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Top Do’s and Don’ts for First-Time Mothers

Becoming a mother can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. You want what’s best for your little one, but as a first-timer, you’re learning everything on the job (and probably without a full-night’s rest). You likely have a ton of questions about what to expect after giving birth and what things to keep in mind! That’s why we’ve collected a treasure trove of real-life advice for new moms from our doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, who care for babies and coach new parents every day.

  1. Leaving the hospital after giving birth can be scary

    You just brought a baby into the world, and leaving the only place you’ve known during your time together can feel sad and scary. That’s OK. It’s completely natural to feel that way as you leave the safety net of the hospital and the supportive care team there. It will take time to adjust to life at home as a new family, but settling into your new parenting routine will help build your confidence.

  2. Sometimes babies cry for no reason

    When babies cry, there’s usually a good reason. They may be hungry, gassy or in need of a dry diaper – and you’ll start to know their different crying calls. But sometimes they can cry even when it seems like all their needs are met. We’d like to think that there’s a scientific answer for everything these days, but doctors agree that sometimes babies cry for no reason. What we do know is that crying is how infants communicate. They’re suddenly a part of this brand-new world, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds.

  3. Giving your baby a pacifier is totally okay

    Pacifiers can be a hot-button issue in the parenting world, but experts give moms the green light. Why? Pacifiers can actually offer several benefits for babies. First, they’re soothing – and satisfying. Babies have a natural sucking reflex that helps them self-sooth, as well as practice nursing. A pacifier can calm babies when they’re fussy and also help them develop the sucking motion they need for nursing or bottle feeding.

  4. You can’t hold your baby “too much”

    Has someone ever warned you that holding your baby too much will “spoil” them? Behind that probably well-meaning advice is the myth that babies might develop a dependency on being held, and won’t learn to be independent. Well we’re here to clear that misconception right up. Numerous studies have not only dispelled that myth, but led child development experts to encourage the opposite.

  5. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy

    Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy. There’s often an expectation that breastfeeding should come as second nature for moms and babies. That pressure can lead mothers to feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed, or choose not to. The truth is, it’s different for everyone – and that’s OK. There are many variables in the breastfeeding journey that can cause roadblocks and stress along the way.

  6. Some babies just don’t sleep well

    It’s hard to hear that your friend’s baby is sleeping in long stretches when meanwhile, you’re clutching your third cup of coffee after a grand total of four hours of shut-eye. Babies learn to sleep through the night as a part of their development – and every baby is different. Newborns typically wake up every 2-3 hours to eat. Sleep improves as babies get older and can take in more milk.

  7. It’s never safe to co-sleep with your baby

    It can be tempting to bring baby into bed with you just to catch a little sleep – and you may hear of other parents doing it. But the dangers of co-sleeping far outweigh the ease. Bed-sharing brings the risk of accidental suffocation, strangulation or SIDS. Instead of co-sleeping in the same bed, the AAP recommends that your baby sleep in a crib, on their back, in the same room as you for at least the first six months.

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