7 Parenting Mistakes We Made with our First Kids

Parenting is nothing if not learning the hard way. And we are not to proud to say that we learned a LOT between having our first and second kids. Are we parenting experts? Not by a long shot! But can we admit that we made some classic parenting mistakes with #1 that we quickly fixed when #2 came along? Absolutely! So heed our advice (warnings?) and check out these 7 parenting mistakes we made, so you don’t have to make them too!

When my first child was born, I was so prepared. I had read the books, I had registered for all the things I needed and I was going to do everything right. Unfortunately if you’ve been a parent for more than about 5 minutes, you know that’s not possible. Parenting mistakes will be made. The key is to learn from them.

You may go on to have second kids, which you’ll make different parenting mistakes with. Repeat for however many kids you have! In the interest of full disclosure, I’m wearing Baby #4 right now, as he is unable to fall asleep unless he’s being held.

But the seven parenting mistakes here? I definitely haven’t made any of those with him. So learn from us and don’t make these seven classic parenting mistakes.

7 Parenting Mistakes and how to avoid them

This post contains affiliate links. You can read more at our disclosures page. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Warming Wipes

Our babies come into this world loved and cherished and we want to give them every creature comfort this world can provide. Including, apparently, warm wipes. So we registered for the wipes warmer because it was obviously something our perfect babies needed in their lives. And it worked great. Middle of the night diaper changes were warm and comfortable. Our babies were treated like little clients at the best day spa ever.

And then we were in the real world and had to change a diaper and were not in our homemade day spa and boy were those babies pissed! They looked at us as if you say, “What is this cold abomination you’re touching me with??” All because we wanted to give them the best.

Mistake made. Lesson learned. A little room temperature wipe never killed anyone. And while our second babies never knew the luxury of a warm wipe, they turned out just fine.

Mom with baby on changing table

Warming Their Bottle

Okay, so maybe this one is a little more controversial than warming their wipes. But hear me out! Yes, in this case your baby might be used to nice warm milk when they drink straight from the tap. We get it! That’s what they’re used to. And we’re not saying you should stray from what works best for you and for your baby. But….BUT….did you know that you can totally offer NOT warm milk to your baby?

To be honest, it didn’t occur to us with our first either. We dutifully warmed every bottle they were offered, and they loved it. Which made sense. So we kept on doing that. It worked.

Then our seconds were born. And we had these sweet little babies, but also toddlers underfoot. Which made things like warming a bottle a little more of a process. So one day, out of exhaustion or desperation or maybe a combo of both, we just offered up the cold bottle straight from the fridge. And HOLY MOLY IT WAS JUST AS GOOD TO OUR BABY!

Mother feeding baby a bottle

Now to be fair, all baby’s aren’t as open to the idea. But the point is yours might be!  So give a cold – or even room temperature – bottle a try! The worst than can happen is they don’t like it and you have to warm it anyway!

Related Post: The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding Like a Pro

Buying Something You Already Have Because It’s “Cuter”

When I was pregnant with my first I had some big dreams. For some reason, many of them centered around making my own baby food. So I registered for the cutest little baby blender the world has ever known.

Baby Bullet

When I received this gift at my baby shower, I GASPED. I was delighted. I was thrilled. I was going to make so. much. baby food. So, of course, I carefully put it in my cupboard until the momentous day my baby was ready to eat his first mashed up little bite of sweet potatoes.

Guess what? My baby is turning 8 this year and guess where that cute little blender is? In the cupboard. Because I already had a food processer people. Like a normal sized one that works perfectly well to make baby mash. Now, does my normal food processer have an adorable little smiley face on it? No. But guess what? When you’re exhausted and about to get those “made with love” sweet potatoes thrown at your face? The cute blender doesn’t seem quite so clutch.


Babies are adorable. Tiny little onesies are adorable. Your baby, in a tiny onesie, with their name – that you painstakingly picked out – is super high levels adorable.

Exhibit A:

Baby in Name Onesie

Also adorable? Hand me downs. Wait – no, hand me downs are practical. But still. Eventually, practical starts to beat adorable and you should get used to it early.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and a place for labels. Water bottles are great for labeling. We love Contigo – no spill – water bottles with a DIY vinyl name label (that you can peel off and change to another kid’s name if you need!)

Sometimes labels are required so be ready to label everything you send to your kids’ preschool for instance. But do yourself – and your next kids – a favor and label clothing on the inside. Amazon has a ton of great labels for kids clothes, like these. Then you can slap another label over it to update the name! 

But don’t go crazy labeling every shirt they wear. Yes, get one or two special occasion pieces, but be judicious in your personalized gear! My 6 year old will tell you that she does not love being called Cole all the time, just because she wanted to wear one of her brother’s me down shirts. So when labeling, think long term and think practical over just adorable.

Try These Personalized Ideas Instead: The Best Personalized Gifts for Kids

Keeping Water Out of Their Eyes

Yes, you have this sweet little baby that you want to protect from absolutely everything. Including, apparently, that vicious liquid – water. So we give them little sponge baths and hold our hands over their eyes and gently tilt their heads back. We might even buy some crazy contraption like this  to ensure our baby’s delicate eyes never know a single drop of water.

It seems like such a great idea – until you have a toddler that FREAKS THE F OUT if a single bead gets anywhere near their eyes. Bath time turns from a fun activity  to an exercise in torture.

And no one wants to give toddlers another thing to fuss about!

With our second babies, we decided to pour the water on top of their heads and let it flow baby! I mean, they just spent months in liquid, what’s a little water at bath time? Sure enough, when our babies became toddlers, they were totally fine to get water on their face and in their eyes. 

Related Post: Open Ended Bath Toys for Toddlers (Under $15!)

Not Giving Them the Remote

We live in a world of Netflix and Disney+ and everything recorded. Which is great. Every show our kids could dream of is at their fingertips – if we give them the remote. But with our firsts, we did everything right. We limited screen time, we monitored what they watched, and we were in control.

But having every episode of Paw Patrol on demand also means that our kids weren’t just demanding Paw Patrol, they were demanding very specific episodes of Paw Patrol. You know, the one where Marshall messes up and Mayor Humdinger is bad and there’s a chicken. Hopefully that’s enough info for you to find exactly which episode they want or all hell will break loose.

So with our firsts, we suffered through really poor explanations of episodes of shows we don’t even watch only to be screamed at for not being mind readers and turning it on immediately.

By our second kids? We understood that the remote doesn’t mean total control. And we’d all be a little less miserable if they could find their own favorite episode of their favorite show. (Which, it turns out, they are way better at than we are!)

little boy holding remote control

Related Post: 7 Tech Activities That Don’t Count as Screen Time

Thinking Everything Was My Fault (or My Victory)

At the end of the day, we all do some things right, and we make some terribly epic parenting mistakes. There will be wins and there will be losses. 

Good sleeper? You think you did something miraculous. Fussy baby? You blame yourself for not setting a routine. More often than not, it’s on the kid, not you. Because no parenting book ever had all the answers for all the kids.

As with all parenting advice, you should take what works for your family.

Ignore the rest. 

Even if you end up with a few “failures” along the way.


Looking for more parenting laughs? Head here next: