New moms often have a lot of concerns about taking care of their bundles of joy. First-time moms may have a tougher go of it, but repeat moms have the added stress of trying to manage other children of varying ages along with the demanding schedule of a newborn.
Not only that, but each child is different, having his or her own personality. No two tactics or strategies will work on every baby in exactly the same way.
The unpredictability of this extremely joyful, yet challenging, time of life can bring a lot of worries with it.
Here are four common concerns of new moms and tips for handling them.
Concern #1: Will I ever sleep again?
After having a baby, you’ll quickly realize you probably need more sleep than ever before. But how do you find the time?
Obviously, moms need to take care of themselves in order to be able to take care of their families and the new life that has been entrusted to them.
While you can anticipate the sleep interruption, how can you help yourself get at least a portion of the sleep your baby gets?
One of the most common pieces of advice is to sleep when baby does. Many moms roll their eyes at this suggestion, particularly if there is an at-home business to tend to, other children in the home, or laundry and dishes.
A newborn sleeps 16 to 17 hours per day, usually in two to four hour spurts.3 Try attending to the other household items during some of those sleep spurts, and catching up on some Zzzs during the others.
Creating an eating and sleeping schedule for your baby is also important. Most babies naturally set this schedule, and trying to wrestle with baby over this within the first few weeks or even months of life is going to be stressful for both of you.
By the end of the first month, those families who have followed baby’s natural rhythm usually find that the baby’s schedule settles into some form of predictability.
Once you get past the first couple of months, parents can try to feed more during the day and shorten naps. The goal of this is to have fewer feedings through the night.
By four to six months, most babies should be sleeping through the night without needing to be fed, said Michelle Haley, M.D., pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri.1
Concern #2: Is my baby crying too much?
Hearing a baby cry can be panic inducing for some mothers. You’re sleep deprived, and so many new moms think that they should instantly turn into Wonder Mom and know what they need to do. Even experienced new moms can find themselves overwhelmed with all the demands now placed on them, particularly the responsibility for this new little life. And it can seem like baby never stops crying. Remember that crying is the only way for newborns to communicate.
Each cry has a different tone whether the baby’s hungry, dirty, uncomfortable, bored or tired. It will take time to learn which one is which. If your baby cries a lot, it does not mean that you’re a bad parent. It is a fact that some babies just cry more than others.
If your baby cries continually and is inconsolable, there may be a medical reason. One common issue is colic, which is an indication that there is something happening in your baby’s tummy.
This is usually caused by an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, and sensitivity to lactose.2
Here are some common ways to settle a crying baby:
- Going for a drive.
- Having a soothing bath with a lavender-scented product.
- Making eye contact and engaging with baby.
- Recreating the feeling of being in the womb.
If you feel you’ve tried everything and the crying doesn’t subside, you should consult a physician.
Concern #3: Is my baby getting enough milk? Should I use infant formula instead?
Many new moms expect to be able to breastfeed perfectly right away. It’s a natural thing to do, so it should come naturally, right?
But many moms don’t realize that breastfeeding is actually a learned skill for both mom and baby. Many new moms worry that their baby isn’t getting enough to eat because he or she seems constantly hungry.
Although it can be tough to wait, remember that it takes about three days before the body starts producing thicker, fuller milk that will better satisfy baby’s tummy.
Sometimes mom and baby need help and support to get breastfeeding down. That’s where a lactation specialist can be a great resource for new moms to look at all options available. Each baby is different and even experienced new moms may find themselves needing a little extra support.
As great as breastfeeding is, there are some circumstances where using formula may be a good solution.
So many moms feel guilty when they aren’t able to breastfeed. But in some cases, particularly where there’s a milk allergy or sensitivity, it might be the right answer for baby and mom.
Concern #4: I feel completely inadequate. Am I a good enough mom?
As our society becomes more concerned about mental health, science has been looking into the effects on pregnancy and birth on a mother’s brain to try to come up with some explanation for why postpartum depression happens. This is bringing more attention and legitimacy to the special physiological circumstances in a mom’s postnatal body that can contribute to postpartum depression.
A pregnant woman’s body is full of hormones, such as oxytocin, and conflicting emotions – joy, worry, fear, anxiety.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 women suffers from postpartum depression. Many mothers also engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, usually to compensate for the general feeling of being out of control, which is normally a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety.1
It may be extremely difficult for a mother to recognize that she is suffering from postpartum depression. Supporters and the mom's medical team need to help prepare her for this possibility.
It’s important to help moms know that there are resources available, and to have those resources in place before baby comes, potentially including video doctor visits. One option called LiveHealth Online even has a psychology offering that allows adults and teens aged 10-17 to see a psychologist or therapist via video chat anywhere they are, which saves going to a doctor’s office.
Why leave home when you can see a doctor online
One of the biggest emotions impacting new mothers is fear — fear that they’re going to do something wrong, that they’re not meeting baby’s needs; that they’re not going to get any sleep, that they’re not going to be able to manage the crazy schedule that a new baby requires; that they are going to have to manage everything on their own, regardless of the fact they may be surrounded by willing helpers.
The bottom line is that there are lots and lots of questions. And even if you do have medical insurance, not all family physicians or pediatricians are available 24/7 to answer questions.
The advent of video doctor visits, like those available with LiveHealth Online, allow new moms to get their questions answered from the comfort of home. Sometimes you just need a doctor — whether it’s the middle of the night or while you are away from home.
And online video visits give moms access to video chat with a doctor at any time of day wherever they are.
With LiveHealth Online, you have 24/7 access to a board-certified doctor so you can get a professional opinion as to what step you should take next, or even just reassurance that you’re doing fine.
This little life is wholly dependent on you, but you don’t have to carry the weight of that responsibility on your own. There is help.
With all of today’s technology and real-time resources, it’s important to also find those resources that will help you take care of what is most precious to you, and help you take care of you.
To learn more about LiveHealth Online or try out the service for you and your family, click here.
Reviewed July 5, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Sponsored by: LiveHealth® OnlineRead more in Health Technology Insider
1) What Happens to a Woman’s Brain When She Becomes a Mother. The Atlantic. Retrieved: July 4, 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/what-happens-to-a-womans-brain-when-she-becomes-a-mother/384179
2) 10 Things New Moms Shouldn’t Worry About. Parents.com. Retrieved: July 4, 2016.
3) Baby sleep basics: Birth to 3 months. www.BabyCenter.com. Retrieved: July 4, 2016.
4) LiveHealthOnline. Retrieved: July 4, 2016.