Don't let the judgy social media commenters or well-intentioned loved ones get you down—it's okay to make these so-called new mom "mistakes."
Mistakes? Every mama has made a few (or a few dozen). But most of these so-called mistakes that bring out the judgy side of social media aren't really so bad for you or your baby. Before you start beating yourself up about your latest "mistake," see why you shouldn't worry about it.
1. Buying all of the baby stuff
Did you really need that bottle warmer? The all-singing, all-dancing, light-up, vibrating play mat? Probably not, but chances are you bought them anyway. Along with a bunch of other new baby "essentials" no new moms should be without. Before your baby arrives, you believe that these things are essential, that you'll be depriving your kid if you don't have them. It's not until you're in the thick of life with a newborn that you realize all they really need is something to keep them warm, something to keep them clean, and plenty of food. But until then, unless your spending spree maxed out your credit cards, a little splurging isn't going to kill you.
2. Worrying constantly
Hey, moms worry. It's just what we do. We are suddenly 100 percent responsible for another person: a tiny person who can't do anything for themselves. There may be nothing wrong with your baby, but there also isn't anything wrong with Googling their every symptom or calling your pediatrician twice a day—at least until you know that tiny person a little better and have more confidence in yourself as a new mom (or until your pediatrician changes her number). Definitely don't worry about what you might be doing wrong. "Honestly, any mistake that doesn't result in death or lasting harm is an OK mistake in my book," says mom-of-two Amy Stanwood, from Port Wisconsin, Washington.
3. Always responding to baby's cries
If there's one mantra I'd recommend for new moms, it's simple: "Babies cry." This is a fact. It's OK to let your baby cry for short periods of time, especially once she gets a little bit older. She won't be scarred for life if you let her fuss for just a few minutes while you see if she'll settle back down to sleep. But don't worry if you're rushing to your baby every time she cries—it's actually a good thing to be responsive to your baby's cries. And no, you won't be "spoiling" her!
4. Hogging the baby
After carrying your baby in your body for nine months, you can't be blamed for being a little territorial. I didn't want anyone else to hold my first child—which must have been annoying as hell to my friends and family. I got very little rest because I had him clamped to my body pretty much 24/7. Of course, I know now that a child can never get too much love, and new moms can never get too much rest. But we don't blame you if, for now, you want to keep that little love nugget all to yourself!
5. Becoming a homebody
After giving birth, you might just want to shut yourself away with your newborn and savor those precious early days and weeks. It's your prerogative to say no to visitors and turn down social invitations, and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel guilty about that. (Or if you decide to do the opposite—and head out for a night on the town with your mate while someone else minds your baby.)
6. Getting stressed over milestones
If your baby is the last to sit unaided in your Mommy and Me class, you might feel like the biggest parenting failure around. That's totally normal. We all want our kids to be smashing those developmental landmarks. But seriously: rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, back-flipping and ruling the world will all come in good time—and being an anxious mama won't make any milestone happen any faster.
7. Diapering disasters
Despite changing diapers several times a day (and night), sometimes practice does not make perfect. Every new mom will have a diaper disaster (possibly several). Backwards, too loose, forgetting to pack extras when you're on the road... the only way to survive a diaper disaster is to see the funny side of it. "You get peed on a few times and then your technique improves dramatically!" says mom-of-one Jessica Sillers, from Rockville, Maryland.
8. Having pacifier issues
Pacifiers get a bad rap. You'd think they were laced with heroin, the way some parents recoil from them. OK, so nobody wants to get into a pacifier war with their 5-year-old kid, trying to wrestle it out of their mouth at the school gates. But that's highly unlikely to happen. If it's a choice between a full night's sleep and worrying about a hypothetical pacifier withdrawal situation further down the line, I know what I'd pick.
9. Thinking experts know best
How many of us have shelves of baby books that we devoured during pregnancy but have been gathering dust since we got home from the hospital? We can learn a lot from parenting experts, sure, but in my experience, the best advice often comes from chatting things through with other moms. And let's not forget that a mother's instinct—it's there for a reason.
10. Assuming you're doing it all wrong
First of all: you're not. But it's normal to think you are. No matter how much research we do and how many baby books we read, as soon as that baby is placed in your arms, there's likely to be a "WTF do I do now?" moment. Everything we think we know becomes a little less clear. Add severe sleep deprivation and the baby blues into the mix, and confidence in your ability to keep this child alive can plummet. Being a new mom is all about figuring things out as you go along, and there's nothing wrong with that.