New Parent Panic

by Love Barnett
Originally Published: 

If you just had a new baby, it’s totally normal to have moments of new parent panic. Pretty much all new parents spent the first few weeks (or months) in a limbo state between “awwwwwww” and “I can totally do this” and “OMG what the fuck am I doing!” Here are five (perfectly reasonable) things every new parent freaks out about…

1. Is she breathing? You will wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, or you might hop out of the shower with shampoo suds dripping down your face, just to go make sure your baby is breathing. And you will probably stand there for a few minutes, even after, trying to decide if the rise and fall of her chest is normal. What was that? Was that a hitch in her breath? What does that mean? Ahhhhhh! No shame in it. We’ve all done it.

2. Is she eating enough? Babies sleep a LOT during the first days and weeks, so unless your baby has a medical issue, you don’t really have to maniacally log in her ounces eaten on a schedule, or wake her up religiously every two hours on the dot to eat. It’s also perfectly normal for her to fall asleep before finishing her bottle, or at your breast. You can wake her up by gently tickling her feet to finish her meal if she fell asleep before eating very much, but if she took a three hour nap, or left half an ounce in the bottle, that’s not going to starve her.

3. Is her poop normal? Baby poop is some weird shit. It looks weird. It smells weird. And sometimes, it’s OMG what is that? Is that normal? You will spend far too many hours in the next few years of your life wondering about — and talking about — poop.

4. Is he supposed to look like that? Babies don’t always make their grand entrance looking like the Gerber baby. His head may be oddly-shaped, his skin may be a little weird, his eyes might even look a little crossed. Totally normal. If he was born with hair, some of it may fall out. He may get a little bald patch, or he may develop a little flat spot on his head, too. Also fairly common! That’s probably from the way he’s sleeping… and don’t sit there feeling like shit when your pediatrician mentions it, like you haven’t been holding your baby enough.

5. Is he sleeping too much? See number 2. Infants sleep all the time! It’s hard work being born, and babies need lots and lots of sleep to rest and grow. The hard part is that they sleep in small blocks of time, because they need to eat so frequently. But in the first days and weeks, it’s perfectly normal for your baby to snooze for about 18 hours a day, give or take. He’ll probably be awake long enough to eat, poop, stare at you for about 10 minutes or so, and then it’s back to sleepyland!

Looking for more info on babies? Check out the Scary Mommy Baby Guide!

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