We recently wrote about a few common worries new mums can have here. But they weren’t the only fears we’ve encountered as parents – and we reckon we might not be alone in our range of stresses and doubts.
Becoming a new parent is a huge time of change. There is so much to learn – things that you almost can’t prepare for until you’re right in the heart of baby land.
From worrying about how best to feed your baby, to how you’ll get everything on the to-do list done, to finding that you miss the ‘old you’ and wonder if she’ll ever come back – here are some more common worries we new mums have, and tips on how we can diminish them.
1. Wondering How To Best Feed A Baby
First things first: Babies need to be either breastfed or formula fed up until six months of age, according to current government guidelines (always check what the latest advice is).
While breast milk is specially designed to meet a baby’s nutrition needs, in many cases and for a wide range of reasons, breastfeeding just isn’t achievable. While breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for a baby, the best decision will always be to go with a safe feeding option that best meets you and your baby’s needs.
Every individual case is unique. Once you’ve decided how you’re going to feed your baby, look to credible sources of information for professional help and guidance on the technicalities of nursing or bottle-feeding, and advice on how to know a baby is feeding well and gaining the right amounts of weight.
If you’re in the early weeks of parenthood and finding yourself confused by lots of information coming at you from all kinds of sources – solicited and unsolicited; professional and purely opinion-based – then try this: Block out the noise by picking one or two trusted sources you want to learn from – who respect and understand your decisions and will help you persevere with it. Whether that’s your doctor, health visitor, or a credible health organisation, seek their advice and support, and politely tune out from the rest.
It takes time to get the hang of feeding, and there’s so much to learn, from attachment technique, equipment, hygiene, and more. It’s all new territory, so afford yourself patience while you get the hang of it. Armed with the right knowledge and support, you’ll get there.
For breastfeeding support, you can find great advice over at Start 4 Life, and keep the National Breastfeeding Helpline number, 0300 100 0212, at hand. If you are bottle- or formula-feeding, check out this guide on the Unicef website.
Feeling Stressed About Getting Everything Done
Nothing brings a feeling that everything’s been turned on its head quite like the arrival of a newborn.
When you’re someone who loves a list and adores even more when every item can be checked off, then adjusting to a life where tasks are done in a much less linear, much less straightforward fashion can take time.
A good thing to do in the early days at home is simply remind yourself that these first few weeks will fly by and eventually a new, more settled home life will establish.
Keep things as simple as possible, ask for help from friends, family and good neighbours, and make use of modern services – laundry, cleaning, food delivery – when you really need to.
Put you and your baby’s needs before everything else while you learn to establish a routine for yourselves and grow to know each other.
It’s more than okay to not be totally on top of other things – social media, remembering birthdays, spring-cleaning the kitchen – for now.
And if you can’t get those kinds of things out of your mind and feel increasingly uneasy or panicked about it, share how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
Getting The ‘Old You’ Back Again
Whether you’re more than ready to become a mum, or it came as more of a shock or surprise that you’re doing your best to come to terms with, at some point you might be surrounded by breast pumps and baby wipes and wonder how you got there and quite where the old you went.
When you become a new mum, you might one day begin to miss the ‘old you’ and everything that came with her. For me, I found years spent writing for a magazine were replaced with days spent entirely at home; lunch hours swapped for super-quick snacks in one hand with a baby slung over the opposite shoulder; and lazy Sunday breakfast-in-bed-and-papers morphed into hours spent rocking my son to sleep while sitting on a fitball (though spending the entire day in my pyjamas? Well, at least one thing stayed the same).
Though it can be difficult to imagine when your baby is tiny, at some point they will go from wanting to be held by you all day and night to spending a few minutes on the play mat, to learning to roll, and commando crawl, and stand up – little things that allow them to gain a bit more independence and afford you a bit more space.
In the meantime, while you’re in the thick of baby time, small acts might help you feel more you. I quickly learned that taking a shower and getting dressed before my husband left for work in the mornings was better for my mood than staying in pyjamas (don’t get me wrong – I still have plenty of pyjama days). And leaving my son in the capable hands of dad to go and get my hair done about six weeks postpartum was a glorious baby-free afternoon spent flicking through mags and feeling more like me.
What small things helped you feel more like you? Share your ideas over in the Moment Community.
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 screens for perinatal, postnatal and associated anxieties, and includes 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