Most new parents can agree that there are plenty of mistakes, regrets and a whole lot of stress in those first few weeks, months and beyond. While there’s no avoiding the challenges of new parenthood, being prepared can make things a heck of a lot more manageable.
To help set new parents up on the right foot we turned to Jen Glazer, a pregnancy and infant care specialist and the founder of Confident Mama to get her insight on the biggest mistakes she sees new parents making.
Feeling obligated to have visitors and feeling the need to host them.
“As a new mum you have the right to not have visitors. You need to listen to your body and your baby. Whatever you are feeling is OK! If you want to fill your house with friends and family, then do it, but by no means is it your obligation to host people right after you had a baby.”
Not filtering advice.
“It’s easy to become overwhelmed when everyone has an opinion about how you should be with your baby. A common one I hear is that someone’s grandma told them they’re going to spoil the baby if you hold him too much. You can’t spoil a newborn. Hold that baby as much or as little as you want!”
Feeling pressure to feed in a certain way.
“With a healthy, full term baby, method feeding should be the decision of mum and outside opinions should be blocked. The most common advice coming at new mums, regarding feedings, are: breastfeeding only (breast is best, and any other form of feeding is wrong), supplementing with formula (the baby needs more milk) and only formula feeding (you don’t need to breastfeed, there’s formula which is just as good). Go with what feels right for you.”
Not taking the time needed to recover, both mentally and physically.
“New mums have been through a huge change and it’s vital that you give yourself time to adjust to the new reality. Maternal mental health is often overlooked, but is extremely important. Your body just went through something amazing, but also, something very traumatizing to the system and it needs time to recover, whether you had a vaginal birth or a C-section.”
Not asking for (or accepting) help.
“Raising a baby is not like it was years ago, when the village actually helped, every woman must find their own village. Ask for help when you need it and take it when it is offered, even if it is just so you can have a shower.”
Over buying for baby.
“You don’t need all the newest gadgets. A new baby needs very little, clothes, food, nappys, a place to sleep and love!”
Going into birth and motherhood with unrealistic expectations.
“From creating a birth plan that you are married to, to thinking there is only one way to parent and feeling overwhelmed and disappointed when you must readjust your plans. It’s good to have an idea of what you want, but you must understand that you have very little control in the end over your birth and your baby’s personality.”
Making social media comparisons.
“People post the best of the best on social and it’s important to recognise that. Nearly everyone struggles after having a baby and if the messages you are exposing yourself to on social is making you feel alone or less than, you need to turn it off!”