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10 Mistakes New Parents Make

The top gaffes of new parents during baby's first year and how to avoid them.

New-parent mistake No. 5: Not sweating a fever in a newborn

"Any fever over 100.4 rectally in the first three months of a baby's life is an emergency,” Walker says. The one exception is a fever that develops within 24 hours after an infant's first set of immunizations. Walker Tells WebMD, "Some parents may just say 'he feels warm' and give the baby Tylenol. But that's a parenting mistake in this age group. An infant's immune system is not set up to handle an infection on its own."

If your child feels warm, take the temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 100.4, call your pediatrician immediately. 

New-parent mistake No. 6: Not properly installing the car seat

Any new parent who’s tried knows that installing a car seat is -- or at least can seem like -- rocket science. “Once you have chosen the right seat,” Walker says, "go to your local fire station or Babies-R-Us or another chain store to make sure you have installed it correctly.” Or go to get help putting it in. "Your infant's life,” she says, “may depend on it."

New-parent mistake No. 7: Neglecting oral care

"Many new parents don’t think about their newborns teeth or oral health until it is too late," says Saul Pressner, a New York City-based dentist. Your baby is never too young for you to start encouraging good oral health habits. Pressner offers tips to help new parents know how to do that:

  • Don't give your infant milk in bed once teeth have erupted. “This will increase the risk of developing cavities,” Pressner says, adding that the cavities are also known as baby bottle decay.
  • Use a wet gauze to wipe down your baby’s gums, he says. And start using a tooth brush when the baby turns 1.
  • It’s also important to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride. Fluoride is found naturally in water and aids in cavity prevention. Some towns have fluoridated water through the taps. "If yours doesn’t,” Says Pressner, “ask your dentist about supplements."

New-parent mistake No. 8: Ignoring your marriage

"Staying connected within the marriage when you first have a child is really important and can be overlooked," says John C. Friel, PhD. Friel is a licensed psychologist with private practices in Reno, Nev., and Minneapolis, Minn. "Any weakness in that relationship will get magnified by having a child,” he says. “And while you have to focus a lot on the new baby, you must somehow maintain a sense of being a couple." Friel is also the co-author of The 7 Worst Things (Good) Parents Do. Friel advises to avoid this common parenting mistake by "making sure that you are not zoning out when you are not with the baby."

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