When parents take their bundle of joy home from the hospital, it is inevitable they won’t do everything right. Some time ago I read this article where CNN asked pediatricians for common mistakes parents make with their newborns. The pediatricians surveyed offered great insight for new parents. Recalling the scary feeling of being totally inexperienced with my first son prompted me to share these new parent tips.
The top three most common mistakes are:1 – Letting a newborn sleep through the night
“One of the things that makes me cringe is when parents say to me, ‘The first night home from the hospital she slept all the way through the night!’ ” says Dr. Lance Goodman, a pediatrician in Boca Raton, Florida. “I tell them, ‘Oh no! She’s not supposed to be doing that!’ ”
The pediatricians unanimously agreed that babies need to eat every four hours and parents should wake them. With a few rare exceptions, newborns should not sleep through the night for the first two weeks of life.
Babies who go too long without eating could become dehydrated, stated Dr Goodman. In addition, sleeping eight hours might be a sign of severe jaundice. “They might be so lethargic they can’t arouse themselves to feed,” Goodman says.
When is it OK to let your baby sleep through the night? “At the two-week checkup, if your baby is gaining weight and sleeping through the night, hallelujah! Go enjoy it!” says Dr. Ari Brown, author of “Baby 411” and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
2- Not feeding on demand
The pediatricians surveyed said it is a mistake to want baby to eat on a strict schedule. As long as a newborn is eating at least every four hours, they should keep whatever schedule they want.
“A baby is smarter than any grown-up,” says Dr. Robin Madden, a pediatrician in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Whether breast-fed or bottle-fed, they know when they’re hungry and they know when they’re full.”
“Babies don’t feed on a cookie-cutter pattern.” Brown went on to say, “If you follow their demand, they’re going to eat better.”
3- Taking a newborn to crowded places
Another thing that bothered Dr. Goodman was taking newborns to a crowded place, like a busy store or a child’s birthday party. “There’s no reason to do that,” he says. “It’s a matter of using common sense.” Exposing your baby to lots of germy people is a problem for two reasons. One, they could get a life-threatening bacterial infection. Two, even if they get a less threatening fever from a virus , doctors will still have to hospitalize them to make sure it’s not something more serious. “A fever in a baby less than six weeks old is an automatic ticket for a two-day hospital stay,” says Brown. This does not mean parents should keep the baby cooped up in the house. Take the baby for a walk and when you have to grocery shop, pick a time when the store will be least crowded.