There’s nothing easy about being a parent - it’s probably the hardest job there is. No qualification, experience or degree exists to get you ready for it, it’s all about learning on the job. So we’ve compiled 11 extremely common parenting mistakes that are often made by new parents so that you can avoid them when it comes to your little ones.
1) At The Beginning: Not Getting Help With Breastfeeding
A lot of new mums have a lot of problems when it comes to breastfeeding, especially when it comes to their first child. Qualified naturopath Shelley Atkin, with Australian brand, Mama Body Tea, shares more on this:
“New parents have so much information coming at them - and for new mum’s in particular, the focus on breastfeeding can feel overwhelming. A common mistake (that I also fell into) is not to reach out early for help and support as issues arise. Hanging in there and believing it will improve as we believe it’s ‘instinctual’ can really impact on the outcome for mum & bub. Whether it’s milk supply issues, or baby’s latching on and changing needs, help is there. Have a breastfeeding tea ready in your baby bag (see mamabodyteam.com.au) and see a lactation consultant for help to overcome attachment issues early, for a beautiful breastfeeding journey for both mum & bub.”
2) Baby Phase: Dealing With Colic In The Wrong Way
Being a new parent is stressful enough and when you add in a baby with colic, things can certainly get tough. Here’s how to work things out the right way. Gai Williams, pharmacist and author, from No More Tears Colic Relief shares more on this:
“Life is hard with a colicky baby!
You have brought home your beautiful bundle of joy and for the first few weeks everything seems fine as you develop something resembling a routine. Then suddenly your baby is not sleeping so well, waking up screaming as if in pain and nothing seems to stop the crying. Your baby is overtired and you are exhausted: What has gone wrong?
It is quite possible that your baby has colic - 40% of newborns do. An immature digestive system isn’t coping, gas builds up and the screaming begins! Tips to help include rocking, extra attention to burping, keeping your baby as upright as possible during and after feeding and definitely avoid over feeding. Feeding less than three hourly puts extra strain on the digestive system and also means the baby is getting too much of the lactose rich foremilk.
Calling 1300794232 puts you through to a pharmacist specialising in colic and you can receive advice on behaviour and natural solutions and, best of all, empathetic support. Colic is treatable and the babies are usually very healthy other than the extreme bouts of unsettled behaviour. Don’t go through this alone - get some expert help.”
3) Forgetting To Prepare With All The Right Equipment
Don’t think that you’ll have time to get your act together and buy baby things after the birth, get it done before! You might get fun things like toys and clothes at the baby shower, but there are heaps of practical things you will need as well. A changing table is a necessity, as you’re going to be spending a lot of the first couple of years of your child’s life changing diapers. You also need to assemble a cot before you bring your baby home from the hospital, so that you don’t fall into the trap of having your baby in bed with you night after night. If you need more toys and baby equipment, you’re bound to find everything from children’s outdoor play equipment to nursery furniture to baby strollers easily. There’s no shortage of awesome kids toys online either!
4) Not Trusting Your Instincts
Natasha Cromer is a mother to 3 kids and founder and owner of a natural foods business, Wholey Foods. She explains that mothers shouldn’t forget to trust their instincts when it comes to parenting:
“Mums today are surrounded by advice on how to be a mum, from the books we read whilst pregnant, the mummy blogs we scour over, the well intentioned advice from family and friends. How hard it can feel in this world, to remember to trust our instincts! We forget to trust that we actually know more than we think we do. We forget to trust in the choices we make for our children. We forget to trust in ourselves as mothers. Despite three beautiful kids and nine years of motherhood, I am probably still guilty of forgetting my instincts now and then. But I have learned to listen to that inner voice and trust more in myself.
My Wholey Foods business was born out of a need to nourish my family better. Mornings can be especially hard for mums. My Wholey Foods Breakfast Smoothies were created to make it just a little easier for time-pressed mums to get out the door with a nourishing and energising breakfast.”
Check our Natasha’s business Wholey Foods on Facebook!
5) Thinking That You Can’t Travel With Kids
Just because you have children doesn’t mean your wanderlust has to go out the window! Barbara Bryan from Let’s go Mum shares what she thinks the most common mistake parents out there make is:
“Believing that they can’t travel with young children because they believe it will upset a “schedule” - try not to let baby sleep schedules tie you down - babies can and will sleep anytime, anywhere - and for that matter, sometimes cry! You may as well have a grizzly baby in a lovely holiday location as stuck at home feeling like you’re missing out on life. Take your baby on holiday, and when they get older, you can show them photos of exciting, lovely settings with them in them - baby’s first holiday! I have photos of my 1 and 3 year olds circumnavigating Uluru, watching jumping crocodiles and traveling on cross-nation trains - and they absolutely love looking at them, and being part of that “adventure”!
6) Getting The Guilts
Amanda Palm explains how feeling guilty can be a parent’s greatest mistake:
“I think a common mistake is “Getting the Guilts” - especially for mothers who feel guilty when they can’t breastfeed, feel guilty that they’re not always patient and sometimes lose the plot, feel guilty when leaving their baby with other people, and even transitioning back to work. The guilts feel awful, but it should not hold parents back. Every parent is different, every child is different. Comparing can cause guilt and everyone should just parent the best they can.”
7) Not Dealing With Post Natal Depression
Counselling psychotherapist, parenting and relationship authority Dr Karen Phillip explains how important it is to deal with postnatal depression:
“The most common problem is postnatal depression. New mums are usually never prepared for the daily and nightly grind of a new baby. The lack of sleep, the constant washing, feeding, patting to sleep while trying to regain some sense of normality in their life. Too many become overwhelmed, fail to ask or receive support and lose self-confidence in what they are doing. While this is normal, it is preventable if we support our new mums better and if they are more informed.”
8) Not Believing In Yourself As A Parent
Carly Abrahams explains that many parents lack belief in themselves, and get lost in a sea of advice:
“The most common parenting mistakes new parents make, first and foremost would be to not believe in themselves. A lot of mums get overwhelmed with what is often unsolicited advice from family members and friends all telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing and then they lose faith in themselves, receive conflicting information and can become overwhelmed. New parents need to trust in themselves, their instincts and their abilities. Every child is unique and different and most times a mum knows what works best for her baby.”
9) Comparing Your Children To Other Children
Comparison is a trap we all fall into at some point or another, whether it’s for ourselves or our young ones. Lucy Good, a blogger, podcaster and mentor who works with hundreds of single mothers, writing articles for the online parenting community regularly shares her views below:
“Comparing your children to other children: even their siblings. No two children are the same (even if they do have the same mum and dad!) and so many factors affect their development. Even simply being a 1st, 2nd or 3rd child can change their development, personalities and actions. Expect differences and take delight in them, rather than worrying about them.
There is no such thing as perfection: This applies to children AND parents. If you’re aiming too high it’s likely you’ll end up being bitterly disappointed and your child will feel this too. Take pleasure in imperfections (they are what make us human), laugh at your parenting mistakes ...and accept that you are just a mum doing her best.. And that, quite frankly, that is enough.”
Davina Donovan, a registered psychologist with many years experience working with children, young people and families, as well as 3 nephews, a niece, a God son and a God daughter of her own , shares her opinion on this as well:
“One of the biggest difficulties for new parents is social comparison. While it is really helpful and useful to have other parents around offering advice and for social support (while your childless friends go on living their free life), getting too much advice and receiving too much information can be detrimental. Your child does not come with a manual - parenting is like an apprenticeship: you have to learn on the job. And your child is unique - no one else has ever parented this child before. So be careful when seeking advice and be mindful of falling into the trap of comparing yourself to other parents and comparing your child to other children. This can be met with feelings of inadequacy and fear, particularly if your child isn’t doing what the other children are doing. Children grow and develop in their own unique way. Of course there are developmental milestones but these are a general guide and not set out in concrete. Give yourself the space and time to learn about your child. Seek and accept advice but don’t over do it! Limit the advice you take on board to people you trust and look up to because of their parenting. Let go of other people’s comments and advice and perhaps put it into the ‘thanks but no thanks’ basket.”
10) Over-reliance on technology
Nowadays people continually rely on ipads, phones and televisions to keep their little ones entertained. Ruth Dearing, the founder of Children and Technology comments on this:
“Most new parents I see these days regularly use technology devices to entertain their babies. Often it’s an ipad or tablet that does the job, and sometimes it’s just the goold old TV. Maybe they think their baby will be bored just looking around and that their natural environment isn’t stimulating enough.
The research on this topic of using technology to entertain babies, even if it’s showing them “educational” shows on TV, reveals that it has no benefit for them at all - particularly when the activity is purely passive like watching TV.
Entertaining babies with a screen of some sort at such a young age is detrimental to their developing brains in many ways. Doctors and child experts commonly agree that it contributes to many problems in the longer term such as short attention spans, difficulty concentrating, weight and other health issues, speech impediments and more.”
11) Getting Overwhelmed By Emotions
Chanel Daher explains that sometimes parents simply forget to breath:
“Overwhelmed with EMOTIONS ranging from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, it’s a time of hormonal havoc that plays crazy games with our psyche! Being mum of 4 and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I see mums time and time again who are so entirely overwhelmed with fatigue and poor nutrition, totally disconnected from their own being. Spiralling in a downward direction, desperately looking for a way to break the cycle and to just see the light again!
The answer is simple …..
STOP & BREATHE
Stop. Take 3 deep breaths and smile whilst doing so. Observe the situation at hand - don’t judge it or yourself - just observe the breath. Proceed with love & kindness.
This method actually changes the biochemistry within your body! It’s science, not witchcraft. Movement creates energy and energy changes your Biochemistry! AMAZING!
So, have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Open yourself up to the knowing that life is constantly changing, just like the seasons. And always remember to STOP and breathe.”
There you have it - the thoughts of a number of pros, from a wide variety of career paths and backgrounds. Have a think about how you can avoid these common parenting errors, and remember to always stick to your guns when it comes to looking after your child.