I had literally no idea what I was doing when Marcus was born..... I still have no idea what I'm doing most of the time, but I've slowly stopped jumping at every cry, and have stopped going into his room a hundred times a night to make sure he's okay.
Every mom is different, and every mom worries about lots of different things when it comes to their newborn, but I compiled a list of the top 10 things I found new moms worry about, and maybe together we can provide some support for new moms through the greatest and most terrifying time in your lives...(emphasis on the terrifying)
1. Are you Breathing?You are going to find yourself asking your newborn that question a million times. They won't answer, because... well they're babies, but you will constantly check to see if your newborn is still breathing. I was so exhausted in the first few weeks of Marcus's life, I honestly thought I wasn't going to be a mom who worried about this because I didn't find myself waking with a start every 2 minutes to check on him. That time came though and like every other mom I know, I had the hardest time falling asleep because I was so afraid he would stop breathing while I was sleeping. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is flat out terrifying. The good news is that with modern technology and better guidelines from the American Pediatrics Association, SIDS rates are low when the guidelines are followed. If you find yourself completely unable to sleep, or just need the peace of mind, consider getting the Owlet Baby Vitals Monitor. It stays up all night, so you don't have to! The Owlet also has an app that connects to your phone so that you can always keep an eye on your babe!
2. Why Won't You Eat?Each experience feeding a newborn is different since each baby is different. Moms also make the personal choice that's best for them on how best to feed their new child, and either way, whether you're choosing to formula feed, or breastfeed.... feeding a child comes with a lot of worry. I don't have personal experience breastfeeding, but I can only imagine the worry that comes along with trying to get a newborn to latch through the tears and pain. With the formula, I could see how little Marcus was eating, but with breastfeeding you don't know how much milk they're getting. When Marcus was in the hospital I was so worried he wasn't eating enough. I couldn't believe how little the amount of formula he took was! The amount the nurse was telling us just seemed too small. I begged a nurse to tell me what was wrong with his latch as well, and she told me as long as I saw bubbles through the baby bottle, he was eating and it was fine. Jump to his doctors visit after we got to the hotel from the hospital, and the doctor scolded me for not feeding him enough. You better believe I felt the worst mom guilt, I'd been starving my baby and I didn't even know it. Take confidence in what your doctor tells you, and remember that their stomachs are very small in the beginning. You'll want to set alarms for every 2 hours in the beginning and try with all your might to get the milk down. The most important thing is that your little one is gaining weight!
3. When Do We Take Them Out?Marcus was born right before Thanksgiving, so we had a long talk with our doctor about whether we should take Marcus out for Thanksgiving dinner with some extended family. Ultimately, the doctor told us it would be a bad idea. We waited until Marcus was 1 month old to allow him to be passed around anywhere. Ideally, we would have boarded up all the windows and hibernated with him for the first month, but we had to get home from Virginia with him. So, for all the moms out there that are worried about exposing your child to germs, it can be terrifying, but listen to your doctors advice and find a good balance between keeping baby safe, and needing to live your life. We had no choice but to take a one week old on a packed airplane. We wiped every surface, kept Marcus in the baby carrier, kept him hydrated, and thankfully the only thing Marcus caught was a lot of really nasty looks from people wondering why we would take such a small infant on a plane.
4. Stuffy Noses
This doesn't seem like it should have its own bullet point, but for me and other moms I've spoken to, your newborn being stuffed up was really scary. So scary that we actually took Marcus to the hospital because we were so scared he couldn't breath from all the congestion. The nurses laughed at us a little, but they did end up needing to suction out his congestion with a special hospital tool once they realized how bad it was. Marcus really struggled with congestion for the first few months. He was always fussy because his nose was stuffed up. I would not have survived without the NoseFrida. The NoseFrida from FridaBaby, combined with saline drops, and the humidifier kept baby happy and snot free!
5. To Swaddle or Not to SwaddleMarcus LOVED being swaddled when he was first born. As tight as you could get the blanket, he loved it! He slept wonderfully as a newborn when he was swaddled, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. Then Marcus really started to fight the swaddle around a week or two. I had mom friends who had mentioned that their babies hated to be swaddled, so I thought we were just going to have to give up on it. After a few miserable nights, I put baby into a Miracle Swaddle, and a miracle it was! I am SO glad I didn't give up on swaddling, because baby got used to being swaddled and then loved being swaddled before he became a roly-poly. If you have a newborn that's fighting the swaddle, try a few different swaddle blankets before you give up on it!
6. BondingI don't have a clever title for this point. Every single mom worries about whether their baby will bond to them, or worry that they won't bond to their baby. You might not think of the second one before the baby is born, but as many moms can speak on, sometimes the bond between mom and baby isn't instant. Bonding takes time. There is no reason to worry about that bond in the first few weeks. If it's not instant, it will come. Your baby is bonding to you more and more each day. I often think about how terrified I was that Marcus wouldn't bond to me because I wasn't his biological mother. I never even had the chance to do skin to skin. Now I look at him as he laughs for me, or watch him light up when I get home, and I realize that baby has definitely bonded to me. I spent a lot of time worrying about a bond that came so naturally as time went on.
7. Baby's First CoughThis is my life right now. Baby just got his first cough. We survived the first cold, and then the second, third, and fourth... but then came the cough. I was NOT prepared for how worried I would be when he first started coughing. At first, I thought, "no biggie, kids get sick"... and then my mind started racing on all the things it could be. I called the doctor after only 24 hours of coughing. I'm sure when they pull up his file there's got to be a stamp on it that says "First Time Mom". Your doctors office should always just be a phone call away. Never hesitate to call and let them put you at ease and give you a few things to look out for!
8. Are They Stimulated Enough?As if you don't have a ton of other things on your mind as a new mom, you will sit down one day and start to worry if baby is getting enough stimulation. It wasn't anything I had thought of before baby was born, but then I started reading all the books and blogs and I found myself wondering if I was stimulating him enough throughout the day to aid in his development. Then, I came across a hilarious blog and the woman reminded all new moms that their newborns were fascinated by the ceilings. This made me feel SO much better. Baby didn't start getting into toys for quite some time and he's just now starting to play with them. When they're newborns, they're perfectly fine staring at your face, or the ceiling, or random spots on the wall that really hold their attention and you still have yet to figure out why.
9. Skin IssuesAlmost every mom I've talked to has had at least one child with eczema. It's awful, and in the beginning I was so worried about our baby's skin issues. The baby acne was horrible when he turned about a month. I was so panicked and just didn't know what to do about the dry skin and the acne and the patches of red all over him. I will never forget taking Marcus into the doctors office, and when we took off his clothes, I realized just how bad his skin was. Under the harsh fluorescent lights, he almost glowed red. The doctor told us he definitely had eczema and we needed to get it under control. I knew hydrocortisone was common in treating eczema, but I also was worried about it being a steroid. My biggest regret was not starting it sooner. If you're worried about your little one's dry skin or red patches, consult with your doctor, and find a skin care product that works best for your baby's skin, and a routine that can help them overcome their issues (like the Tubby Todd Skin Line below!!!)
10. Finding that Mom Instinct
If you haven't given birth yet, or haven't welcomed your first child, this is probably the biggest concern every mom feels in the beginning. It's the age old questions of, "will I be a good mom", "how will I know what to do". I honestly can't answer that, you just figure it out as you go along. Your motherly instincts are incredibly strong. I am constantly impressed with my instincts, and my ability to observe Marcus and figure out what he wants or needs based on very little information from him. It's important to of course do your research before baby comes along, and even after. Having a good parenting book handy, and consulting with your doctor..... (or google.....) regularly is important to help guide you along, but you really will figure out what you're doing pretty quickly. As baby grows, so do you, and it's a beautiful transformation of both child and mother.