Motherhood introduces a woman to a whole new world that she can't really understand until she’s in it. Many things will happen that one simply can’t anticipate. The baby will surprise mom for sure, but mom will also surprise herself.
Of course, there certainly is a plethora of information available to help prepare expectant moms to succeed, but one thing nobody warns them about is how much time there is to think when caring for a newborn.
Think. Think. Think. Wonder. Worry. Contemplate. Stew. Second-guess. Freak out.
There is time to think while breast or bottle feeding. There is time to think while lying in bed at night cursing the fact that sleep is evasive, and oodles of time to think while out walking baby in the stroller, while he's napping, and even during diaper changes.
Plus when baby is awake, he’s too young to do much so new moms just get to be inside their own heads, thinking. Of course the mind can wander to some interesting places, which often turns into worry.
So the combination of all of the surprises that come with motherhood PLUS all that darned time to think can lead to a whole lot of new experiences, new worries and new thoughts for mom. But we guarantee most of the things that freak new moms out or cause them to worry, are musings shared by most.
Here we go through 15 very typical and normal things that freak new moms out. We promise, most will pass.
15 Other Drivers
One of the most harrowing experiences post-birth is the drive home from the hospital or birthing center as a new mom. Nobody on the planet is more cognizant of the sheer number of terrible and dangerous drivers out there than a new mom. It’s like her senses are completely heightened to detect the smallest driving infraction.
For some, this is when the reality of protecting their young really begins to sink in.
As far as new parents are concerned, that baby in their backseat is the most precious, delicate, bundle of wonder that exists in the universe. Why can’t other drivers sense there is a baby in the car and drive with extreme caution?!! Ok – so that’s a little unrealistic, but it crosses the mind of many a new mom.
As a way to deal with this, many parents opt to get a ‘baby on board’ sign. Sigh. Yes those signs might actually serve a purpose. They are designed to let other drivers know that even if they aren’t going to drive with caution, the car bearing the sign is. It's not possible to control every other driver out there but it may help to deter tailgating, aggressive lane changes, etc. If nothing else, it may make parents feel better.
14 He Slept Through The Night. OMG Is He Alive?
In terms of sleeping through the night, we promise, that blessed occasion will come but of course, you’ll hardly believe it when it does. Most exhausted new moms sleep pretty deeply when they can and don’t wake until they hear their baby. Unfortunately, those wakings generally happen all too often and oftentimes it's really tough to settle junior down again.
But all new moms will have that moment when they wake up, look at the clock, and holy sh!# - it’s 7am. He slept through the night. Hallelujah!! But wait. This never happens. Is he alive? PANIC!!
The next course of action is to bolt up in bed, run from the bedroom, and swing open baby’s door to make sure he is breathing. Such a catch 22!
Relax. He is. If you check, you’ll just wake him up.
13 Am I Losing My Mind?
Every new mom worries she is losing her mind and the answer is sort of. Call it pregnancy brain, mommy brain, pregnesia, or momnesia. Whatever you fancy, each of these labels refers to more or less the same “condition”. And what is it?
Mommy brain refers to a somewhat intangible condition through the postpartum phase during which a new mom feels she exists in a bit of a brain fog. It’s like climbing to the top of the stairs only to forget what the purpose of going upstairs was, but having this happen on a regular basis.
The combination of mommy brain, extreme sleep deprivation, the feeling like a truck has just driven out of your body, and a tiny screaming human wholly dependent on you, and there you have it. Mind lost. New moms will feel better knowing that over time, the mind will recover. But it will take a little while.
12 Can You Die From Lack Of Sleep?
New moms exist in a pseudo zombie-land. So. Incredibly. Tired. We’ve already established that mommy brain is real and, on top of that, many new moms wonder if they can die from tiredness.
So what’s the answer? Can someone actually die from lack of sleep? The answer is “no” but that doesn’t stop new moms from feeling that way. They have a newborn preventing them from falling asleep pretty much around the clock. There is little time to shower, eat, do anything around the house, run errands, and all of this is so much harder thanks to exhaustion.
This is precisely why it is perfectly acceptable to tag your partner or your mom in and get some Zzzzzzs. They’ll definitely do it if it will save your life. Eventually that baby will start sleeping for longer stretches. We assure you, this phase won’t last forever.
11 SOS! Engorged Boobs, Sore Spots
For moms who are breastfeeding, it’s no easy task. Many of us have the idea that breastfeeding is going to be romantic and easy. And while it is likely to get there, it is rare for it to start out this way.
For starters, a baby might have latch issues. This can lead to poor feeding for baby but it can also lead to great discomfort for mom. If baby is ill-positioned on the nipple, it can result in sore, cracked, and even bleeding nipples. Further, as mom’s milk comes in and her body is trying to regulate supply, her breasts may become painfully engorged.
Luckily, these issues should pass as both of you get used to breastfeeding. That said, the best piece of advice we can provide is to ask for help. Every community has lactation consultants and other experts who can help with latch and provide ways to deal with engorgement, and any other breastfeeding issues that might surface.
So for new moms freaking out about their boobs, help is out there – AND you are definitely not alone.
10 All The Crying
Babies cry a lot, some more than others. It's enough to rattle the brain but it’s also the only way they can tell us they need something before they learn to gesture and talk. Sometimes we try to sort out what that is by trial and error. Hungry? Nope. Tired? Nope. Wet diaper? Ahhh, yes that’s it. The good news is that babies’ cries actually sound different based on what they need.
Many folks think all cries are the same, but when they really listen, they can hear the difference. One must tune into that underlying sound. For example, "neh, neh" means baby is hungry and "owh, owh" means baby is tired. Cries are easier to decode when they first start. They’re softer, less demanding, and the sounds more pronounced. The longer a baby cries, the louder it gets.
A full-blown cry sounds like an alarm bell, making interpretation tough–especially since it rattles parents’ brains too. Once a new mom masters the language of her baby’s cries, she’ll be much better equipped to attend to their needs quickly, making for a quieter and happier house.
Or course, until someone masters the cries, it’s totally reasonable to operate by trial and error. We don’t doubt mom will figure it out. But if a new mom ever feels frustrated by her baby’s cries, it’s time to call for support – right away.
9 Will My 'V' Ever Be The Same?
This is a legitimate concern. After all, you just pushed a watermelon through your lady parts. Many women worry that it will never be the same down there. How can it possibly bounce back after that trauma?
The vagina is a pretty amazing and elastic vessel. In all likelihood it will return to something close to its former self but Kegels are a great way to ensure the vagina has the best chance of recovery.
Kegel are exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Not only will they help the vagina to return to normal but they also help support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. As such, they are critical in remedying urinary and bowel incontinence. These exercises can be done at any time but are particularly valuable to perform before labor and delivery since they positively impact the very muscles that are used to push the baby out.
If a new mom is really worried about how things seem down there, she can just ask her hubby or partner. We doubt he'll complain.
8 Why Is His Poop That Color?
Poop becomes very interesting to new moms. Believe it or not, it will become a major topic of conversation going forward for many years. Before poop was somewhat taboo to discuss; now it’s mainstream. But not yours of course! We are talking about your baby’s.
There is good reason that poop is such a hot topic in mom circles. It is the only type of report card new parents will get, for a while anyhow, to indicate how well their baby is eating.
As a result, new moms may become borderline obsessed with poop. Some will wonder how many poops a day is normal, what the different poop colors mean, and why some of it smells so bad. And when the baby is older, she’ll also wonder what the point is of feeding him corn, ever, because he just poops out entire kernels.
If a baby’s poop ever contains mucous, blood or is more liquid then solid, it’s time to call the doctor.
7 How Can Anyone Survive On Liquid Alone?
Breast milk or formula ONLY for 6 months? Sure both are packed with fat and nutrients but it’s still just liquid. How can any human being survive on liquid alone?!! When the reality of this notion sinks in, some moms freak out a little. Sometimes they even worry that they should start solids sooner than advised.
I guess we can’t argue with thousands of years of data evidenced by chubby, happy babies. But still, new parents will always worry he isn’t getting enough.
The best indicators of a healthy, well-fed baby are:
- 8 to 10 wet diapers a day
- baby gaining weight
- calms easily when comforted
- has quiet, thoughtful periods through the day
- reacts to sounds and turns towards them
- looks at patterns, colors and movement
- makes eye contact and smiles
6 Is My Baby Bored?
Parents will get bored with this baby stuff at times. Let’s be honest, babies aren’t the most exciting creatures on the planet. They really don’t do a whole lot. In fact, it can be hard to figure out what to do with a baby all day, especially a newborn.
The truth is, mom can't entertain a baby all day. For starters, it isn't necessary. Furthermore, she'll have to go about her regular business some of the time. As a result, she may start to worry that baby is bored. This is totally normal but rest assured, if he’s bored, he will let you know. Let’s not forget that the every single thing is new to a baby so it’s easy fairly easy to stimulate them by mixing things up.
Further one of those cries we mentioned before is the “bored cry”. A cry of boredom usually sounds whiny and fussy. The fix is often easy. Just shift their perspective a little, give them a new toy to play with, or engage them with a song or book. But remember, what's boring to us probably isn't to them.
5 Are Maternity Pants Ok… Forever?
They are so comfy, cozy, forgiving, easy, and SO hard to give up. Many new moms worry about how long she can get away with wearing maternity pants for. The answer is as long as she darn well pleases. You’re a hero now so nobody is going to bat an eyelash.
Plus maternity pants are designed with such style now that, unless the waist-band is visible, nobody would guess they are maternity pants. It certainly seems a shame to spend so much money on a wardrobe that one can only wear for seven months or so.
That said, if donning maternity pants all the time is compromising any goals you are setting, then it might be wise to put some normal pants into the rotation as well. This should definitely be on your terms and not because you feel pressured as a new mom.
4 Baby Won't Take A Bottle
There are a lot of reasons why parents might want their baby to take a bottle. Naturally, if the baby is formula-fed, there is no plausible alternative, but even for a breastfed baby it can make a lot of sense. Moms need a break every once in a while, so it’s nice if they can leave their baby in the care of someone else to enable this.
But like many other baby-related matters, bottle-feeding isn’t always straightforward. Much to the chagrin of well-meaning parents, babies don’t always cooperate. Babies may refuse a bottle if it contains formula or breast milk. ACK! What’s a parent supposed to do?
Luckily, there are solvable reasons as to why a baby might refuse a bottle. And to be very clear, none of them are the fault of the baby or the parent. These reasons might include:
- baby is too young
- mom’s milk is high in lipase
- wrong artificial nipple
- taste of formula
- milk allergy/sensitivity
- baby is unwell
If not taking a bottle is freaking a new mom out, these represent good areas to investigate.
3 Will I Be A Good Mom?
Whether or not a woman will be a good mom is a common concern for many moms, new and seasoned. The definition of a “good mom” often varies between people but regardless, every woman has it in her to be a good mom.
Ultimately, a mom needs to provide her children with a safe, loving, and healthy environment and provide the necessities of life, plus a little more to be certain. It absolutely doesn’t matter if a child has the newest and best things or is engaged in 100 extracurricular activities or lives in a big house and is served only organic food. These things are choices that some parents are able to make but none of these appear on a criteria checklist for “good mom”.
No mom is perfect all the time but as long as she does right by her baby, makes decisions that make sense for his/her well-being, and communicates love and togetherness, then she’s off to a great start.
2 Which Mom Type Am I?
Mom typing is a fairly new phenomenon and we all wonder which one we are. It can tough to categorize oneself. While it certainly isn’t necessary to do so, we put this quick cheat guide together to help you self-categorize
In all likelihood you are not a Pulled-together mom because hardly anybody is. Plus she’s the most hated mom type (in case you didn’t know) so consider it a blessing. If you are a hippy , you’re a Crunchy mom. If you are a know-it-all, you’re a Parenting Expert mom. If your house looks like it belongs in a magazine, you’re a Pinterest mom. If you’re cool without trying, you’re a hipster mom.
None of those? Well everybody hopes they are NOT the Hot Mess mom but most moms are. So in reality, you probably are too. The sliver lining is that Hot Mess moms make great friends because they are real, down-to-earth and will overlook your flaws.
1 Does My Baby Love Me?
This is a legitimate worry new moms have. You look in the mirror and see a Hot Mess Mom who has lost her mind, might die from sleep deprivation, is obsessed with poop, and who is jut trying to keep it all together but your baby doesn’t care about any of this.
As far as your baby is concerned, you are both the same person. He only feels whole when he is with you. He is comforted by the sound of your voice, your touch, your warmth and your smell. In fact, he prefers the smell of your sweaty, milk-stained t-shirt over any decadent aroma on the planet. He’ll search for you in a room until his eyes lock on yours, and before long, he will be yanking on your pant legs to get your attention.
OF COURSE he loves you. He started loving you as he was growing inside you. You’re his world. This much we know is true.