Mums worry. I know that. My mum used to worry about me pulling out of the junction by our family home in my car, at age 25! I get it now though… Nothing can prepare you for that feeling of worry when YOU are the mum. I’ve been thinking about these little wobbles I have, daily, I may add. Most of the time I can laugh at myself and I know I’m being silly, I look back at how I used to react when my own mum had similar wobbles. I had perfected the full body eye roll by age 4.
So, I decided to make a list of things that mums are bound to worry about, and because lists are productive, I’ve tried to show how these worries do seem like a big deal. Because at one point, they were a big deal to you.
Am I feeding my baby enough/is he sleeping enough/ is he getting enough interaction?
The main newborn worries, all rolled in to one. This is relative to me right now; when the only food my baby had access to was coming from my boob, I had no idea how much he was getting from me. All I knew was that he was growing. What I didn’t know though – if he’s putting on weight, he’s getting enough milk. If I would have known this, my first few weeks of breastfeeding would have been easier and I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself to feed constantly. It wasn’t until I started combination feeding after 12 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding that I really started to relax. Milo was napping better in the day and would sleep for longer than an hour and a half at a time during the nighttime. 12 weeks of worrying about feeding your perfectly happy and healthy baby is so unnecessary, but I’m glad I did worry and eventually see sense because everything is a learning curve!
As for sleeping… Milo didn’t do this much. I spent weeks and weeks searching for baby sleep routines and recommended daily sleep for newborns. The more I found, the more I worried. Take the expected hours of sleep in a 24 hour period for a newborn – 16 to 20 hours a day, I believe – now halve it and that is vaguely what Milo was getting. One day, I had calculated his sleep at 12 hours in a 24 hour period and 10 of those hours were throughout the night. I had it all written down and I thought there was something wrong with our son. What you don’t get from a piece of paper or a baby routine app, is how your baby is actually coping with such little sleep. Milo liked to cat nap and was perfectly happy to have 15 minute naps all through the day. As soon as I dismissed the routine app from my phone, I relaxed. Milo also started sleeping longer and I guess it’s because I spared him of my negative energy and he was able to relax more!
And now, interaction. As long as we see eye contact, cooing, copying facial expressions and shifting attention, there tends to be nothing to worry about. So carry on giving a running commentary on getting yourself dressed in the morning and singing to your number one fan about how annoyed you are that the house doesn’t tidy itself, because you are doing enough. You are doing a great job!
What if I have nobody to talk to at the baby and toddler group?
Ahh, it’s like high school again. You’ve thrown yourself into the deep end and booked a space at the new parent and toddler group. On your own! Why?!? Why did you do it? No baby buddies, no supportive husband and no ballsy 6 year old to ambush all of the other parents, making them feel obliged to compliment you on raising such a confident little thing! Never mind, you’ve done it now. Time to take action. You get to the group super early and pick a spot that isn’t completely on the outside so you get cut out by the uncomfortable looking regulars but also isn’t directly in the middle where you tend to get the ‘toppers’, those parents that claim their child has had/done everything your child has, and more! No, you want a neutral spot. Near the door, so you can assess the groups coming in. Slightly off centre so you can engage in conversation with a select few friendly faces. And finally, fairly close to the hot drinks table. Close enough to suss out the teabag/stirring spoon/sugar scooping etiquette but far away enough to not panic yourself over hot drink spillages near the baby – that is if your local group still allows hot drinks around the little ones.
Why are we worrying about this? We should bite the bullet and turn up when we are ready, sit where we want – let’s face it, we don’t want to sit by a breezy door in winter – and who cares if no parent talks to us on our first trip to the group? We’ve got our little dude to talk to (not the conversation we were hoping for, but he never lets you down).
I’ve booked and paid for these swimming lessons. What will I do if he doesn’t like water?
Again, minor worry here! Babies might cry when they first enter a swimming pool because it’s cooler than what they are used to; and that loud echo of others talking, shouting and laughing is pretty daunting too. However, like most humans, babies quickly get used to this environment and they might not be keen on staying at first but you need to remember that yes, you did book your space and pay for those baby swimming lessons so you can get as much attention and support from your instructor as possible, that is why they are there. They want to support you so you feel the session is successful, and then comes positive feedback and word of mouth recommendations which are golden for small business owners. So, we are winning all round!
What if I don’t hear my baby wake in the night?
Well, this worry came from pregnant me. Life before Milo. I soon realised that it was going to be impossible to miss those noises through the night and I was relieved. Although, I didn’t realise that I’d get so confused during those early morning wake up calls. It’s not just me though, luckily this confusion is common and I’ve loved laughing at stories from friends about their confused episodes. Putting things away in strange places, thinking the baby is still in the bed with you but has somehow got lost in the covers (when really he’s sound asleep in his cot) and thinking somebody is ringing the doorbell at 4am. These are a few of my favourite stories to giggle about!
I suppose the real worry for me now though, what if I don’t hear my baby waking when he’s in his own bedroom?! I’m sure I will hear him, just the same as I do now, but we just need to wait until we cross that hurdle!
What is this rash?!
For the first few weeks of life, babies skin is always changing. Dry skin is common, as are blemishes here and there. You still don’t believe that though. Milo was admitted to hospital at 6 days old because his skin looked as though it had a slightly blue tinge to it, combined with a struggle latching on to my boob and very irregular feeding times – not wanting to feed for 7 hours through the night and then feeding every half an hour the next night – we were glad he was being monitored and I got that extra feeding support. Nothing was wrong with him of course. It was just changeable newborn skin. Another thing that nobody tells you about.
Little ones are forever going to the doctors surgery with rashes too. Viral rashes. It seems as though it’s the go to answer but just be relieved when you are told that is all it is. And never feel silly for taking your child to the doctor. They are always happy to check over your little ones and catching early symptoms leads to better treatment and recovery if ever there was something abnormal.
I suppose my biggest worry recently was going through milo’s operation and mostly going under anaesthetic. Looking at what we worry about as mothers definitely helped me through the situation. It’s normal to express concern when it comes to your child, no matter how big or small it may be. If anyone can help you overcome your fears and worries by talking about their own experiences or stating facts. We should really be listening, and taking deep breaths whilst telling yourself that everything will be okay!
Please remember to talk to someone regarding any concerns you have that may be niggling away at your thoughts, our babies need us to be positive and full of confidence. You’re stronger than you will ever know!