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.
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profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer
June 18, 2020
mother cuddling newborn baby
Image: Anna Nass/Shutterstock

With so much responsibility suddenly placed on your shoulders and with everything being so bewildering and foreign, new parents are known to stress about doing the wrong thing. But so much of your attention is spent worrying over baby’s health and safety, you might neglect a very important thing: Your own health and wellbeing. Here are some common new mom mistakes, and how to avoid the pitfalls.

1. 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 trek up Mount Everest). 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.

2. 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. Even with concerns about COVID-19, experts say a walk around the block is not only okay, it’s beneficial (with some basic precautions).

3. Stewing About Breaking Your 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 now a family, and that’s what’s really important. If you’re having trouble moving forward or grappling with birth trauma, reach out to a qualified mental health professional who can help.

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4. 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. Breastfeeding can be a lot harder than some of us ever expected. If breastfeeding is your goal, and 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.

5. Stressing About Every Little Thing

“Am I giving baby enough stimulation?” “Too much stimulation?” “Should I have gotten the stroller that can face him toward me?” “What about that soft baby 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.

6. Not Saying Yes to Offers of 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 has changed now. Especially if they’re within the circle of people you’re safely interacting with, take them up on it. This is the time in your life when you really need a nap and some good old-fashioned nourishment and hydration.

7. Following 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. Read up on infant care and baby safety, and trust your instincts.

8. 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 their stomach, but every kid really does tackle milestones at their own pace. As long as baby’s pediatrician says your child is progressing normally, it’s not worth sweating over.

While the new mom period can be stressful, know you’re doing an amazing job and it will get easier with each passing day.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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