• Mon, Mar 17 - 3:00 pm ET

10 Things You Are Probably Panicking About Right Now If You’re A New Parent

Are you a new parent? Are you panicking constantly? Don’t worry – it’s totally normal. Nobody wants to intentionally freak out new parents-to-be, so they may have neglected to mention that you panic about pretty much everything the first few weeks that you are responsible for keeping a brand new human alive.

You will second guess almost every decision you make. You’ll be Googling things you never thought would cross your mind. Who is this person? Where did your normally calm, collected, logical demeanor go? I’ve been told it returns when your kid finally gets his own apartment, but we’ll see about that.

1. Is my child breathing?

I definitely did this with both of my children when they were newborns. I would wake in the night in a cold sweat, run to the side of the crib and wait for the rise and fall of the chest. I still do it – and my first is three. It’s just that the cold sweat has subsided. It’s more of a controlled panic now.

2. Am I suffocating him in the carrier?

The first time I put my infant in the Bjorn, I was certain his face was just smashed into my boobs (it wasn’t). I spent the entire walk pulling the carrier away from his body to give him the two inches of extra breathing room I was certain he needed. It was a very relaxing walk.

3. Did I just do irreversible spine damage because I forgot to support his wobbly head when I picked him up?

This actually went through my head more than once: Oh my god! I picked him up without supporting his neck! I picked him up without supporting his neck! I think I heard something weird! No, I didn’t hear anything. Except the sound of my own paranoia.

4. Is this poop normal?

Infant poop is the strangest looking stuff. You will repeatedly convince yourself that something is not right about it and spend way too much time looking at images of other infant’s poop on Google (of which there are plenty).

5. Am I starving him?

Hospitals do this thing where they require you to manically document exactly how much your child is eating (which is difficult to measure if you are breastfeeding). I brought this paperwork home with my first and was convinced I was starving him. I can’t be the only one, can I?

6. What if I fall asleep while feeding him?

Night feedings. Until I became comfortable enough with laying down and breastfeeding, I would sit up – basically nodding off while feeding my child – several times a night. Each time I started to fall asleep I would jump, my heart would race, and I would convince myself I had been seconds away from dropping my baby off the bed.

7. What if I forget him somewhere?

Okay, I never really had this fear during waking hours, but I dreamt about it constantly. In my dreams, I would just be hanging out at a bar with friends or something, when all of a sudden I would remember I had a baby. Where’s the baby? Where’s the baby? I don’t know what finally made these dreams stop, but thank God they did.

8. Am I crushing him with his seatbelt and/or is it too loose?

I’m still always worried the car seat isn’t installed correctly, although logically I know that it is because I’ve checked and re-checked it a million times. A squishy newborn adds a whole new level of horror to using the car seat. Take my advice and buy one of those mirrors that let’s you see your rear-facing baby’s face. You’ll still be convinced he’s not breathing every time he falls asleep – but at least this way you can see him.

9. Can he breathe in his stroller if I put this blanket over it?

This is going to sound ridiculous – because it is. I’m just trying to illustrate the level of panic you are sometimes operating on as a new parent. I had those adorable mesh blankets everyone buys now for baby gifts, draped lightly over the canopy of the infant seat and over the handle of the stroller. There was plenty of air getting to my child – yet I would constantly adjust, readjust, and open the thing.

10. Will this glass of wine I just had make my nursing child drunk?

Um, no. And if you’re anything like me you probably need it to relax.

(photo: Kletr/ Shutterstock)

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  • Jessifer

    The fear of suffocation while in the carrier was the one that almost gave me an aneurysm, especially when my husband was carrying him. Is his mouth and nose squished against your chest? Is he okay? Are you SURE? Stop, stop, stop, just let me check his breathing for a second! Needless to say, it took us forever to get anywhere. My husband, while visibly annoyed, had the patience of a saint!

    • Maria Guido

      Oh I did that repeatedly.

  • Kay_Sue

    4. Is this poop normal?

    I still seem to spend entirely too much time worrying over this question. *sighs*

    • rrlo

      This is one thing where I can say that you don’t realize how obsessed you can become about baby poop until you have a baby. No non-parent can appreciate the poop obsession like a parent can.

    • Kay_Sue

      If we’re being honest, I have to confess I still check to see if they are breathing sometimes too. They’re 7 and 3, so it’s probably not really called for anymore….

      But the poop obsession is real. As disgusted as I am by STFUP posts, I can really see how people could fall down that rabbit hole and not be able to come out without intervention.

    • MerlePerle

      I can honestly say that I’ve never really worried about poop. As long as it made its way out, I usually just assumed everything was fine!

    • Kay_Sue

      I obsessed over it far too much. Truthfully. It wasn’t something that found its way into conversation, but it always stayed around the back of my mind. My pediatrician always asked in the early months. That didn’t help, lol!

    • rrlo

      It’s also so hard not to obsess about it when the baby has a neon green poop.

    • Kay_Sue

      So very true!!!

    • rrlo

      Good for you! I wish I were you. But I wasn’t.

    • rrlo

      Haha, I know! I was totally thinking that when perusing the latest STFUP post.

    • rrlo

      I check for the breathing too – and my son is almost 3. But it’s nothing like the first few months.

    • Valerie

      I check every night. I cannot go to sleep unless I’ve nuzzled their faces and listened to them breathe for several seconds. Bonus-they smell like precious freshly bathed angels and I can pretend they’re still babies if I shut my eyes. <====crazy

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s not crazy at all. It’s the only time my boys smell good anymore, honestly….That last whiff is crucial! And they look like angels when they sleep. My mum even says she does the same thing when she runs across me sleeping, so apparently it never goes away.

    • ted3553

      I still check every night on my 1.5 yr old and if I can’t hear him, I put my hand on his belly to make sure….and then I want to pick him up and snuggle him but I don’t because he really needs peaceful sleep. I go through this in my head pretty much every night.

    • Rachel Sea

      If you’ve worked as a care provider you can. I was required by law to chart the date, time, size, and consistency of the poops of people I cared for. It was a regular topic of conversation among the staff, who had gone when and who was behind schedule, and what to do about it.

    • Jessifer

      I don´t think I´ve ever obsessed about poop, only LACK of poop. If it´s been more than 24hrs, I check his diaper every 30min to see if he´s pooped. Then when he does, it´s like “Hallelujah!”

    • rrlo

      That’s poop-related. It totally counts :P.

    • itpainsme2say

      My cousin is a nurse and her husband a hypochondriac so when their two months premie came home and didn’t poop for a week (more like four or five days) he freaked out and she was like the boy pees like a race horse so calm down. She says its normal for some babies to poop only every couple of days just like with grown ups.

    • Natasha B

      Yep. And even when they’re older, and once in awhile still skip a day or two of pooping. PANIC

    • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

      Kay you’re back!

    • Kay_Sue

      I am, I am. I missed you guys. I don’t know what that says about my social life, but there it is…

    • Valerie

      Totes. Ben had a dairy issue and he had blood in his diapers for a few weeks. I never got over the worry and inspected his diapers every time. Iccckkkk.

    • Kay_Sue

      The first time I had to handle a post-Kool Aid poo I called my mother in tears, because of course it turned it an absolutely awful color and I was convinced I’d poisoned him.

      She laughed at me. What kind of woman does that? *sighs*

    • Valerie

      Blueberry shits were like that for me. I thought my baby was rotting from the inside.

  • MerlePerle

    I am constantly freaking out because I’m sure I forgot the baby on the curb while putting the stroller in the cart. Obviously it only takes a second to check in the rearview mirror to see he’s still there. But that initial fear is the worst!

    • ChelseaBFH

      I have twins, and I always have a moment where I can only remember putting one in the car and am convinced that I left the other one on the driveway. And by “a moment” I mean about 10 minutes no matter how many times I check.

      Also, if they’re crying clearly there’s something wrong that is killing them, and if they’re quiet, obviously it’s too late because whatever it is already killed them.

  • rrlo

    I did all of this with my first. ALL of them Maria.

    1. Periodic breathing of infants had me stare at my newborn for HOURS – counting each time he would stop breathing to ensure it was not longer than 8 seconds or whatever.

    2. I was so paranoid about the carrier that I didn’t put my son in the Ergo until he was four months old and was big enough to move his head around at will.

    3. The first time I burped baby at home, his head wobbled back. I looked at my husband and i said “I can’t do this” because I was convinced he was not going to survive under my care (he did).

    4. The poop thing is not my fault – the hospital sent us home with poop charts. Although every time baby pooped green, I ran to KellyMom to look up yet another asinine discussion on “foremilk vs. hindmilk”. Also, I watched that babycenter poop slideshow more times than I care to admit.

    5. I night nursed my son on a chair for months and months, sitting up – while watching a youtube video – purely because of the reason you mentioned.

    I can go on but I am beginning to feel a little embarrassed…. I am highly disappointed to know that your panic level continued with your daughter. Please tell me it was better because having gone the crazy route once – I don’t think I can do it again. My second is due to arrive in May.

    • Maria Guido

      There is no limit to my paranoia. Sorry.

    • rrlo

      Let’s hope there is a limit to mine (paranoia). I shall post an update in June.

  • SA

    The first hike I took my kid was 6 weeks old in the Ergo and I stared at her the entire time afraid I was suffocating her. It was WAY more dangerous that I wasn’t looking at the trail and could’ve easily tripped and fallen, squishing her, but that wasn’t my immediate concern! :)

    I also was terrified she hated me. There were many “googles” on how to tell if your infant likes you during the first 6 months.

  • Courtney Lynn

    LOL…SO true! I freaked out about all these things with my first. With my second, I’m much more relaxed and can enjoy my baby more. I also mastered nursing while laying down and it is the best thing I could teach myself! Good night!

  • CandaceB

    I can relate to all of these. My baby is 6 months old today, and he started rolling over from back to front about a month ago and rolling over to sleep on his stomach for the past two weeks. I swear that I have woken up at least 3-4 times every night for the past 2 weeks and flipped on the video monitor to make sure he is still breathing while he sleeps on his stomach. Also, the “I forgot my baby” dreams. I HATE those.

    • MerlePerle

      The day I realized baby slept on his stomach all night has definitely changed the frequency of me checking his breathing…

    • Maria Guido

      You had those too???

    • CandaceB

      I have two kids, the baby and a 7 year old. I had those dreams with both. I had them more frequently with the first, and they eventually went away. Now that the 2nd kid is here, they have come back. I am usually leaving one or both places in my dreams, and I can’t get back to them. I feel like Catherine O’Hara in Home Alone.

    • Rachel Sea

      I don’t even have a baby, and I have those dreams.

  • Bethany Ramos

    I can’t wait not to be a new parent!!! I may be graduating soon when my youngest turns one…

  • Zettai

    Everyone is scaring me.

  • Kimberly

    I’m only watching my “niece” a few hours a week, but I worry about almost every one of these. lol. Especially the watching her breathing while sleeping. First two days I had her here I don’t think I went more than 10 minutes without checking her, sitting motionless myself, so I could detect her breathing. lol.

  • http://www.desmoinesparent.com T Brogan

    So true. I think I went felt all of these at one point or another. Well, except number 8. But I’m sure my wife was paranoid about that.

  • Katherine Handcock

    It took my husband about a week to figure out why he felt totally panicky watching my son breathe as a newborn. He finally realized that the episodic breathing of a newborn is uncannily similar to the deteriorating breathing of a person who’s dying. No wonder he was freaking out!

    I never had the “I forgot the baby” dream. What I would do is somehow forget that I had finished feeding, put the baby in the crib, walked to my bed, tucked myself in, and gone back to sleep. I’d wake up in a sweat, jumping to my feet because I was SURE I had just nodded of while nursing him and was falling out of the rocking chair.

  • Larkin

    My baby isn’t due till October, and I’ve ALREADY had the “forgetting the baby” dreams. This does not bode well.

  • the_ether

    my poor husband was holding his cousin’s nin-week-old baby, and since that was the first time the baby had stopped crying all day, he was not permitted to put him down. He kept freakng out that the legs were in awkward positions, all smushed up against him, and that he was going to cut off the circulation. After about the fifth time, one of the mums in the room looked, and said “Oh, yes, his legs are turning purple, looks like they’re about to fall off.”

    Sounds like my pregnancy paranoia is going to get dialled up to 11 when. this thing is out of me!

  • Harriet Meadow

    #7. I had the most awful nightmare about this just a couple of weekends ago. OK, so not really a nightmare, since I was awake, but anyway…I was in Boston for a conference and I was crashing on a friend’s couch. Baby stayed home in CO with husband. Normally if I fall asleep on the couch, it’s because the baby and I are “couch napping” together, meaning he’s on my chest or in the crook of my arm. So I wake up at 3 in the morning in Boston and start PANICKING because I was on a couch but the baby was not. I was convinced he had fallen to the floor and then, when I couldn’t find him, I crawled around on all fours looking under the furniture looking for him. And then I was like WHERE DID I LEAVE HIM???? DID I FORGET HIM SOMEWHERE???? And then I woke up fully and realized what was going on. My heart didn’t stop pounding for like half an hour, though. =(

  • Vany

    I’ll add another one: the first time baby falls down because he took a tumble or – heaven forbid – YOU or SOMEONE ELSE didn’t watch him close enough and fell off the bed. First time it happened to me, not only was I racked with guilt and thought I was the most wretched of mothers, I also thought the impact knocked some of his genius out of him. I still think he won’t be as smart as he could have been because of the times he fell down and bonked his head. My husband reassures me this isn’t the case but still…

    • Véronique Houde

      Lol when my step sisters both got pregnant, my sister and I told them: he will fall off the hef or changing table and you’ll feel horrible. It happens to everyone!!!

  • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

    11. Are there other things I should be panicking about?

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I had dreams of my baby being in bed with me, and I’d wake up and paw all over the place looking for him half-asleep and panicking because he was gone GONE and did he fall off the bed? Why can’t I find him?! and, oh, wait… he was never there. I haven’t crushed my baby. He’s in his crib. Everything is okay. Goodnight ZZzzzz.
    This still happens about three times a month.

    • ChelseaBFH

      This is really evil but this is one of the meanest things I’ve ever done to my husband… We were putting our twins back to sleep after a night feeding, and I was rocking one in the nursery while he fell asleep in bed with the other one. Once my twin was asleep in his crib I came back and quietly took the one who had been with my husband and put him in his crib, then came back to bed. My husband woke halfway up and I said “where’s the baby?” The look on his face was priceless! I only let him panic for a second, I swear.

    • Natasha B

      That is epic :)

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Evil!

    • ted3553

      I have totally had the same dream many many times and react the exact same way. It would be interesting to see it on video

    • Véronique Houde

      Omg I had the same and they were horrible

    • Véronique Houde

      I’ve actually even taken pilloe cases off pillows looking for the baby in the middle of the night. .. and she was in her crib the entire time…

  • Jallun-Keatres

    I accidentally DID fall asleep nursing and MK fell off my couch. I have to sleep sitting up because I threw out my back and I was sleeping inward so she was fine. She got up to nurse so I sat up more and next thing I know I feel this slide and a thump. Surprisingly I didn’t feel all that guilty and calmly picked her off the floor. She was crying (duh) and my mind said NURSE HER! so I did and she stopped crying in like 5 seconds and went back to sleep. No problem at all. All I could think was “Thank goodness we have carpet” and “That’s what skulls are for!”

    We survived! I didn’t sleep on the couch after that.

  • Amy Jo

    I just brought home my 1st today and I’ve already experienced all of this, except the carrier since we haven’t ventured out yet. It is sooooo reassuring to know 1. I’m not overly crazy, and 2. I’m probably not killing him.

  • darras

    Not only did I have the ‘forgot the baby’ dreams, but when he was still night feeding I used to dream that I’d brought him into bed and fed him, and then woke in a panic because he wasn’t in bed with me! Which is odd because he slept in his own room from day 3 and I never fed him in my bed! This got so confusing with the ‘already fed him dreams’ that I had to start using an app so I could look up when I actually fed him..

  • Natasha B

    I still have the ‘where’s my baby?!?!’ dreams, and my babiest baby is closing in on two. And I always hated charting the feedings at the hospital, it was so nerve racking. By the time I had number 3, I just made up shit for the charts. It’s hard when you’re Breastfeeding, and those stupid things just make you all panicky!!! And honestly, my peds never asked to see the charts at the newborn checkup. The nurses just tell you that to scare you…

  • Jennifer Freeman

    #8 – My husband was buckling the poor kid in so tightly that he had indentations on his chest. I didn’t realize how bad it was until the baby started crying one day in his car seat. I pulled over to check on him (naturally, because he could totally be dying back there) and went to pull him out of the seat. I oculd barely get my hands in the straps enough to unbuckle them.

  • val97

    #6 used to happen to me all the time. I would fall asleep with baby on boob and wake up hours later, still propped up with pillows. It freaked me out, but I couldn’t control it. The only times in my life that I had zero insomnia issues was when I had an infant.

  • Ritalmumbai
  • mel

    The only one that applied to me was the first one–SIDS is a very real threat in the early months and so I checked often. As for the rest—no, not really.

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