5 Common New Parent Mistakes
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There is nothing like the feeling of terrified exhilaration that first time being left alone and in charge of a new baby. A recent CNN article had an interesting piece on what pediatricians find to be the most common mistakes of new parents. They include:
- Letting newborn sleep through the night: Sleeping for longer stretches is fine after two weeks, but before that, going too long between feedings might be a sign the infant is ill and too lethargic to eat and could lead to dehydration. Brand new babies should be awakened for feedings every four hours. If your baby sleeps like an angel the first few nights home, make an appointment with your pediatrician, just to be safe.
- Trying to get newborn on a schedule: The only thing that should be on a newborn's to-do list is to eat at least every four hours. The baby just was introduced to a whole new way of existing (breathing air!) so give him/her time to settle in to their surroundings before asking them to make any more adjustments.
- Taking new baby to a crowded place: Because a newborn's immune system isn't fully developed, crowded places can be potential life-threatening. The infant could pick up a bacterial infection or just a regular germ that causes a fever that will require testing to make sure isn't bacterial. This will involve blood draws, a spinal tap, cauterization to get urine for testing, and a possible hospital stay, turning what should have been a pleasant outing into a traumatic experience for the entire family. There will be plenty of time to show the baby the joys of holiday shopping the mall after they have germ-fighting capabilities.
- Not taking the baby out of the house: On the flip side, 'If momma ain' t happy, ain't no one happy.' Being trapped inside with a crying newborn day after day can lead to depression. Taking the baby for a walk, visit to a friend or relative, or on a quick shopping trip during less busy times is worth the germ exposure by getting a new mom out and reminding her that normal still exists.
Not trusting your instincts: Even though your time with baby outside your body can still be measured in hours, you are still the person who knows him or her best. If you feel something is off or that the baby just doesn't seem himself, don't let the well-meaning reassurance of others keep you from having the baby seen by a doctor. Dr. Benjamin Spock's best bit of baby advice was, "You know more than you think you do."