Bringing a new baby home is an exciting time in the life of any family, but it can also be stressful and confusing, especially for first-time parents. Drawing from our vast experience in this area, we put together a list of several common misconceptions new parents have about infant care. We hope this will be a handy resource for you and your spouse during your baby’s first year of life.
1. Sleep Schedule
Some parents try to influence their babies’ erratic sleep patterns by putting them on a sleep schedule. The reality, you are the one who’ll have to adjust to your infant’s schedule, not the other way around. It will take some time for your baby’s circadian rhythm to develop. This can take several weeks, even months, so have patience and try to get some rest anytime your baby is napping.
2. Reasons for Crying
Parents often mistakenly think that hunger is a baby’s only reason for crying. There are actually a variety of causes, including physical pain, discomfort, and moisture. After some time you will start recognizing your infant’s different needs and learn to respond to them. If the baby has been recently fed, has a clean diaper, and shows no other obvious signs of discomfort, but the crying still persists, you should call your pediatrician.
3. Baby Talk
Speaking baby talk to your infant is another common mistake you should avoid. Infant years are an important time for learning proper communication skills. Changing your tone of voice or using made-up words will only confuse your child during this critical learning period.
4. Oral Hygiene
Parents don’t often realize the importance of good oral hygiene early in the baby’s life. Even before the first teeth appear, you can gently wipe your baby’s gums with soft wet washcloth or gauze. Repeat this process after feedings and before bedtime. Once your infant’s first teeth emerge, buy a toothbrush with a small head and extra soft bristles. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a rice grain, and gently brush your infant’s teeth twice a day to avoid any future dental problems.
5. Visiting Crowded Places
If you don’t have anyone to leave your infant with, you might be tempted to take him or her to various crowded places with you, such as grocery stores, restaurants, or similar places. Remember that an infant’s immune system is not as strong as that of an adult. If you have to go grocery shopping with your baby, pick a time when the store is generally empty to avoid any unnecessary risks.