The 10 Top Worries of New Moms, Sleep, Poop, Eating and More….Are They Worth the Energy?
As a young Mom, I had worries too….but so many of our worries are not worth the energy it takes to think about them.
I visited with a new Mom this past week, she had a precious, beautiful little girl. How I loved that time in my life! I have such wonderful memories of those times, but let’s face it….new Moms have a lot on their plate. I remember those days of trying to get to know this precious bundle who I had prepared for, thought about, and anxiously awaited for 9 long months. Who was this little person? How would I handle this most important job of my life? What if I wasn’t very good at it? What does she need when she cries? Is she eating enough? Sleeping enough? Is she sick and I don’t know it?
After 4 children and watching countless other new Moms navigate through those first few months of motherhood, I realize that many of those doubts, concerns, and yes worries were such a waste of my energy. If I could, I would definitely worry less. There are about 10 concerns that I hear over and over from new Moms….and were definitely on my radar as a new Mom, but in actuality most of the time they are not worth the energy of worry….
Even if you have dreamed, planned, prepared, and anxiously awaited your baby for 9 months, hours after birth you might just look at your baby and feel more exhaustion and questions than love. That is normal! Some Moms feel immediate connection; some Moms need a few days of feedings, cuddling, and interaction to feel the bonding process. Your baby will respond to you feeding, holding, and cuddling. Even if you are still struggling to feel connected with this new little being…fake it until you feel it…Bonding deepens over time and you will fall in love with your baby, trust me.
Babies cry…..it is a fact. Some babies cry more than others….that is a fact too. Newborns will cry when they are hungry, tired, wet, bored, over stimulated, under stimulated, or maybe for no reason at all. Crying in itself will not hurt a baby, although it can be alarming to you. Rather than worry about why your baby is crying, it might be better to learn how to comfort your baby. Many times you may never know why your baby is crying….but you may learn what comforts. The first 12 weeks is a learning curve for you and your baby, and crying usually will decrease between 12 and 16 weeks. Of course, if your baby is inconsolable, a talk with your pediatrician is a wise option, but most of the time your baby’s crying is simply part of mothering a newborn.
So many Moms worry if their baby is eating enough….or eating too much. New Moms need to learn feeding cues and adjust to breast-feeding or bottle feeding and this takes a little time. If your baby is having 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period, seems content after eating, and has gained weight ….relax. Unless your pediatrician is concerned about weight gain, don’t become obsessed with a baby scale. Trust your baby’s cues and your instincts.
Babies strain, get red faced, make noise, and pull their knees up when pooping. Babies usually poop a lot in the beginning. Breast fed babies will often poop with every feeding in the beginning and then will slow down later and may even skip a few days without pooping. Babies are not constipated unless the poop is hard and “marble like”. Call if your baby’s poop has any blood or is mucousy…but don’t be poop obsessed!
5. Spit up
Most babies will spit up. Some babies spit up a lot! If your baby is gaining weight well, most of the time spitting up is nothing to worry about. Be sure that you are feeding your baby slowly, burping frequently, and keeping your baby upright for a bit after feedings…but most spitting up will stop with time. Happy spitters, babies who don’t cry after eating and spitting up, are just fine. Once your baby is sitting up well the spitting up will diminish.
Newborns sneeze…sometimes a lot! Sneezing helps them clear their nasal passages from fuzz (from all their new blankets and clothing) congestion (remember their little nasal passages are very small) and open up a nostril when it is pushed shut from being pushed up against you when nursing. No worries unless your baby is running a fever, seems ill, or has difficulty breathing. Most sneezing is simply normal!
New Moms can’t wait to get a stretch of sleep, and many worry that they will never sleep again! Time and patience those first few weeks are the key to success. Your baby simply will not sleep through the night right away….that is normal. Knowledge is power, but reading sleep books, putting pressure on yourself to establish sleep routines and worry about if you are doing it right is a waste of precious moments. Follow your instincts and all babies will eventually sleep through the night. Be proactive in establishing good sleep routines, but lose the obsession. With healthy routines, and trusting your instincts most babies will start to become more predictable and begin to self soothe and sleep longer stretches by 16 weeks. Time is usually the key. Trust me, you won’t remember if your baby slept 6 hours at 12 weeks or 12 hours at 6 months when you watch them head off to their first day of school.
Call it competition, comparison, whatever; it is normal for Moms to compare babies and read books to see if their baby is progressing on time. Babies often develop at different rates. There is a sequence of milestones and a general age at which babies should reach them but there is a wide range of normal. Ask your pediatrician to give you a heads up on what is expected at each age, but don’t become competitive with other babies in your play group! Let your baby learn and develop on his time frame, and guess what, a baby who walks at 9 months and a baby who walks at 14 months look the same at 5!
9. Losing baby weight
Wow is there pressure to lose the baby weight.! Pick up any magazine and there
will be a celebrity looking svelte just weeks after having a baby (Can you say photo shop?) New Moms need to lose this worry and embrace reality. It is unhealthy to try to get back to pre-pregnancy shape in just a few weeks. Focus on your baby not your weight. Eat healthy, sleep when you can, get outside and walk and you will feel more like yourself. Be patient, give yourself time and grace….learn to be a Mom and embrace your new role, the weight will come off in due time.
10. Wanting to read it all
Sometimes new Moms spend a huge amount of time reading books, articles, and surfing the internet in order to gain the knowledge needed to be a Mom. Knowledge is power, but there are times when a book is not the best choice over your own Mom’s intuition. Parent by trusting your “gut”. If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t most of the time. Don’t waste too much precious time reading about being the perfect Mom….just be who you are, the perfect Mom for your baby. Read less, enjoy more.
If I could talk to my younger self, I would give myself permission to be an imperfect Mom with a house that wasn’t clean and a child who had spit up on his shirt. I would tell myself to savor each moment and to stop worrying and just live life. I would give myself more permission to eat ice cream and chocolate after a hard day, and to know that some days are successful if the only thing I could say I did was that I fed, loved and kept my kids safe. I would tell myself to ask for help, and that it is fine not to have it all together, and that it is fine for people to see that I didn’t have it all together. If I could sit down with myself 20 years ago, I would say to myself to simply love your kids, breathe deeply, give yourself a break, don’t sweat the small things in life….and don’t worry…..your kids will turn out great in spite of you! 🙂
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
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