A friend of mine thought babies were totally fragile and breakable … until he saw his own lot being born. Apparently, watching from the business end as your wife pushes out three children gives you a healthy respect for babies and their resilience.
And it’s lucky that babies are so resilient, because damn. Parents are clumsy.
Nobody waved a magic wand and granted us super human strength and reflexes the day we brought our precious babes home from the hospital. In fact, in that sleep-deprived, shell-shocked state specifically trademarked for parents of babies, we’re more likely than ever to stuff up.
If your baby has ever copped a minor injury under your watch, congratulations. You’re normal. And as heart-stopping, gut-wrenching and guilt-inducing as it is to hear your little one wail over some pain you’ve unintentionally inflicted on them, you can rest assured that almost every time – THEY. WILL. BE FINE.
Have you made any of these baby mistakes with your bub?
Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. And be glad you’re not my husband, who legitimately lifted our son out of his cot one afternoon and into the line of fire that was a ceiling fan. Yes, it was turned on. Yes, he was (luckily) just fine. No, I will never forget the sound of that particular thunk to my baby’s head as long as I live.
1. The Photo-BOOM
If your baby hasn’t received an iPhone dropped onto their forehead during a routine photo-snapping sesh, are you even documenting their life properly? It’s a sign of the times. Our mothers and grandmothers never had to deal with this, but we do. The fact that it always seems to happen when we’re snapping precious sleeping photos just after they’ve drifted off, inevitably waking them with a start, is a miserable twist, too.
2. The Couch Crash
Babies are tricky little monkeys. One minute they’re completely immobile. Then suddenly, when you least expect it, they’re discovering that those little arms and legs are brilliant for pushing off. And with no sense of danger or awareness of their surroundings? Well, we’ve all seen it play out, haven’t we. You’ll be lying with bub on the couch when suddenly, wham! He’s on the floor. Your mumma reflexes still developing, this is bound to catch almost every parent off guard at least once.
Oh, and don’t think this one is limited to the couch. Nope, you can sub in any piece of furniture – change tables and beds are a nail-biting second and third choice.
3. The Door Frame Blunder
You might have your depth perception nailed, but with a baby in your arms, don’t get too cocky. I swung my son’s precious head against door frames at least twice while sashaying with him around the house as a baby. Now that’s a sound I could go my whole life without hearing again. But I have another baby on the way, and my depth perception is horrible on a good day, so please pray for her.
Baby heads also cop a whopping from walls, car roofs, closing cupboard doors and, as mentioned earlier, ceiling fans (cringe). Even the most vigilant parent is likely to knock their baby’s noggin on something.
4. The Sleep Disturbance
We work so hard to get our babies to sleep. But sometimes that effort turns to self-sabotage in the blink of an eye. We may blame the rubbish bin we kicked over in the bathroom or the saucepan we dropped as we unloaded it from the dishwasher. But the blunder is on us, and the price is a reduced nap and a baby crankily reminding us of it for the rest of the day.
The only thing worse than waking the baby is when someone else wakes the baby.
5. The Fumble
I am here to tell you that any parent who claims they’ve never almost-dropped their baby is either lying to you or not actually holding their baby, like ever. Babies are wiggly, slippery and totally unpredictable. They don’t know that jerking their head back suddenly can change your whole centre of gravity and cause near-chaos. Luckily, most fumbles are miraculously corrected at the last second, with baby being a little jostled but otherwise unharmed.
6. The Over-Fill Eruption
Every baby partakes in an over-zealous feeding session once in a while, and sometimes we (wisely) regulate it. Other times we shrug and say “Eh, she’s obviously just extra hungry. She’ll be fine,” moments before the entire contents of her stomach erupt forth all over her… and us, obviously. The clean-up is about as fun as wrestling a smashed avocado brunch from a millennial. Plus, bub will probably refuse any efforts to replace her lost stomach contents – leaving her going to sleep with an empty little tum.
If none of these parenting mistakes ring true to you … frankly, I don’t believe you.
Mistakes are a normal, healthy part of parenting. They don’t make you a bad mum. Heck, they’re a rite of passage as long as bub remains intact and no bones are broken.
Instead of beating yourself up for every little thing that goes wrong, just focus on surviving those baby days. And breathe. You’re nailing this parenting thing … in your own, special way.