Keep Calm and Mommy On: New baby stuff you shouldn't worry about
New parents are natural worriers. As you work to get your bearings as a parent, it's exceedingly common to have all sorts of concerns -- ones that make perfect sense and ones that might be a little over-the-top. Anyone who's ever tiptoed into a sleeping baby's room at 3 a.m. because it's "too quiet" in there knows exactly what that worry feels like, and how profound the relief is when you see that everything is just fine. There are, however, a bunch of things you needn't worry about. Skip fretting over these common new-parent hurdles:
- Crying. Babies cry. Sometimes they cry a lot. Sometimes they cry because they are hungry, or tired, or have a dirty diaper, and they'll stop when they are fed or changed or put to sleep. But sometimes they just cry -- and it doesn't mean you are a bad parent, nor will it harm them. It's their only means of communication. If your baby truly never stops crying, you might want to talk to your doctor about colic; even colic typically goes away after a few months.
- Sneezing. Newborns do a lot of sneezing. Unless the sneezes are accompanied by other symptoms, don't worry about it -- it's not a cold or allergies, it's just your baby's way of clearing his nasal passages.
- Feeding style. Some breastfeeding mothers worry that their baby isn't getting enough food or stress that nursing isn't coming as easily as they thought it would. Some formula feeding mothers feel guilt that they're not breastfeeding or that they have to supplement nursing sessions with formula bottles. Let go of the worry and guilt and focus on your body and your healthy, growing baby.
- Bonding. Don't feel guilty if you don't feel that overwhelming "love at first sight" moment immediately after giving birth. Some moms experience that; others feel more of a growing love and emotional connection over time.
- Milestones. It's tempting to read every book, consult every chart, look at every Facebook posting and listen to every new-parent friend and family member's brag about what their baby is doing and worry that your baby isn't hitting the same milestones at the same rate. The bottom line: Kids develop at their own pace, and there's a range for every big milestone. Follow your own gut, keep up with your child's regular checkups and talk to your pediatrician if you're truly concerned.
- Schedules. Yes, it's important for your child to eventually be on a good eating and sleeping schedule. But there's no point in trying to force it to happen too early on. After a few weeks or months you'll get a feel for your baby's natural schedule -- following his cues will help you get there much easier.
- Other people. As soon as your baby is born you'll be subject to lots and lots of unsolicited stories and parenting advice (let's face it, you probably heard a lot of this before the baby was born too!). Do your best to politely ignore busybodies. You are the parent, this is your baby and it's up to you to do what's best for your own family.