And How to Avoid Them (You Are Not Alone!)
Becoming a parent for the first time is wonderful, confusing, life-changing, and sometimes frustrating. You are getting advice from all different directions. You’ve probably read a few books with conflicting strategies. Without proper guidance, it’s easy to make these common mistakes while thinking you are doing the best thing for your baby. With a little consistency, you can avoid these mistakes and create healthy sleep habits that will ensure both you and baby get the rest you both need.
These are the 5 common mistakes I see new parents make all the time. These are easy to make, but they are also easily avoidable with the right guidance.
Both parents wake up every time the baby wakes up.
Take turns! This may sound obvious, but many new parents are so alarmed every time baby cries, that they both wake up and run to baby’s rescue every time baby wakes up. Taking turns will preserve you and your partner’s ability to get some rest. You can take turns waking up for feedings or you can take turns waking up alternating nights.
Letting baby sleep on you every time they sleep.
While this will be unavoidable in the beginning, providing baby a place to sleep on his or her own will allow baby to start learning how to self-soothe, and that he/she doesn’t need mom or dad to sleep or to get back to sleep every time. It also gives parents a chance to get some rest themselves, and catch up on laundry and dishes. Self-care is so important during the postpartum period. Parents need time to rest and relax so they will have energy to give their babies.
Letting grandparents take the reins.
Grandparents are a wonderful resource to have, and if they live nearby, count yourself lucky! But remember, not all of their advice is accurate or up to date. Grandparents also tend to be the first to let baby sleep on them all of the time, instead of putting baby down in their crib. Make sure you set clear boundaries from the beginning. Remember, you are the parent! You can be respectful and grateful for their help WHILE asking them to please respect your wishes as a parent.
Not providing an environment conducive to sleep.
Many parents witness their baby sleeping through anything and everything and think this will last forever (remember the time the smoke alarm went off?) White noise and blackout curtains are just a couple of the items you will need to provide an environment where baby will love to sleep. Soon baby will love an environment away from the living areas of the home, free of distractions, so that they can get the best sleep possible.
Rushing in and picking up baby as soon as they make a small peep!
The truth is, babies make a lot of noise. Sometimes they grunt, whine and coo during their sleep. If you rush in and pick baby up as soon as you hear the first sound, you are actually waking baby up. Give baby a few minutes to figure out if he or she is awake and time for baby to begin to learn to self-soothe.