I'm sure all you moms out there are familiar with what I'm about to talk about: those crazy irrational fears we all had before our babies were born and even for the first few months after their arrival. From simple things like what soaps to use to bigger scary things, like mal de ojo, we all had our moments when logic was set aside and we just prayed that we would be able to handle motherhood. Well, I'm proud to say that so far so good--my baby is four months today (yay!) and I have managed to cope just fine. I know there's 18 full years ahead, but for now, let me relish in the success of these four past months!
To help allay some of you new moms' fear, here are 10 of the most common (I discovered) fears that I had, and some little lessons I learned along the way!
1. He's going to stop breathing if I don't watch him constantly. The first night after my little guy was born, I didn't sleep in the hospital getting up every few minutes and checking on him. The first night home was even worse: with his cosleeper next to our bed, I spent all night checking on him every five minutes. My son has turned out just fine, and I know all that getting up was just me being extra cautious, but as long as I followed the directions of "Back to Sleep" and swaddled him safely, I knew he was going to be okay!
2. Baby is going to get a disease if too many people kiss him. Seriously, there's nothing wrong with your family handling and kissing him, as annoying as they seem the first few days after the little one is born. In fact, it's beneficial for the baby to feel the love from his entire family--abuelos, cousins, tias, tios. Just make sure everyone washes their hands and no one has a cold and you'll both be fine.
3. I can't use regular soap on his clothes or regular dishwashing liquid on his bottles. I'll come clean (pun not intended), I believed the whole hype about using baby detergent and special baby dishwashing liquid. The truth is, though, that you can wash his little clothes with the regular stuff and his bottles with your own Dawn. Just make sure to rinse well--and to be on the safe side, use your regular detergent only after the first few weeks.
4. He's going to miss me if I leave him with someone else. In the first few days, as long as you leave enough breast milk if you're breastfeeding or formula if he drinks from a bottle, the baby won't even really know you're not there (crazy, I know). As he gets older it will be a much different story, but rest assured that he's not thinking, "Where the heck is mommy?" if you need to step away and leave him with the grandparents.
5. He can't sleep in another room. Yes, my son still sleeps in the room with us, 4 months later. It's impossible not to have newborns right next to you the first few days, but now that my baby is getting older and more mature, I feel like he'll be able to handle his own room and his own little crib soon. He's becoming so independent! I'll let you all know how that goes when I put him in his own room!
6. I am going to have to call the pediatrician at all hours of the night. The truth is, unless there is something really wrong with him, you will not need to call your doctor at 3 a.m. I thought I was going to have a 24-7 available pediatrician--and it's nice to know that my pediatrician's practice has crazy long hours every single day of the year, but it's also great to know that whatever comes up, I'm now more equipped to handle it and gage whether I need to call a physician or not.
7. I'm never going to know what's wrong with him. I know he doesn't talk, and the first few days doesn't do much of anything except eat, sleep, and poop! But as your inner voice gets more confident and louder--and as his cries get a little more descriptive--you'll know how to tell the hungry cry from the tired cry from the plain-rascaly cry. And more important, you'll know how to handle each one without hesitation.
8. He's going to be colicky if I don't feed him with a special bottle. There are a mind-numbing number of choices for bottles out there. My husband and I spent HOURS in the baby feeding aisle of Babies R Us before our son was born--and we've been known to spend whole afternoons trying to decide between brands of nipples! We do use the fancypants 4-part gas-reducing bottles (which brand shall remain nameless for now) JUST IN CASE. But if washing tiny bottle parts is not your thing (and I totally understand), some good quality bottles with silicone nipples should be enough to feed the little guy.
9. He needs his azabache or else he's going to get mal de ojo. Okay, this is a very personal one. Many of us Latinas hold on to that azabache bracelet like our lives depended on them. And while I have no scientific evidence to support or refute the powers of those amulets, if it makes you feel better, by all means put one on your baby. Just be careful as he gets older that he doesn't bite it off when he plays with it!
10. I won't be able to go anywhere with him because he'll cry. This is absolutely one of the biggest fears that I had that was totally unfounded. I've found that traveling with my Little Man is one of the easiest things in the world--we have taken him to restaurants and friends' houses without incident. It's good to get them used to the car seat early--good passenger babies become good passenger toddlers!
What other crazy fears did you have before having your baby?
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