Parenting

6 mistakes new moms make

Special to The TribuneSeptember 2, 2013 

SEATTLE TIMES

You’re thrilled with the arrival of your new baby, but there’s so much to learn and do. You wonder whether you’re up to the task. Below are six mistakes new mothers make while taking care of their precious bundles.

  1. Not getting enough rest. Every new mother is sleep deprived. She’s up throughout the night with frequent feedings. Babies are wide awake at the crack of dawn. New mothers limp along on torturously few hours of shut-eye, feeling bedraggled and stressed to the emotional max. It’s imperative that new mothers sleep every moment available and that they create time for naps during the day. While they often worry about being lazy, their very survival depends on getting adequate sleep.
  2. Trying to do too much. Baby’s birth brings a bassinet full of added responsibilities. Laundry grows exponentially, and the house instantly falls into a state of ruin. In addition, most new moms have to-do lists and projects that reflect their exciting new stage of life. While it’s good to be up and functioning, too much activity leads to fatigue and feeling overwhelmed. New mothers should check in with how they’re feeling. If they’re short-tempered, distraught, depressed or exhausted, they need to cut back. Completing chores is important. Staying sane is even more so.
  3. Comparing themselves to other mothers. Each baby, mother and family is different. Still, it’s tempting to contrast themselves with others and assess how they’re measuring up. This behavior is risky. If another baby is developing more quickly, moms worry their child is slow. The very act of comparing implies a winner and a loser. Invariably, the comparer falls woefully short. New mothers should avoid comparisons and remind themselves they’re doing their best. Their babies are perfect just as they are.
  4. Not accepting help. People love helping new moms and babies. Co-workers are eager to cook dinners. Grandparents want to care for Baby so Mom can get back on her feet. But some new mothers are uncomfortable accepting these offers.

    They worry about appearing weak, or they’re uncomfortable assigning specific chores. Still, the birth of a new baby requires group effort. New mothers do best when they’re backed by communal support. When others say, “Can I help?” they should say, “Yes. Here’s how,” and then supply them with a list of suggestions.

  5. Excluding their husbands. It’s sometimes tempting to shut Dad out of the loop. He may not understand his wife’s stresses or mood swings, or he overlooks obvious chores that need to be done. Even though he’s equally excited about the birth of his child, he often feels like an extra cog in the maternal wheel. New mothers only make matters worse when they criticize what Hubby does with the baby, or comment, “It’s just easier if I do things myself.” This is an important time to celebrate your union. Make time together a top priority. The family’s well-being is at stake.
  6. Feeling guilty. New moms are guilt magnets. They fret they’ll cause permanent damage if everything isn’t just so. The overwhelming majority are doing a great job with their babies. They’re conscientious, capable and caring, yet they harbor guilt about the least little faux pas. If there’s been a serious problem, they feel like failures because they couldn’t fix it. But guilt is a draining emotion. It saps mothers’ energies and makes them feel bad.

    Rather than focusing on supposed shortcomings, new moms should honor what they’re doing well. They love their babies to pieces. That’s the very best they can do.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service