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Elena Donovan Mauer

8 Biggest Mistakes New Moms Make

No, it’s not the obvious “what were they thinking?” mishaps we’re talking about here. These are probably things you’re doing right now — without even realizing it.

Not focusing on healing

You’ve got this brand-new, very small and vulnerable person whose health you’ve got to watch out for, but you’re also recovering from childbirth, which is no walk in the park (more like a walk through hell). And if you had birth complications, tearing or a c-section, you’ve got even more to recover from. You really do need extra rest, lots of water, nutritious food (with plenty of fiber) and some TLC. Sure, you want to do it all, but you really should be trying — at least a little — to take it easy and take care of yourself.

Becoming a hermit

Right now, it’s a really big deal to take a shower, put on real clothes, pack up the  diaper bag (oh yeah, and the baby too) and head out the door. But if you hole up in the house, you’re going to feel even more frumpy, isolated, exhausted and down. You and baby could really use some fresh air. Who cares if you haven’t showered since Sunday? No one will smell you. Go out and walk around the block at the very least.

Stewing about breaking the birth plan

You swore you’d go drug-free but then begged for an epidural. You really wanted a water birth but had to get a c-section. It might not have happened the way you wanted it, but you and baby made it through childbirth and are A-OK and that’s what’s really important. Let it go and enjoy that baby.

Not getting help with breastfeeding issues

One study suggests that only a third of women who want to breastfeed do it for as long as they’d originally intended. We blame it on the fact that, well, breastfeeding can be a lot harder than some of us ever expected. If you’re having any issues, get help from a lactation consultant, baby’s pediatrician or even an experienced friend or relative. Getting to the root of problems right away can keep you from getting frustrated, and the sooner you get back on track, the more successful you’ll likely be.

Stressing about every little thing

“Am I giving baby enough stimulation?” “Too much stimulation?” “Should I have gotten him the  stroller that can face him toward me?” “What about that other carrier?” You name it and a new mom worries excessively about it. But other than legitimate safety and health concerns, you’re pretty much just making yourself crazy. Most parents learn by the time baby number two rolls around that they should stress less — or they just don’t have the time to stress as much and they realize it’s okay.

Not saying yes to offers to help

Someone offers to watch baby? Do a load of laundry? Make you a sandwich and get you a drink of water? We know that in your pre-baby life, you probably chalked offers like this up to people’s good manners and just-as-politely turned them down. But everything’s changed now. Take them up on it. This is the time in your life when  you really need a trip to the salon, a nap and some good old-fashioned nourishment and hydration.

Taking advice that goes against your gut

That advice to ignore that weird rash or to rub rum on baby’s gums or to do some other thing you think just doesn’t seem right, well, it probably isn’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re afraid of offending someone or if that person is supposed to know better than you — you’re the mom. Trust your instincts.

Comparing your baby to your friend’s

Your pal’s kid might be crawling and cruising, while your baby is still figuring out how to roll back to his stomach, but every kid really does tackle  milestones at his own pace. As long as baby’s pediatrician says baby is progressing normally, it’s not worth sweating over.

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