Am I doing this right? It’s a question that runs through the minds of parents all over the world, none more so than first-time parents. When you have a new baby, the amount of things you need to learn and do can be overwhelming - not to mention all those fears that come creeping in. In this post, we’ve collated a number of first-time parent fears with some handy tips to help you through them.
No matter how old your child is, this question runs through your mind at least once (or a million times!). When you have a new baby, you want to do everything perfectly. They deserve the very best of you and it’s natural to feel this way. But you can drive yourself crazy in the attempt. Just relax. Some days you’ll get most of it right, others most of it wrong. But as long as you are responding to your new baby’s needs, you are good – if not great – enough. Remember too: babies are very forgiving creatures. In fact, they have no clue that you’re new to the game too! Most mistakes you make can be rectified quickly with no long term damage. Your sixteen year old won’t remember you forgot to change her nappy so she ended up with a nasty case of nappy rash. She’ll be too busy blaming you for ruining her life as you said no to that alcohol-fuelled-no-parents-present party on the weekend!
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) occurs when a baby dies in their sleep of unexplained causes. It’s a fear felt by many new parents. But research into the syndrome has made astounding gains over the years. The SIDS mortality rate has decreased dramatically since the late 80’s. In fact, only 0.4 babies out of every 1000 fall victim to the syndrome each year. While these statistics are very reassuring there has been some controversy in the media lately about parents ignoring the recommended safe sleeping guidelines. As we now know so much more, it’s really important you adhere to the guidelines to reduce the risk - things like always putting your newborn baby to sleep on their back and keeping their head uncovered when sleeping. This handy factsheet from the SIDS and Kids foundation has some great information to further allay these fears.
While a natural part of life, breastfeeding can be hard. It is a learned skill. It takes time to get it right and can be painful at the start. Getting support both at home and professionally is very important if you’re having troubles. Our Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Breastfeeding and Painful Breastfeeding posts both have a wealth of information on this topic. They might help alleviate some of your breastfeeding fears.
Responding to your newborn baby when she cries is the right thing to do. Crying is the only language she has at this tender age and much of the time, she’s just trying to tell you something. Figuring out what that is is often the hardest part! If she’s been fed, changed and isn’t tired, perhaps she just needs to be held. There is plenty of time for her to learn how to self-sooth when she’s six months or older. But right now, cuddle away as much as you feel comfortable. It will do wonders to strength that beautiful bond between the two of you as well. If your concerns about her crying persist, you can always raise them at your next health visit.
This one is all too common for new parents. That dreaded maternal health check when you gently lay your newborn baby down on the scales, crossing all you have he’s gained the weight he should. That sinking feeling in your stomach when the scales don’t show what you think they should. Our best bit of advice here is to take the milestone charts with a grain of salt. If your baby is gaining weight - even if they drop off a little now and again - and is alert with a good amount of wet nappies, chances are they are fine. Don’t get yourself hooked up on those charts. Every child, just like every adult, is unique and will develop at a slightly different rate. If you’re still really worried, your local GP can do a lot to dispel your fears. A good one will listen to your first-time parent concerns and reassure you without making you feel silly.
We hope you find our articles helpful. As always, we provide this information for your reference but keep in mind it is not professional medical advice. We encourage you to speak to your GP or specialist if you have concerns about your baby’s health.