It’s probably safe to say that most parents experience fears regarding their child’s well-being from time to time. But if you are a new parent with a baby these fears can be exacerbated by a surge of hormones, a lack of sleep, and the ability to Google any symptom that arises leading to a whole host of worrying possibilities (spoiler alert – your baby doesn’t have some sort of toxic parasite, they’re probably just teething). In addition, we’re bombarded by headlines that scream at us about how the lifestyle we lead could have a huge impact on our child’s health and well-meaning relatives who question our every move. It’s a wonder that any of us make it through parenthood without having a nervous breakdown.
Thankfully, however, most of our fears remained unfounded, and as our children age and present us with ever more complex problems, we find ourselves wondering why we spent so much time worrying about something so simple or unlikely. Here are some of the common fears that new parents have, rational and irrational alike, and why we shouldn’t be so worried.
1) I’m Scared That My Baby’s Illness Is Very Serious
Firstly, stop researching symptoms on Google. You will always come up with the worst-case scenario that way. Secondly, as with anything medical, if you are worried about your baby’s health then it’s always best to speak to a health professional. With that said, no matter what steps you take to minimise infection, your baby will get ill. A lot. And even when she is not technically ill, she will still be full of snot and have diarrhoea and a temperature because teething is evolution’s way of testing our wits as parents. If your baby is alert, and still taking fluids, then the chances are that she is fine.
2) I’m Scared That I Will Drop My Baby
Well, you might. It is a possibility and it does happen. But they are not called bouncing babies for no reason (Well, actually, they are probably not called bouncing babies for that reason, but you get the gist). Obviously, if you do drop your baby then you have to get them checked over, but the chances are that they will be OK. As this writer’s midwife so beautifully put it: “Think about what he had to go through to get into this world. He’s more resilient than you think.”
3) I’m Scared That I Haven’t Bonded With My New-Born
Some women report that upon seeing their baby for the first time, their world immediately changed and they felt an overwhelming amount of love. For other women, however, it’s not all sparkles and magic and that bonding process can take a little while longer. Changes in hormones, possible health issues following labour, and the fact that for the first few weeks at least your baby does little more than eat, sleep, and cry, can all hamper the bonding process. It’s not unusual and not something you need to worry about unless it continues beyond the first few weeks. If it does continue, then speak to your health visitor, or GP, as you may be suffering from Post-Natal Depression, which is very common, very treatable, and nothing to be ashamed of.
4) I’m Scared Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
It’s a terrifying thought, the sudden, unexplained loss of a child, and if you are already prone to anxiety, then the fear that something terrible might happen whilst your baby is asleep can be a huge burden. However, you can rest assured that the risk of SIDS is minimal, affecting one in every 3,000 births in the UK. Not only that, but there is lots you can do to decrease the risk, such as putting your baby to sleep on their back in a crib or Moses basket free of cuddly toys, pillows, and duvets, not smoking, and not falling asleep with your baby on the sofa.
5) I’m Scared My Baby Isn’t Reaching His Milestones
Every parent has that one friend or fellow parenting group member who boasts of how their little darling reached every single milestone either early or on time. That’s wonderful for them, but for those of us with babies who refuse to roll over or crawl to schedule, comparisons are not helpful. Try not to worry if your child seems reluctant to take his first steps, or is not as vocal as his peers, the chances are he is just taking his sweet time. It’s also worth bearing in mind that milestone charts, whilst helpful, are only a guide, and that every child develops at his or her own pace. Your health visitor will be able to advise you if any investigations are needed.
6) I’m Scared I’m Doing It All Wrong
Co-sleeping or Crying It Out? Breast or Bottle? Purees or Baby Led Weaning? Disposable or Reusable Nappies? The myriad of parenting styles and their advocates trying to push us one way or another is enough to drive us head first into a large bottle of Pinot Grigio. Thankfully, despite what the experts claim, there is no right or wrong answer to many of the choices we make, and providing you and your family are happy, healthy, and safe, then you really don’t need to worry.
7) I’m Scared My Baby Doesn’t Like Me
Sometimes it might seem that way. Your baby may refuse to look at you, or only seem comforted or excited by the presence of your partner. Don’t take it personally. As your baby grows into a toddler and then a young child, you will find that their favourite parent will swap about on a sometimes-daily basis. And, when he or she is three-years old and has spent the last few weeks permanently attached to your knees, you will be surprisingly grateful for the day when they turn around and say, “No, I don’t want you to read stories. I want Daddy to do it!”