Working Moms: Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes During Baby’s First Year

Your maternity leave is over, and it’s time to go back to work. In one arm, you have a newborn baby to care for; in the other, you have a laptop. First realization: You will be living a double life from here on out.

If you are fortunate enough to work from home, it will be (slightly) easier to strike a balance and remain (somewhat) in a state of harmony. Take a look at four common oversights many working moms make in their baby’s first year, so you don’t make the same mistakes.

1. They Don’t Swaddle

A fussy baby will take the wind right out of your new mom sails as persistent exhaustion sets in. Swaddling is a time-honored technique that creates a safer sleeping environment for babies. Swaddling gently supports the baby’s natural position with legs and hips flexed inside a snugly fit blanket. The many advantages of swaddling include:

  • Supine swaddling (swaddling and placing babies on their back) can help reduce risk of SIDS
  • Swaddled babies sleep better
  • Swaddling reduces colic and fussiness
  • Swaddling can help when baby is learning to breastfeed

Not all swaddles are made the same. Choose blankets that are large enough to swaddle properly and are made from soft materials like cotton flannel and cotton muslin. Swaddle blankets made by SwaddleDesigns come with instructions sewn right on the tag, so you’ll never be left scratching your head. These designs are available online or at Target stores nationwide.

2. They Don’t Preserve Enough Memories

Sixty-one percent of mothers return to work at some point in baby’s first year, according to a Child Care Aware of America study. Because parenthood, work and life in general consumes so much time, many parents are not able to preserve the memories they’d like to. Then later on, feelings of guilt crop up.

If you work remotely, you have a better chance of catching and preserving milestones. For a little help to that end, check out this Parents article featuring creative ways to preserve memories.

3. They Don’t Let Others Help

The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” still rings true in many ways. If you are fortunate enough to have family and friends nearby, take advantage of your personal village. Here are some tips to help reduce stress:

  • You can’t effectively do it all. Ask your family for help.
  • If your spouse or other children ask to help you out, say yes. You may not realize it, but when you accept their help, they feel good about themselves. This can create a stronger family bond and reduce the stress on everyone.
  • If budget permits, get help from outside sources. Let the dry cleaners do your ironing or call a home cleaning service to dispel the dirt.
  • Delegate the things you don’t like to do.

4. They Rely on Motion to Get Their Baby to Sleep

Many parents will go to great lengths to help their child fall and stay asleep, but some of these methods are mistakes. Put an end to aimless driving through the neighborhood at midnight because your baby can’t sleep without being put in motion.

A child misses out on a deep, restorative sleep with motion-induced sleep. You don’t completely have to give up the idea of a musical swing, though. It’s okay to sooth an ornery baby with motion, but once sleep hits, stop the action and let him sleep soundly.

Being a working mom with a newborn is hard. But if you avoid these common pitfalls, it can be the most rewarding time of your life. And by swaddling, preserving memories, letting others help and teaching your baby to fall asleep without motion, you can sit back and feel a little less stress and a lot more connection.

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