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.