Practical Ways To Ease Those New-Mum Worries (Part 1)
Becoming a new parent is a turbulent, amazing, exhausting, emotional time of huge adjustment. There’s not one parent walking this earth who hasn’t worried, at one time or another, that they’re doing a good job, or whether they’re holding the baby right, or how much longer they’ll feel like ships in the night with their partner. And yes, sometimes considering, for fleeting moments, briefly chucking the whole thing in and running like the wind… just me?
Here are a few common worries for new mums – and some ways they can be eased.
1. Whether You’re Doing A Good Job
There’s so much to learn with a baby, especially when it’s your first time around the ol’ parenting block. So many parenting ‘skills’ need to be picked up and perfected on the job, with little chance to prepare for them, and plenty of time spent mastering them while sleep-deprived. Oof.
As with other major tasks, projects and life’s turning points, try and focus on the here and now rather than the bigger picture all at once. If you’re swaddling the baby, focus solely on swaddling the baby.
Remind yourself often that others just like you are in the same boat. Every new parent is totally winging it. There will always be good days and bad days, and things will become easier with practice and time.
Read our article on ‘The Most Googled Parenting Questions’ for some ace tips on swaddling, bathing, winding, sleep and more.
2. Worrying About Safety While Baby Sleeps
I think the main reason I lost out on precious sleep during the first two weeks of my sons’ lives wasn’t because they kept waking up for feeds – which they did, of course – but because I was worrying so much about their safety and whether or not they were breathing, too hot, too cold, wrapped too tightly, wrapped too loosely… the list of worries goes on.
Safety during sleep is a legitimate concern, and the best thing any of us can do is look for information from the right sources about how best to put a baby to bed.
In the UK, The Lullaby Trust and the NHS both have great up-to-date advice on all kinds of sleep-related topics, including how to reduce the risk of SIDS, the best sleeping positions for babies, the safest room temperatures, the best bedding, and much more.
3. Wondering If You’ll Annoy Your GP By Asking Too Many Questions
A good GP should be only too happy to answer as many questions as you’d like to ask them about your newborn, your own health and the kind of concerns that might be raised when you’re taking care of a baby, so don’t be afraid to contact your local doctor or book an appointment if you ever feel in doubt or worried about the health and wellness of yourself or your little one.
From rashes, to fevers, to a lack of dirty nappies (or too many), coughing, sneezing, constant crying… there are no ‘silly’ questions. Save your GP’s number in your phone or stick it on the fridge so it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice.
If you’re travelling out of town or overseas, look up hospitals and medical centres nearby and make sure you know the number to call for Emergency in that country.
It’s also a good idea to sign up for a first aid course that has a particular focus on babies and children. They provide a fantastic opportunity for learning information and practical actions to take for situations including choking, cuts, burns, CPR and more.
Look up ‘first aid for babies’ to help you find a course convenient to you. Getting signed up for one is a great gift idea you can add to your wish list. The British Red Cross runs a range of fantastic first aid courses, and their Baby And Child First Aid app is another great resource to download and have at hand.
4. Asking Your Partner To Help Out A Bit More
Ohhh, how busy life becomes when a baby comes along. Even the closest of couples can suddenly find themselves getting to the end of the day without saying much more than a handful of sentences to their other half – and often that connection consists of something along the lines of: “Could you fetch me a nappy?”, “Has the baby napped today?”, or a quick, “We need toilet paper and bread” via text.
So what happens when one day you look up for a moment and wonder how you ended up quite this disconnected, and how you can better work together a bit more?
Remember that this time is one of huge adjustment for both of you, and that leaning on each other will have benefits for both of you – emotionally and practically. As best you can, get into a habit of checking in with one another regularly.
There may be no time for four-hour deep and meaningfuls these days but, for now, little high fives or hugs as you pass each other on the stairs, and a quick recount of the day’s highs and lows with each other before you turn the light out at night will help you stay connected and feel you’re being heard.
5. Shifting Weight Gained During Or After Pregnancy
One of the best pieces of advice I received after giving birth to my second son and having fleeting low thoughts about my weight and shape, came from my GP who gently told me to think of it like this: Whatever weight you gained over the nine months of pregnancy will take at least nine months to go again.
That small offering of support from a trusted professional helped me relax a bit and go back to enjoying more important things life with my newborn was bringing me.
Unless you enjoy focusing on getting back in shape immediately after having a baby (and your doc has given you the all-clear to do so), then you should absolutely give yourself all the time in the world to settle into life as a mum and all the highs and lows, bonding time and milestones that entails.
If unwanted weight is truly a concern, book an appointment with your GP or dietitian to chat about it so you can get some practical, realistic, professional advice about eating well and staying healthy as a new mum.
A bit about Moment Health…
Moment Health is a technology company that aims to prioritise Maternal Mental Health and provide new parents with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental wellbeing – from pregnancy through to parenthood.
The Moment Health app has been developed with clinicians and healthcare professionals. It will screen for perinatal, postnatal and associated anxieties, and include additional features such as a helpful guide to practical and accessible coping strategies.
At Moment Health, our mission is to make maternal mental health mainstream #MakeItMainstream.
Download our App today