Babies. They’re a conundrum for new parents. You spend months and months excited about the little bundle of joy you’re about to have and you picture the cute, sleepy baby you’re bringing into your home.
The thing you forgot to picture? You with the baby! You forgot that it would be you holding that baby when it pukes, poops and cries for seemingly no reason, and so there is a lot for you to worry about at first. You have to give yourself some slack.
You are new to the world of parenting, of COURSE there will be moments you doubt yourself and worry. Worrying comes with a territory as a parent, and you don’t feel like you have much of a choice with it.
Here’s the thing, though, Mama, you don’t need to panic. Whether you are caring for a colicky baby or you are battling caring for delicate baby skin, you don’t need to worry. Babies are puzzles, but those puzzles aren’t particularly difficult for you to work out!
So, take a deep breath, because we have a detailed list of all the reasons you shouldn’t worry as a new mother. Let’s take a look and by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully feel more at ease!
Crying – Not Something To Panic About
Most people hear their baby crying and immediately panic – it’s a natural instinct to worry about why they’re crying. Babies are often known for screaming because they are babies and this is how they communicate! Whether they are hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, need to burp or have a rumbly tummy, babies cry to tell you something is wrong.
Crying will not hurt your baby when they are communicating a need, but plenty of research shows that prolonged crying DOES have an impact on their brains long-term. A crying baby doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong – it just means that you haven’t quite identified the reason behind the crying.
The important thing to do is to respond quickly and if the crying stops, you’re onto a winner. An inconsolable baby is inconsolable for a reason, so pop to the doctor to rule out reflux and colic – just in case!
Your Baby Is Sneezing
If you have a winter baby, bronchiolitis is a worry for parents. When your baby starts sneezing, you may panic that you have to worry about illnesses, but it’s not always something to worry about.
Sneezing is how a baby clears their nasal passages, and prevents the congestion of airborne particles. The only time it should worry you is if your baby has a high temperature, lethargy, and is coughing at the same time. The younger the baby, the more worried you may feel – get some advice if you are nervous!
The Great Feeding Debate
Boob. Bottle. Cup. Syringe. Supplemented nursing system. Expressed feeding. How confusing is all this for a new mother? You will be told two options for feeding your baby by your healthcare provider: breastfeeding and formula feeding.
There is a dangerous rhetoric out there at “fed is best” and while people who say it mean well, the correct thing to remember is the informed is best. You should feed your baby in any way that feels most natural and comfortable to you, whether this is a breast or a bottle doing the job. If you want to use formula and bottles, research everything in that area and buy the formula that makes sense for you.
If you want to breastfeed, inform yourself about low initial weight gains (normal), lip and tongue ties (normal), the feeling of a correct latch and what pain could mean (not normal). The better informed you are, the better decision you make.
You don’t have to worry here, there are plenty of groups and specialists who can advise you on the decision that you choose to make.
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You’re Scared You Won’t Bond
No matter what film you watch or which TV show you see, you will watch mothers bonding and snuggling with their newborn and feeling so content. Newsflash: it doesn’t happen this way for every mother. Some mothers meet their baby and are still so consumed with shock from the birth that they barely feel able to function.
They look at their baby and wait for a rush of love and nothing happens right away – and this is so perfectly normal! You will bond with your baby, so don’t panic! Your time, feeding, cuddles, and simple skin to skin time with your baby is going to awaken that bond and it grows over time.
It’s not always an immediate slap in the face of love and adoration, so please, don’t beat yourself up!
Oh, those baby books have a LOT to answer for. All of the articles and books told you that by XYZ month, your baby will be able to do XYZ. Who wrote these books? Guess what: your baby did not come out with a book attached to their cord. The “experts” have written the books, but the baby didn’t read it.
So, if your baby isn’t rolling by four months and sitting by six months, there is nothing wrong with them! Your baby isn’t behind – they’re simply moving at their own pace. Of course, if they’re rolling and crawling hasn’t begun by 12 months, yes, speak to a professional if you are worried.
You and your pediatrician can work together if you’re worried, but they’ll likely tell you not to worry anyway!
Routines: They’re Not A Must!
“Get your baby into a routine.”
“Don’t hold the baby, you’ll make a rod for your own back.”
“Put the baby down and shut the door, ignore them til morning.”
You are most likely going to hear at least one of these sentences shot at you in your parenting journey and they are going to make you feel like cr*p. Routines are forced upon us as an idea that the baby has to fit into your life, and not the other way around. Your baby will eat when they are hungry, not to a clock.
They will sleep when they are sleepy, not to a day or night schedule. Babies spend nine months in the womb being close to you and warm and we expect them to come out and immediately want to be independent. Babies want us. Shutting the door on their crying doesn’t help them or you and all it does is encourage them to stop crying for you when they need you.
Your baby WILL settle into a routine as they get older and develop more, you do not need to force one on them or you and put pressure on yourself. Relax – routines come in time and are not a must. Snuggle that baby and enjoy the fourth trimester.
Everyone Will Tell You What To Do
A new mother is always bombarded with tidbits of advice that are actually intrusive and don’t actually help. Your mother may tell you that back in her day, you were on solid food at three months. They’ll tell you they smoked in pregnancy and were fine.
The thing is, you are now the adult and while parenting 20+ years ago said crying it out with okay and solid food at 12 weeks was okay, it’s not! Research has been conducted for years to show that six months is the optimum and safest weaning age.
Research has shown that excessive crying puts pressure on the brain and stunts the development of a child. Everyone will tell you what to do, but your best thing to do here is to smile, say thank you, and then do your own research and make your own decision.
If you are getting pressured by family and friends, you can tell them that you are not comfortable with their advice. You can tell them thank you but no thank you. It’s okay to say no!
A lot of mothers worry about visitors the moment they have a baby. It’s a very vulnerable time for a woman; you’ve just given birth and the last thing that you want is to have a stream of visitors descend on you in a hospital while you are bleeding and sore and want to touch your brand new baby. You are allowed to say no, here.
You are allowed to ask people to wait until you are ready. If people get annoyed about it, then that’s fine they can be annoyed. Concentrate on the baby and spend time bonding and establishing feeding before you accept visitors. It’s okay to want a bubble of you three before the world gets involved.
You spent nine months changing your body to accommodate a person. Your bones have softened and stretched. Your hips have widened and your skin has changed. You gained kilos in food, baby, fluid, blood, and placenta. If you think that you need to “snap back”, you need to remember that it took nine months to change entirely.
Give yourself some time and don’t compare yourself to other people when it comes to getting back to feeling your best!