What New Moms Need to Know
Congratulations! You’re expecting your first baby! After the excitement of this discovery and sharing the good news subsides, you might experience a sense of panic as you realize your whole life is in for some big changes.
Becoming a mother is synonymous to becoming a worrier. You are now responsible for a whole other person. This precious baby is completely dependent on you. Worrying about a few things along the way is completely normal. We’ll take a look at some common concerns many moms face in the first few weeks after bringing their baby home and reassure you that it will be okay. We promise.
One of the first thoughts many new parents have after welcoming a new baby to this world is the amazement that the hospital lets you just go home with a new baby when you’ve never done it before! Don’t fret. People have been becoming brand new parents for quite some time, and you are equipped to do so too—whether you have taken all the baby classes or not. Reminding myself of this fact was helpful many times.
My first baby threw me for a loop with an early induction, emergency c-section and then refusing to nurse. Luckily, I had amazing support at the hospital. But once we went home, I worried about the process of feeding her because she wouldn’t nurse (which was my goal). I attempted to nurse, pump and syringe feed her until she would take a bottle and then ended up successfully nursing after one month of that craziness. With nursing, it’s hard to know when Baby has eaten enough because there’s no way to measure that other than weighing the baby before and after a feeding. And so many opinions about what is best are out there. My babies only fed from one side for each feeding, whereas other moms feed their babies from both sides each time. Learning to trust your own mothering instincts early on is invaluable. By my third baby, I was experienced at this newborn gig but was surprised again by his not nursing easily. This time I was advised to take him in for weight checks at the pediatrician’s office for the first couple of weeks. Babies can be challenging!
Another worry for a lot of new parents is the care of the umbilical cord/belly button area. Just remember to keep it clean and dry; it will take time for it to fall off. I accidentally snagged one of my son’s dried umbilical cords with my sleeve and it came off. I was alarmed, but he was fine!
Speaking of sons, the circumcision decision is a big one, and then you have to learn proper care of the area afterward if you decide to have him circumcised. Making this decision can be challenging, as can caring for the area at each diaper change while trying to avoid a sudden spray. I can say, based on an unfortunate experience, that doing everything the pediatrician tells you is crucial, otherwise your son’s well-visits may be a bit more painful. Like the umbilical cord, this incision does heal quickly in the grand scheme of things and, again, babies and parents have been going through this for ages.
If you have any friends who are already mothers, you probably have heard of acid reflux. Reflux is not a fun experience, but some babies are just spitters. I remember my second’s spitting up through his nose one night and sending me into a panic because I had never seen or heard of that before. I was afraid he would choke or wouldn’t be able to breathe if he were spitting up from his nose. He was fine—it was just a strange baby moment. You’ll encounter a wide range of symptoms, and all babies are different, as well as all moms. Moms produce different types of milk, there are a variety of formulas to choose from and babies handle different milks differently. Knowing plenty of options can be reassuring (even medication or varying sleeping positions), but deciphering the solution may be frustrating and take some time.
Once home for the first time with your first baby, the idea of ever leaving again can seem daunting. You will worry about whether you have everything you need, whether the baby is warm enough, will travel well and will stay on schedule—and what if other people touch your baby?! I had mostly spring/summer babies and enjoyed going for walks to get some exercise and lift my spirits, but I worried about whether they were warm enough a lot. It’s hard to determine when you factor in the sun, the breeze and your own body temperature gauge when you’re the one exercising. Our doctor calmly assured me that babies should wear appropriate attire for the weather, just like adults would, plus an additional light blanket just in case.
Soon you’ll realize you won’t always have everything you need but will discover your Inspector Gadget-like reflexes along the way. Pack a diaper bag with any essentials you can think of and remember to restock every so often. Newborns blow through those diapers in a flash! I also recommend keeping a storage container in your car with extras to fill an empty diaper bag or for a blowout you can take care of in the car before entering a store. As you go out in public, be aware that babies are magnets, and strangers mean well but they can’t help touching those tiny baby feet. Keeping Baby safe is paramount, especially during cold and flu season, so offer hand sanitizer or politely say that you’d rather they not touch Baby right now. People may be offended, but you will learn that you are your child’s best advocate.
You’ll discover that you may relax when you get pregnant with the next baby, but then comes a whole new set of worries: Can I love another baby as much as I love my first? Will my older child love the new baby? If they are close in age, how will I handle two babies? And if there is an age gap, will I have forgotten everything and how will I do it again? I realized I had a pretty good radar on how my babies were doing and it was okay to breathe. Calling the pediatrician’s office to talk with a nurse is just fine too. I assure you nurses have heard it all and that is why they are there. Go ahead and call. Premier Pediatrics also has a comforting symptoms and diagnosis tool with a specific newborn appearance guide that gives information on many concerns regarding newborns. They also have a handy medicine and dosage tool, as dosages change as your baby grows.
Finding your tribe in a mom’s group can be a reassuring help throughout this parenting journey too. Missy Landis, Olathe mother of two, says, “I was a total worry wart with Christine as I really had very little exposure to infants before I had her. I totally relied on my pediatrician’s call nurse for things like nursing concerns, sleep patterns, colds, etc. I also heavily relied on my Olathe Bible Church evening MOPS group to reassure me and provide sanity checks that I wasn’t going to ruin my daughter. They are still some of my closest friends, so they made the difference.”
Stephanie Loux is the mother of Layla, 7, Mason, 5, and Slade, 2, and writes from her home. You can check out more of her writing at LettersFromTheLouxs.blogspot.com.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.
Choosing the best hospital for the arrival of your baby is an important decision. Use our Kansas City Labor & Delivery Hospital Guide to find the perfect location for you and your child.