You’ve just had a baby and you’re overflowing with joy and everything is going perfectly as planned! Right? Wrong. If you’ve just had a baby, you’re probably starting to realize that things definitely don’t always go as planned, and being a parent is far more difficult than you ever could have imagined. Here are a few common mistakes that new parents make, that we can try to avoid:
1. Not taking care of yourself.
Before you put the oxygen mask on your child, you need to first put it on yourself. The number one mistake we see in parents is spending so much time taking care of their child that they forget to first take care of themselves first. Make sure you prioritize your own health and wellness first, so that you can have appropriate energy to then give back to your new baby.
2. Thinking that having a baby will be the most magical experience of your life.
Some of us aren’t so lucky. We often buy into this myth that having a baby will be the most magical experience of our lives. While having a baby is definitely a life-changing, eye-opening, and miraculous event, not all of us are so lucky to feel like it’s the best thing to ever happen to us.
Postpartum depression is real. Not bonding with your baby is real. Having torturous, long, painful labor is real. Does this mean that we regret having a baby? Maybe! And maybe not. The fact of the matter is this -- your experience is 100% yours and nobody else’s. What one parent experiences will differ from every other. Which brings me to my next point...
3. Comparing ourselves to others.
Another common thing to avoid as a new parent is comparison. As a new parent, we will naturally want to find other people to relate to. We’ll become friends with all the new parents on the block, so we can talk about our babies, our baby’s issues, and be able to communicate with someone who understands us. While this is great, we want to make sure don’t make the mistake of comparing our experience to someone else's. Maybe their baby is sleeping through the night, while your baby is waking up every couple hours. Maybe you’re able to produce plenty of breast milk, while your friend is struggling. Every parent will deal with their own individual struggles when it comes to parenting -- and that’s normal! Remember that ‘comparison is the death of joy’. Stay strong, don’t compare, and remember that everyone’s experience is unique, and valid, and never the same.
4. Not eating well.
The food we put into our bodies has a direct response to how we feel. Read that over again. While it’s not always easy or convenient to eat good foods, it’s one of the most important things you can do to get yourself feeling well again. Especially if you’re suffering from hormonal mood swings or post-partum depression, adding nutritious, healthy foods to your diet can be a game changer to your life and your mood. If you still don’t have time to eat well, then at least do yourself the favor of adding important nutrients through supplements or herbs. Especially if you’re a Mom struggling to produce breast milk, the magic key is as simple as adding a few lactogenic foods to your diet -- and boom! Your breast milk is plentiful.
5. Panicking over every little thing.
Take a breath. Relax. And whatever you do -- don’t panic! It’s not going to help you, and it’s definitely not going to help baby. While it’s important to be aware of what’s going on with your child -- it’s more common than not to think that everything is going wrong, when in reality, everything is fine. Remember that babies are far more resilient than we give them credit for -- and the excessive pooping, vomiting, or sleepless nights your baby is experiencing are all normal. Here are some tips to deal with and avoid panicking:
-Cultivate a meditation practice
Taking even 5-10 minutes a day to sit, breathe, and observe what is going on inside of you is a major game changer. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and it also teaches us how to deal with triggers and stressful situations.
-Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
Just like meditation, exercise is also proven to reduce stress and get those feel-good, yummy hormones pumping through our blood to help us feel good. Whether it’s a quick run around the block, a yoga class, or a swim, getting the blood pumping and the endorphins running through our veins will help you to relax next time you almost panic.
6. Not taking precaution
Now to argue with my last point, while there is no need to panic, we also want to make sure we take appropriate caution. Make life easier and have peace of mind by investing in a few things such as a good nanny cam and a proper car seat.
7. Expecting everything to be perfect.
Lastly, the biggest mistake to avoid for new parents is expecting everything to be perfect. It’s natural to want the best for yourself and your new baby, but since we are human, we are going to make mistakes. And that’s okay, as it’s part of the human experience! Every time we make mistakes we grow -- and it’s through the imperfections in life that we learn and evolve. Remember to breathe, love yourself, and love the journey.
8. Not taking naps.
While you might feel like a nap is the last thing you have time for, you should actually put it up at the top of your priority list. Even a quick 15 minute nap can help the mind and body to rest and release stress. According to SleepFoundation, a 20 minute nap is the perfect nap length for a quick energy burst and increased focus.
At the end of the day -- if there’s one thing we can know for sure, it’s that we are going to make mistakes as new parents. There’s just no getting around it! Just try to remember that the more mistakes we make, the more opportunities we have to better ourselves as parents.