Are You Scared of Your Baby?
Baby has beed fed, bathed and tucked in for bed, and just when you think it's safe to relax and stream your favorite TV show, you hear them crying or fussing. As a new mom, I spent a lot of time comforting, cajoling and rocking my babies hoping to nurture and comfort them. Most of the time, as soon as they seemed to calm down, I would lay them in their crib only to discover that they were upset about something new.
As parents, you can imagine what this does to our nervous system. I became so hyper anxious that every single cry or whimper would send my stress levels through the roof. I tried to learn everything and anything about helping my babies, and would log hours online just searching for an alternative way to comfort them. But invariably, I would always feel nervous, feeling like I didn't know the best way to comfort them.
Of course, babies will cry. It's how they communicate with us. So if you haven't read the article Decoding Baby's Secret Language you might want to start there to learn about the 5 baby cries and how to tell what each cry means. That said, if you're a new parent, it's hard not to feel like a failure each time you can't settle your baby leading you to actually sometimes even fear your baby in the process.
Many new parents feel confused and anxious at first. But remember, you will learn about your baby and your confidence will grow over time. That's why I wished I had learned about baby massage earlier since studies have shown that it helps decrease post partum anxiety and depression among new parents.
Whether it's baby colic, teething, colds or just general fussiness, there are many reasons why our anxiety levels can increase as new parents. Here are the most common worries many new Moms and Dads face and how you can cope with each.
3 Most Common New Parent Worries
It is normal to feel worried or anxious when you are caring for a new baby. Here are some common worries with tips on how to manage each.
Worrying You Are Not Bonding with Baby: Many parents worry that they are not bonding with baby. Over 30% of new parents don't feel an immediate bond and this connection takes time to develop. One way to combat this is to do baby massage every day. Studies have shown that parents who massage their babies daily experience stronger, quicker bonding due to uninterrupted time learning about what their baby needs and better baby handling skills.
Worrying About Baby's Safety: Many new parents, especially Moms, worry about their baby's safety in the crib. The fear of SIDS is a real one and there have been many nights when I spent checking and re-checking their position and breathing. To minimize the risk of SIDS and your anxiety, always place baby on their back to sleep, swaddle only until they can roll over and use a sleeping bag as they get older. Make sure the crib is bare and the temperature is not too hot.
Worrying About Baby's Development: It's not uncommon to want to compare your baby's development (crawling, eye contact, sitting up) to baby milestones of other parents. Remember, children develop at their own pace and they reach different baby milestones at different times. Many kids experience a developmental delay of some sort before age 3. Baby massage, tummy time, and light baby yoga & stretching is a wonderful way to help baby boost your baby's cognitive, neural and emotional development. And consistency is key which means doing daily even a few minutes each day. In the end, trust your instincts and talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
As you can see anxiety is real and all too common among new parents. The best way to counter this is to remember that there are no perfect babies or parents. You are doing your best and your baby is not going to develop according to a perfectly timed weekly schedule. Every parenting experience is unique and the more you learn about your own baby and trust in your maternal instincts, the greater your confidence will grow over time.