Parenting Advice for New Moms
Feeding, sleeping, diapering: There's so much to learn about taking care of your newborn. We pinpoint the most common rookie mistakes, then tell you how to bounce back like a pro.
4. Letting Dad Take a Back Seat: Early on, it's common for Dad to feel like a third wheel while the focus is on baby and Mom. “He starts thinking, ‘Why am I needed here?’” says New York City-area family therapist Michelle Maidenberg Ph.D. “It doesn't foster a good relationship for the couple or, eventually, for the whole family.”
The Fix: Make a concerted effort to include him. No, he can't breastfeed, but just about any other task is within his jurisdiction. Dads can take charge of changing diapers, bathing and dressing baby, taking baby for a walk or going to the pediatrician's office. But it's not just about divvying chores; it's about giving up complete control. Ask your partner to attend a baby care class with you, that way you're both learning at the same time.
Moms who know… bite their tongues if dad's approach isn't exactly the same they'd take. They also know if they pay attention, they might even learn something.
5. Having a Rigid Sleep Schedule: Routines are helpful — but trying to stick to a military-style schedule will make everyone miserable. You'll end up fighting to put baby to bed when she's not tired or keeping her up when she's pooped. Outings can get tricky if you can't deviate from “the schedule.”
The Fix: Most full-term newborns will snooze every two to three hours. But don't get upset if your baby doesn't nap by the book.“Babies go through many cycles of change — growth spurts, developmental milestones — in the first three months,” Dr. Levenstein says. “If they respond to a schedule even half the time, that's fantastic.”
Moms who know… realize that the ability to roll with changes is one of the most precious lessons babies teach us. So stay loose and don't freak out if your baby sleeps through feeding time or doesn't drift off at 8 p.m. sharp.
6. Forgetting to Enjoy the Moment: Ask most parents what they'd do over if they had a chance; many will say, “I'd relax and enjoy the baby months more.” No other time in your life is quite the same; don't be so stressed that you forget to make great memories.
The Fix: It's corny, it's cliché but it's true: As a new parent, you need to take a few minutes each day to count your blessings. Once you're into a good feeding routine, baby's mealtime is an ideal time to do so. (Don't even think about jumping on the cell.) Memorize your baby's sweet face, his amazingly strong grip and his adorable toes, slowly curling and uncurling. You created an incredible creature — give yourself some credit and relish this magical time.