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8 mistakes new parents make

The most common pitfalls for new parents during baby's first year
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Unlike flat screen TVs or cars, babies don't come with a manual. If you want to discover how they operate though there's certainly no shortage of people, books and experts to give you their advice and opinion. That brings us onto the first mistake!

1: Listening to other people

Mothers-in-law and books may have some part to play but the person who knows your baby best is you.

Dawn Kelly is a paediatric nurse and health visitor with over 20 years experience.

"One of the biggest mistakes is we don't listen our own instincts, we're too quick to jump on the internet, too quick to listen to the experts and we don't trust ourselves."

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is an author and founder of Babycalm, which runs classes for parents and babies across the UK.

She says: "You should be listening to your baby rather than listening to other people." She says the ethos behind her organisation is not giving advice but offering information about the pros and cons of particular choices.

2: Too much information

There are so many sources of information out there it's hard to know what to trust and what to believe in. People have strong and often opposing views about raising children and are not slow to make their views known.

"There's so much information about parenting it's hard to work out what's right and what's wrong, says Dawn, "If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't right."

There's always going to someone out there with an extreme view on any area of bringing up a child so it's good to bear that in mind.

3: Expecting a sleep routine

Sleep is like currency for new parents. They're often trading hours with others, "I managed four hours straight last night," or "Little Harry slept for seven hours without waking."

A lot about sleep is down to your individual child.

Dawn who's also a baby sleep consultant says: "It's about looking at your baby. Try not to compare your child with your friends' babies."

She says people often over-exaggerate and say their children are sleeping through the night when they aren't really! It's a sort of new parents' one-upmanship.

Sarah says some parents expect their baby to be sleeping through the night by four to six months but that's not the case as 50% of two year olds still wake up at night.

4: Dealing with crying

This is a real can of worms and is heavily linked to sleep. The mistake here is not following your own gut feelings.

Who's to say it's wrong to pick up your baby when it cries or alternatively leave it to cry for a few minutes to see if it settles itself?

Babies do cry, it's a natural process, it's their means of communication and how you parent your child is a natural instinct says Dawn.

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