This list started off as a List of Mistakes, but I honestly feel like its more of a list of things to be Mindful of as New Parents.
Not listening to your instincts: Starting off our list with the most important item on our list. Not listening to your instincts is one of the biggest mistakes any new parent can make, especially for those who have recently given birth. Its often easy to allow others to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you should do things differently when it comes to your baby. If your gut reaction is to hold your crying baby, that’s okay. If you feel like your baby needs to be fed, but you have someone telling you to only feed based on the clock, go feed your baby. If you know something isn’t right and you want to take your baby to the hospital, don’t let anyone tell you to just stay home. At the end of the day, you need to do what you feel is right. Don’t be afraid to do things on your own and learn from your baby.
- That being said, please don’t hesitate to ask for help when you’re unsure. Asking for help and being given unsolicited advice are two completely different things. Always seek professional medical advice when necessary.
- Unless you or your baby are in danger because you’re doing something seriously wrong, you can’t really go wrong with following your instincts when it comes to the care of your newborn.
Forgetting to get Newborn Photos Done: This is one that I personally skipped over with both of my babies and I seriously wish that I hadn’t. I’ve photographed so many beautiful babies in my career as a newborn photographer and I wish that I had the same photos for my own kids. It may seem daunting to leave the home before 3 weeks postpartum but you can do it. Your Photographer will have a safe environment for you and your baby, this is what they do every day. Professional Newborn Photographers know exactly what you’re going through and are usually more than happy to talk to you and share with you. Most photographers will tell you in advance if there are any special feeding instructions. I personally tell my clients that if they’re feeding on demand to not make any changes to their routine, but to also bring with them 1 extra feeding to their session if they’re formula feeding.
- The first month is such a special time in your life as a new parent and it will be gone faster than you know it. Newborn Photos help you to remember all of your baby’s tiny little details and are the prefect way to document your journey to parenthood.
Carseat Safety: Carseat Safety is Extremely important. You’ve worked so hard to bring your baby into the world and not only is it extremely important to make sure that your carseat is installed in your vehicle properly, it’s equally important that baby is strapped in properly. Some hospitals make sure that you have your baby in their carseat properly before leaving the hospital, but during the Covid pandemic some hospitals are skipping over this step.
- Step 1. Make sure that you don’t have any bulky padding in the carseat that didn’t come with the seat itself. The padding in the carseat is designed to protect your baby and has been safety tested. In some cases, using alternative padding can void your carseat warranty. You might want to put a different headrest in your carseat to prevent baby’s head from flopping around, this is a total judgement call on your part.
- Step 2. After you’ve placed your baby in the seat, its okay to loosen the straps to get them over baby’s arms, but you’ll want to tighten them back up before you head to the car. Straps should be snug, not tight or loose but snug to their shoulder. You should be able to have one finger in between the chest clip and baby. If you live in a country that has a chest clip included in your carseat straps, this needs to be as close to armpit level as possible. If your carseat has big shoulder pads preventing the chest clip from being at the correct level, consider taking the padding out. The plastic horizontal clip should always be at the chest and never touching the crotch buckle.
- Step 3. More of an added note, some countries require the handle of the carseat to be placed in a certain position while traveling, make sure to read all of the labels on the carseat itself.
Buying Unnecessary items for baby: It might be so fun to plan and nest and get everything you can for your new precious little baby. At your baby shower you might be given things that you never thought of buying for yourself. Certain baby items will come as a huge blessing, others might just end up as a waste of time. I will likely make a whole blog post just on this topic, but some baby items that you might consider not buying are: Baby Blankets, Crib Bumpers, Wipes Warmer and a single purpose Change Table.
- Babies aren’t supposed to have blankets on them while they sleep, unsupervised blanket use can be a huge suffocation hazard for babies. If you want to buy baby a blanket, feel free, but don’t put it in their crib or bassinet with them.
- Crib Bumpers also pose as a huge suffocation hazard and some are a huge strangulation hazard as well. If you’re going to buy a crib bumper, make sure it’s at least one of the mesh ones that are supposedly more breathable.
- A Wipe Warmer might sound like a fantastic idea for those cold winter nights. More often than not these Warmers just dry out your wipes faster. If you’re looking for an alternative, you can rub the wipe in between your hands or blow on it to warm it up. Alternatively you can also use a cloth wipe and warm water.
- In another blog post I mentioned that you need a change table. This is still true, however when you’re looking to buy a change table, try and get one that’s also a dresser or one that serves a purpose past the 2ish years that you’ll need it for.
Allowing too many visitors: This is important generally but especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only does more people being around your newborn create more opportunity for baby to catch something and get sick, it also doesn't allow you to rest. When a baby is born, everyone wants to hold them. You may find yourself in a position where a well meaning family member is holding your crying baby and you know they need to be fed but that family member insists they can sooth your baby. This scenario is going to cause you unnecessary stress unless you’re assertive and in some cases, demand your baby be returned to you.
- The Postpartum period is your time to heal from birth and bond with your baby. This is your opportunity to learn all of your baby’s hunger queues and all of their different cries. This is your opportunity to catch up on sleep when baby is sleeping. Most newborns under 3 weeks old sleep more than they’re awake, although it certainly may not feel like it. If you need help, choose one or two close people to help you. This can be your mom, sister, brother, dad, partner or postpartum doula. Really anyone who you’re comfortable with. You shouldn’t ever feel the need to push yourself to do more than you’re comfortable with during the first few weeks postpartum. This means: stay in bed, bond with baby, don’t worry about chores unless you have the energy to do them. Don’t feel bad if you cant juggle everything, its okay. This phase won’t last forever.