According to experts, the worst bad habits that new parents pick up – so how much are you guilty of?
Most new parents are desperate to avoid bad habits, but sometimes they can’t help but sneak in without you noticing.
Whether forcing your baby to follow a strict routine or arguing with your partner about who gets the most sleep, taking care of a little one can certainly prove to be a test.
To help you identify how you can make life easier for yourself, leading experts from The Baby Show, held in London at the end of this month, shared their advice on the best ways to change course with FEMAIL.
Parenting expert Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, certified sleep consultant Lucy Shrimpton, also known as The Sleep Nanny, and nutritionist Charlotte Sterling-Reed, who specializes in baby and child and working with Joe Wicks on his next book Wean in 15, reveal the common mistakes that make new parents.
But don’t panic – it’s important to remember that bad habits that you find yourself in during those early weeks can easily be reversed, provided they are identified and changed.
Most new parents are desperate to avoid bad habits, but sometimes they can’t help but sneak in without you noticing. Shown: stock image
Try to get into a rigid routine
Parenting is difficult enough without the extra pressure to be consistent.
In an effort to get themselves and their babies into good habits, many parents are exhausting themselves into a rigid routine – and it’s probably a wasted effort.
Rachel Fitz-Desorgher says: ‘In the development phase, babies are actually unable to learn a routine in the first few months; and even if they are old enough to settle in a certain pattern, they are more than able to cope with flexibility – after all, they are human!
‘Give yourself a break and let some human mud back in your life now and again.
“It won’t make you a bad parent and it might just make you relax.”
Put your baby to sleep
When it comes to sleeping and new babies, parents will do what they have to do to survive.
It can be a difficult period of lack of sleep and a new baby will fall asleep while feeding.
Lucy Shrimpton, also known as the Sleep Nanny, recommends trying to lose the habit of having your child sleep immediately after a feeding. Shown: stock image
Although you cannot completely avoid this, Lucy Shrimpton recommends raising your baby a little after a feeding.
“This allows them to feel like they are falling asleep,” she explains.
Quarreling about who has the most (or least) sleep
One of the most common battlefields for new parents is beyond who has the most – or least – sleep!
“It will be a daily game of resentment, with each parent looking at the clock in the morning and counting how often they have been woken up and calculating how many minutes of sleep they have had,” Rachel explains.
“Actually, we are exceptionally well adapted to dealing with the different sleep patterns that parenthood brings – and fascinating is that breastfeeding mothers are actually designed to get into deep sleep much faster than before, even though their sleep is more broken , it is of a much better quality. “
She recommends that you stop arguing about who has the worst time at night and accept that this is a phase that will pass and that you have evolved to deal with it.
“No matter how early it is or how tired you are, try to start every day with a kind word and a cup of tea in bed,” she advises.
Rock your baby to sleep
Rocking your little one to sleep is a very natural and instinctive habit because it soothes babies and cradles them to sleep.
Rocking your little one to sleep is a very natural and instinctive habit because it soothes babies and cradles them to sleep. Shown: stock image
You will probably use this technique in the early weeks, but as the baby grows, Lucy recommends gradually abolishing it.
“Try to swing less and become calmer once they are in their sleeping space,” she says.
“You are still there to comfort you, but they also get more practice in arranging.”
Take them to your bed
Sleeping together can be dangerous, so many experts advise against it for safety reasons.
“Many parents find this a last resort when they are drowsy and exhausted in the small hours,” Lucy explains.
‘If your baby needs reassurance and comfort, find a safe way to give it to your baby instead of taking your little one with you.
“Side cribs are great for this with young babies.”
Sleeping together can be dangerous, so many experts advise against it for safety reasons. Shown: stock image
Don’t eat with your baby
So often mom or dad is feeding baby instead of feeding themselves.
But babies and young children learn a lot about food by looking at others around them.
“They learn how to bite, chew, and swallow by observing your eating technique,” Charlotte notes.
“They learn portion sizes and what foods they choose to see your own habits, and they often use role models such as friends and family to copy positive eating habits and habits.”
Babies and young children learn a lot about food by looking at others around them. Shown: stock image
If you have trouble getting your little one to eat, Charlotte recommends that you sit next to them and eat similar foods during meals.
“This relieves meals and allows you to focus your attention on eating and enjoying food, which can have a knock-on effect on how much your little one wants to eat,” she adds.
Tag your baby too quickly as a ‘difficult eater’
Many babies go through phases in which they release certain foods, or even all eat together.
“This is actually quite normal!” Reassures Charlotte. ‘Children’s appetite is always up and down because it is influenced by so many things, including illness, teething, sleep, growth spikes, routine changes … you name it.
“Instead of giving up your little one and labeling it as a difficult eater, you try to listen to their internal appetite and understand that it won’t be the same every day or even every meal.
“Don’t forget to stay calm and consistent with the type of food you offer your baby.”
Many babies go through phases in which they release certain foods, or even all together, so don’t give them a ‘difficult eater’ too quickly. Shown: stock image
Try to teach your baby the difference between day and night
“As new parents, we all believe in the idea that we have to teach our baby the difference between day and night from the beginning to get them into good habits,” Rachel says.
“Don’t let this be a miserable waste of time! In their first few months, babies have evolved considerably to sleep more in the morning than at night, crying when they are out of their arms for longer than a few minutes and unable to even learn the difference between day and night!
‘Instead, adjust to your baby until he is old enough to learn how to adjust himself a little more.
“You may find that you can relax and really enjoy your little bundle!”
Rachel, Lucy and Charlotte all speak at The Baby Show in ExCeL, London, from February 28 to March 2. For more information, visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.