Notes from the other side
Jan 27
· Written By
Lindsay Meisel

17 Things You Shouldn't Bother Doing With a Newborn

Moms share what they wish they had stopped doing sooner in their postpartum journey.

When you have a baby, there are suddenly a million things you think you have to start doing. And it’s true, you do have to do a lot of stuff. But at least some of the stuff you hear about is somewhere between fully optional and completely unnecessary. Here’s a crowd-sourced list from the Oath community of things you really, truly needn’t bother with.

  • Sterilizing bottles: Unless your baby was premature or has some other underlying health issue, your dishwasher or your kitchen sink are just fine.
  • Cleaning your pump parts every time you use them: Clean them at the end of the day. The rest of the time you can just rinse them off or stick them in the fridge between pumping sessions.
  • Heating milk for baby: Lots of babies are perfectly happy to drink cold milk straight from the fridge. You might as well find out if you can get away without warming! Plus, bottle warmers get nasty if you don’t clean them properly, which is a huge pain.
  • Changing diapers in the middle of the night: Unless there’s poop, it can wait until morning.
  • Waking up your baby to eat: If there are any weight gain or health issues going on, this doesn’t apply to you. But if they are healthy and gaining weight appropriately … let them sleep!
  • Bathing a newborn more than once a week: if your baby just had a massive poopy diaper, you should bathe them. But otherwise, newborns don’t usually get that dirty. You can give sponge baths to spot clean but only do frequent full body baths if they are mutually enjoyable.
  • Taking a birth prep class: you can if you want to—some people really enjoy this type of thing—but you don’t have to. The baby will still come out.
  • Building a freezer stash: A freezer stash is mostly useful if you plan to be away from the baby for several days in a row. Otherwise, if you are just preparing to go back to work, you only need enough milk to last one day. Every day that you are away from the baby, you will likely be pumping milk for the next day. So there’s no real benefit to having tons and tons of milk stored away.

💌 Note to readers: Want to compare notes with other moms (and experts!) about what newborn practices actually help? Join the community here.

  • Changing your baby’s clothes: If they’re dirty, you should change them. But newborns don’t need to wear separate clothes for sleep / leaving the house / breastfeeding. It’s fine to wear the same onesie for a few days in a row.
  • Swaddling. That thing in the newborn class where you have to origami your baby into an onigiri is a giant waste of time. You can buy velcro swaddles. Also, not every baby wants to be swaddled. If you do swaddle you have to transition out of it. You can just skip it!!!
  • Choosing a "baby food religion." You don't have to be Team Purees or Team BLW. Most adults (as well as most babies!) learn to eat a variety of textures of foods. You can try some stuff and within a couple of months your kid will be eating non-puree food anyway.
  • Baby wearing. Some babies hate carriers. Some parents have bad backs. If it works for you, cool. If it doesn't, it's not mandatory.
  • Buying everything before the baby arrives. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook Marketplace and Buy Nothing and Amazon 2 Day Shipping and Instacart, you don't have to acquire every single gadget or gizmo before the baby arrives. You can get the basics, and have the rest picked out. You can always order it later if you decide you really need it.
  • Learning all the crazy breastfeeding holds with 250 pillows. Once you learn side-lying, you'll wonder why you ever gave yourself carpal tunnel.
  • Cover up when breastfeeding. The right to breastfeed in public is federally protected.
  • Room sharing for a year. I never would have made it a year. My first son was a noisy sleeper and I could not relax when he was in the same room as me. With my second son, he was in a crib in his own room from day one. (Some people find it easier to share a room—if that’s you, there’s nothing wrong with it. But don’t share a room just because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do.)
  • Tracking your baby’s sleep / eating / pooping etc: With my first, I made my husband, mom, and nanny download an app called BabyConnect and I was constantly nagging them to enter all the data correctly. With my second, I realized that this practice was kind of pointless and created more stress than it alleviated.
Lindsay Meisel
Lindsay Meisel

Lindsay is a mom of 2, writer, and leads Content & Community at Oath Care. She has been supporting mothers for the last 7 years through her work. As she puts it "The normal newborn experience truly shocked me: the lack of sleep, the trouble with breastfeeding, the pumping, just … everything. I’ve always thought of myself as an independent person who likes to do things on my own. But in the weeks and months after giving birth, I found myself longing to live as a tribe with other families."