortunately, in some cultures, it is very essential to shape baby’s head by placing hard surfaces underneath the baby’s head.
Laying baby down for long hours on a flat surface could also lead to flat spots on the baby’s head. Due to this practice, a lot of babies get flat-headed often known as Flat Head Syndrome or Plagiocephaly.
Generally, babies’ head shape-up with time. Moms need to keep an eye on the baby’s head shape for the first couple of months after birth. However, if you ever notice flat spots on your baby’s head, please seek pediatricians’ advice. In extreme cases, babies might need proper therapy for flat-head called Helmet Therapy.
How you can avoid having flat spots
Flipping sides (left and right) when your baby sleeps may prevent flat spots on one side. Babies who move their heads on one particular side may end up having a flat head if they stay in that position for a long time.
This is the reason, tummy time is encouraged once your baby’s umbilical cord comes off.
If you choose to use any head shaping pillow, always discuss it with your child’s pediatrician, please be watchful and NEVER leave your child unattended with the pillow instead use it when you are around during your baby’s playtime or in the bouncer.
Putting anything in the crib with an infant could be a potential risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
11. Over-dress or under-dress
Well, babies or infants have to be in one extra layer as you are wearing. Suppose you are wearing a single layer, add one more for your infant.
Please consider the following factors when you dress them up. During the summer and winter season, the temperature inside the car and outside should be in your consideration.
During winter season keep a blanket to cover your newborn. When babies are in their car seats, it is not very airy for them to feel cold. Just have their feet covered as well as proper clothing. Using breathable car seat covers outside would help them stay comfy and less vulnerable to catch germs.
During summers rear-facing seats tend to stay warm. Just keep checking the temperature at the backseat. Sometimes babies cry because of the heat in the car. Please do not cover your infant in his car seat or stroller under a blanket during the summer season as the temperature is relatively higher inside the covered car seats. Too many layers or too few layers as not being weather appropriate could be an issue for babies.
12. Not using Noise Machine for light sleepers
My babies are light sleepers. My firstborn had always wanted to be held up, and he hated his crib, so I ended up co-sleep with him, But the only thing I regret about Co-sleeping was he just couldn’t sleep better. When I woke up, he woke up too. I regret not using a noise machine earlier. I recently started using this and now, because my daughter – who used to be a good sleeper is not a good sleeper anymore – wakes up crying every half hour.
For light sleepers, even the slightest sound could wake them up. For that reason, the Noise machine is a pretty helpful tool and it improves sleep quality as well.
New moms are exhausted due to sleep deprivation as it takes time for babies to have a sleep schedule. As a new mom, you cannot avoid sleep deprivation altogether. Here are just a few simple steps about sleep deprivation that can help you go through the process relatively less stressful manner.
13. Applying the medication on baby Acne
It is normal for infants to get baby acne. Please do not apply anything on the baby’s face. Just clean her face with water. It goes away in a few days on its own.
Or if you still want to, you can apply breastmilk on baby’s acne.
If baby acne stays longer than usual or makes you concerned, consult your pediatrician.
14. Leaving an infant in the vehicle unattended
New moms are sleep deprived and exhausted. However, for some moms, if not all, mommy-brain gets real, and it takes time for thinking to get better. Keeping your baby’s safety in mind and do not leave your infant in the car unattended, not even for a single minute. No matter it is the summer season or a winter season, leaving your infant in a vehicle unattended could have serious consequences.
Mommies tend to make mistakes; it doesn’t matter if they are first-time moms or second time their babies are different. Things that work for me might not work for you because the circumstances are different, and babies are different too. It is always good to be aware of potential risks.
This post is about my experiences, and it does not mean if it is backed by scientific research. Also, it does not intend to harm or advise anyone contrary to your child’s medical professional. Always seek a professional’s advice on any matter of concern for your newborn.