6 common mistakes that parents often make with newborns
Article by Cherlynn Ng
With no prior experience to fall back on, first-time parents can find the arrival of a newborn to be pretty overwhelming. There’s also a mountain of conflicting advice out there, leaving you unsure of what to do. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all guide when it comes to parenthood, here are six common mistakes that you should refrain from making with your little angel.
1. Ignoring them
Some parents feel that they should not spoil their kids by tending to their every whim or that ignoring a baby is the best way to stop their crying. However, it’s too early to be instilling the concept of independence into newborns, who are designed to lean on their parents for love, companionship and reassurance. Ignoring your infant can leave them frightened and distraught in a world that they are still a stranger to.
2. Inappropriate sleeping position and crib
Every year, around 3,500 babies die from sleep-related causes in the United States. Allowing your newborn to sleep in the wrong position or environment can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). To prevent such tragedies, ensure that your baby is sleeping on his back and not on his tummy. Pillows, toys and any extra items should also be removed from his crib. Oh, and no co-sleeping with your newborn unless you want to accidentally roll on top of him.
3. Giving them a pacifier
It can be tempting to shush your wailing baby with a pacifier, but this is not advisable. Infants who are introduced to pacifiers too early in life are at risk of being unable to differentiate a nipple from a pacifier, which causes issues with latching during breastfeeding. In addition, sucking can affect baby’s tooth development. If you do not want your child to end up with an underbite, wait until he is two months old before handing over the pacifier.
4. Punishing them
Spanking might seem like a reasonable way to teach your baby a lesson and correct bad behaviour, but physical punishment actually does more harm than good. Some long-term negative effects are decreased motivation in learning and more behavioural problems. Your child will also lose trust in you as they are unable to feel relaxed in your presence. Worse, corporal punishment undermines your child’s self-development and damages his self-esteem.
5. Over-dressing them
A general rule of thumb is to dress your baby like you would dress yourself. Yes, he looks cute in that furry costume — but not on a 32°C day in Singapore. Bundling up your newborn can cause him to suffer overheating and dehydration.
6. Letting anyone kiss them
It’s natural for relatives and friends to want to fawn over your cute tot and shower him with kisses. After all, who can resist how angelic and precious he looks? And if you are completely honest, you can’t help but glow with pride at what a lovely child you have birthed. However, letting any Tom, Dick and Harry smooch your child is a huge mistake.
Even if someone looks healthy, you never know if they are carrying any germs and diseases that are not visible to the naked eye. Not to forget, a newborn’s immune system would still be under-developed, making them more susceptible to infections. What seems like an innocent kiss can actually be fatal for a baby.
Ask visitors to wash their hands before handling your little one and refrain from kissing him. Be firm and polite in enforcing this request because even though it might upset some people, it’s still better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your baby’s well-being.
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