15 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Newborn That Should Be Avoided

By Vinnie Wong (theAsianParent),
September 22, 2020

You’ve probably got your pregnancy preparation checklist all ticked off. You can just imagine people flooding in and celebrating the birth of your newborn.

Although it’s one of the most exciting times of your life, don’t get carried away in the moment. The guidelines change every so often, but there’s a general trend of what not to do with a newborn. Unfortunately, not many new parents-to-be aren’t aware of these things they shouldn’t do.

For the sake of your baby’s health and safety, be aware of and plan ahead to avoid these mistakes so your little one keeps a clean bill of health in his/her first few weeks out of the womb!

15 things parents should know what NOT to do with a newborn

1. Let him sleep on his tummy

It might seem natural for your little one to konk out on his/her belly. However, sleeping facing the front can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS happens when your baby breathes in his/her own carbon dioxide repeatedly. This happens if your little one’s face is facing against somewhere with poor ventilation; think against the mattress or a pillow.

Your baby might not like it at first, but it’s important to keep them safe. Ensure your newborn is sleeping on his/her back.

2. Let anyone kiss your newborn

Newborns are angelic and so precious! But as tempting as it is, avoid kissing your little one during the first few weeks of his/her life.

Your newborn’s immune system is underdeveloped and can easily catch infections or diseases from an innocent kiss. In fact, your baby can even contract herpes!

Ask visitors not to kiss your baby, and also ask them to wash their hands. Be firm but polite as it’s much more important to be safe than sorry, even if it ruffles a few feathers in the process. Most people will understand, though.

3. Leave dirty diapers on for too long

It can seem economical to leave the diaper on until absolutely necessary. However, newborns urinate and excrete a lot more than older babies.

Leaving your little one to sit in his/her own mess for that long is unsanitary, not to mention cruel. It can lead to diaper rash which is extremely uncomfortable, but ultimately avoidable.

Change your little one’s diaper regularly. You don’t have to wait until it’s soaked or heavy.

4. Over-do the outfits

Your newborn might seem cold. However, piling on clothes can be detrimental and actually cause fever and dehydration!

After all, if you wore too many clothes, you’d overheat your own body. 

A simple rule to follow is to dress the baby as you’d dress yourself!

5. Let your newborn cry

Your newborn can’t speak. His/her only method of communication is by crying.

If you allow your newborn to cry without giving him/her any attention, it can lead to higher stress levels, which in turn can hamper your little one’s brain development.

Also, your baby could learn that he/she won’t get attention and feel neglected.

Attend to your newborn when the crying starts and try to identify the source of discomfort. It might be a nappy change, feeding time, or just wanting a cuddle.

6. Leave your baby alone

Babies are designed to need the companionship of their parents. Until they can take care of themselves, newborns need adults to look after them.

Being left alone for prolonged periods of time will leave your baby distraught and scared. After all, he/she is new to this world and has no idea what’s going on.

Avoid teaching newborns to be independent. Your little one needs you to be a calming and reassuring presence.

7. Punish your newborn

Research shows nearly a third of 12-month-olds are spanked.

Using physical punishment might seem like a good idea to cut out bad behaviour.

However, it has the complete opposite effect. Babies learn from how they’re treated. In essence, smacking your newborn will trust you less, have less motivation to explore, and even misbehave more than before!

Learn to be patient with your little one. If you’re stressed, take some me-time to unwind. Even if it’s just for five minutes, it can really help your state of mind and help you deal with the situation at hand.

8. Give your newborn cow’s milk

Although convenient, don’t give your newborn cow’s milk. Your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready to digest it.

It could potential cause a lot of problems for your little one’s undeveloped kidneys.

Breastmilk has all the nutrients and vitamins your baby needs (unless there are circumstances when a mother is unable to breastfeed).

Avoid water and juice for the same reasons, as well!

9. Leave your baby in water without supervision

Swimming can be an excellent learning opportunity for your baby. Playing in water engages your newborn’s brain in so many ways.

However, you should never leave your baby alone in the water. You run the risk of drowning. Your little one is unable to rescue himself/herself in that situation.

Read up on steps to safely introduce your baby to swimming before you attempt to bring him/her to a pool.

10. Allow everyone to visit all at once

Everyone is excited to see your newborn! But when everyone comes all at once, it can be distressing for your little one.

Your baby is still getting used to being alive. It’s important that in these early moments, you spend time holding your child as he/she gets used to you.

Not to mention that you’ll be mentally and physically exhausted as well! A lot of people will be telling you what to do and give you advice. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by staggering your visits. Friends and family will have their chance to see the baby.

11. Give your newborn a pacifier

You might try anything to calm your crying baby down. While a pacifier seems like a good idea, it causes confusion in your newborn who can’t tell between a nipple from a pacifier.

It can lead to issues with latching further down the line.

Wait until your newborn is at least two months old before introducing a pacifier.

12. Leave stuffed toys next to your sleeping baby

As cute as it looks and makes for a great Instagram photo, don’t leave a stuffed or fluffy toy in the cot with your newborn. 

It can lead to SIDS if your baby rolls over and buries his/her face into the stuffed animal while sleeping.

It’s safer to introduce toys into the cot when your baby is at least one-year-old.

13. Co-sleeping with your newborn

Many mums are co-sleeping advocates. While it might have been okay for them, it doesn’t reduce the risks involved.

After all, we aren’t in control of what we do while we sleep. You may accidentally roll over on top of your newborn.

Your little one might get caught up in the pillows, the sheets, or duvet.

It can seem like a great comfort to your child, but it comes with high risks.

14. Not cleaning your newborn’s gums

Despite not having teeth, your newborn still needs his/her gums cleaned regularly.

Use a clean and damp washcloth or gauze and wipe your little one’s gums after each feeding.

The remaining milk still has germs and bacteria lingering in your baby’s mouth. Not taking care of the gums can lead to issues with teeth development.

15. Leave your baby alone with a pet

Pets are also part of the family. But leaving your pet alone with your newborn should be avoided at all costs.

Pets who were the centre of attention until your newborn came along can become aggressive. If you have a pet, ensure your newborn is out of touching distance from your furry companion.

It’s easy to get caught up in the celebrations of welcoming your newborn into the world. However, take time to know what you should avoid doing to your newborn baby. It’ll save a lot of headache later, and keep him/her safe!

This article was first published on theAsianparent and republished with permission.