When I first became a mother, I spent a lot of time just making sure my baby was okay. I was afraid something would go wrong. I didn’t know what to expect.
You can read books all you like. But that never really prepares you for the joys, and fears, of motherhood. Sometimes, the best tool you can bring to bear is the knowledge of someone who is more experienced in child-rearing. That’s where I come in.
Today, I will talk about some of the fears most new mothers face, as well as ways you can overcome them.
A Good Night’s Sleep
When my first child was born, I had a lot of fears concerning his sleep. I’d spend at least a half hour every night, wondering if he was breathing, if he was going to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). There are so many things that can go wrong with a child’s sleep including breathing issues, choking, and accidentally rolling over during the night.
Another sleep problem that can occur is difficulties with sleep training. Sometimes it may seem like the baby will never learn to sleep through the night.
The way to conquer this fear is to live in the moment. If you can remind yourself to take things one step at a time, one moment at a time, you will find that you don’t have as much anxiety about what could be. You will find that your focus is on what is happening now.
For those of you who are afraid of SIDS, remember that it is very rare, and there are things you can do to greatly lower the risk of your child dying. Firstly, make sure you put your baby to sleep on their backs.
I know it may seem cute to have pillows, blankets and stuffed animals in the crib. However, my research showed me this isn’t good for your child. Remove all pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and thick blankets from the crib. This ensures that nothing winds up covering the baby’s airway.
Another common fear of new moms, myself included, is that the nipples will break off of your baby’s pacifier. Pacifier packaging even warns about this.
Fixing the Problem
Fixing this problem is relatively easy. Firstly, make sure that you buy pacifiers from reputable brands. That way, you can ensure the quality of the product.
Secondly, when you buy a pacifier, make sure to buy one that is made from one piece of plastic. That way, there’s not any way it can break apart.
Even with these precautions, pacifiers do break. It’s important to check your child’s pacifier often, as I discovered. If the pacifier is discolored, or has holes or tears, it’s time to toss it and buy a new one.
When I started leaving my son in daycare, I found myself becoming fearful that some small child would poke him in the eye or bite him or even hit him.
The first step in feeling less afraid is to make sure you get a reputable daycare. You should ask the staff there if they are licensed to handle medical emergencies. If they aren’t, it’s time to choose a new daycare.
Keep contact with the staff at your daycare during the day. That way, if you need to come home to get your child, you can. If the daycare refuses to tell you how your child’s day is going, then it’s time for a new daycare.
Finally, you need to realize that all children will experience a few bumps and bruises while in daycare. The staff should be able to handle it in a competent manner.
I often worried that I would never bond with my baby. I didn’t feel an instant connection to him when he was born and that scared me. I was afraid, though being a mom is a beautiful thing, that I would never feel that strong, deep connection to the little guy I was raising.
Fixing Bonding Issues
So, as I do whenever I have a problem, I hopped on the Internet. There I learned that your hormones, so much in upheaval after the birth of your baby, sometimes can make it hard to feel the warm, fuzzy feelings that you see mothers displaying on TV. I learned that this usually resolves itself after a couple of weeks, and that there were things I could do to help the process along.
I also discovered that even though I had not bonded to my son just yet, he had bonded to me. He’d had nine months in my uterus. He’d grown to recognize the sound of my voice and the beat of my heart. Furthermore, by the end of the first week, my baby had learned to recognize my unique smell from all other people. And that, honestly, helped me a lot to hear because it meant that I could bond with him.
I planned on breast-feeding my son. However, I heard a lot of horror stories from mothers who had extreme difficulties with it, either with getting their children to latch on, or other problems that made it difficult or painful. I started to become scared that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed.
Easing The Fear
It turns out that my son and I, through experimentation, got it right. However, you can contact a lactation counselor if you’re having problems. It’s very rare for a woman to physically be unable to breastfeed.
Another option is to contact La Leche League. This organization is made up of breastfeeding mothers who want to help you learn to breastfeed as well.
Also, you can take breastfeeding classes before the baby is born. That will give you some ideas as to what you can expect.
A lot of new mothers worry about their baby’s soft spots. I know I did. I worried that I would somehow hurt the baby by touching that spot, or that he’d injure it in a fall or bump.
Take a Deep Breath
The soft spot on your baby’s head is not as fragile as it seems. In fact, it’s actually pretty sturdy. You’re not going to hurt them by touching that spot.
Sure, you still need to be careful about bumps and falls. However, it won’t be long before that spot closes on its own.
Being a new mother for the first time is really stressful. Sleep deprivation, exhaustion, hormones and the need to adjust can lead to anxiety like nothing else.
However, it’s important to remember that all these fears are normal, and are ones that most mothers have spent nights tossing and turning over and you’re not alone.
If you do your research and the fear is still just as strong as ever, there are support classes for new mothers. It’s a good way to not only discuss what is bothering you but also make some friends along the way. Before you know it, you will have gotten the hang of being a mother, and the fear will stop. Just keep breathing and remember it will all be okay.
Guest post submitted by Serena Morris