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By Rob Starr
Being a fussy new parent is fine because, after all, you’re learning the ropes. However, a constant state of anxiety isn’t doing you or your new baby any good. Learning to read the language of your newborn’s crying helps to keep everyone calm and will allow you to stay away from destructive behaviors to better understand the ebb and flow of being a new parent.
One of the biggest mistakes new parents can make is not trusting their instincts. A lot of the suggestions you’ll read are based on averages and statistics but in the end, the fact that you know your child like no one else can help you sort through all the information and advice that’s out there. All My Children Daycare and Nursery School is always looking to bring new ideas to the table but please remember our input should not replace a professional guidance.
Now that you’ve brought that bundle of joy home and everything about the life you’ve created and are responsible for is a little more real, the big job of becoming a new parent is probably settling in. By now, you’ve already realized even the crib you bought for your newborn comes with a set of instructions--but that’s not the case with the latest addition to your family.
Take heart, new parents, you’ve not being left alone in what would be the wilderness of raising baby by trial and error. There are many people who have come before you and been good enough to share the top five new parent mistakes you want to avoid. Their advice will help you steer clear of the brambles and bushes other new parents have gotten momentarily tangled in and stay on the path to good parenting right from the start.
Babies, it turns out, are far tougher than new moms and dads give them credit for. They spit up, vomit, have bowel movements, and cry--sometimes a lot. Remember, the Encyclopedia of Psychology lists one of the three goals of parenting as preparing children for life as productive adults, and striking a balance when you’re a parent means blending rational concern with calm reactions. It makes you a good example right from the beginning of your child’s life. In other words, there’s no need to always assume the worst when it comes to your newborn.
Babies don’t have a vocabulary so they communicate the only way they know how. When they cry it doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong. Still, new parents need to be aware that crying coupled with a rash or vomiting might signal an issue best brought to the doctor’s attention. There’s also a proactive side that might not go over well for new mothers who like some quiet time with a cup of their favorite blend. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding moms should consider cutting out that morning cup of java since caffeine can actually upset a newborn and cause them to cry.
It’s doubtful that Pete Townsend was thinking about the requirements of parenting when he penned the line, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” but new parents shouldn’t think taking time off from work to raise a baby is anything less than swapping out one set of demands on their time and patience for another.
You might imagine long lazy days gently rocking your child to sleep after feeding and then tiptoeing quietly away to catch up on your reading, cooking, or neglected household projects, but your new pint-sized boss will have other plans. There’s a never-ending cycle of diapering, feeding, soothing, and bathing to get used to that more than fills in for all the time you spent in the office.
Keep in mind there’s an added element of supervision that gets tacked on as time moves on, since most babies start to move around on all fours somewhere between 9 and 12 months.
This is one of those areas where the little ones are well ahead of the adults when it comes to gender equality—both boys and girls have an uncanny way of holding a little something back that they unleash at the exact moment when mom or dad is in the process of changing a diaper. On a related note, if you start changing your little one immediately after she’s finished that other more solid kind of potty, you might very well find your baby was only in the middle of a poop. The splash zone is one thing, this kind of mess is quite another.
In the end, babies are just little developing people, and we all know that it’s pretty much impossible to find two adults who are exactly the same. Everyone develops skills and grows at different speeds, and infants starting out on their journey march to their own little drummers right away. Little Jeffrey might weigh a tad more than Susie at the same age, and Jerome might already be sleeping through the night while baby Jessica still fusses at 3 a.m., but comparing newborns is just a form of self-inflicted torture you can do without.
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