Becoming a new parent is a daunting challenge for anyone. All of a sudden, you have to move from a world where you only have to take care of yourself to looking after someone else. It’s a massive shift in psychology and, according to some professionals, the only true road to adulthood.
Because of this, parents develop all sorts of fears and worries. They have so many overflowing emotions impacting their psychology.
For instance, many are surprised by just how weird being a new parent feels. No matter how many times they see other people doing it, nothing quite prepares them for the challenges they will face. Emotions and feelings can be all over the place. Some parents realize that they’re simply not ready for the challenges ahead.
In this post, we run through some of the common fears that afflict nearly all parents. The goal is to put your mind at ease. Even if you are going through a difficult emotional situation right now, you can be happy in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Practically all parents face similar issues to the ones that we describe below.
So, without further ado, what are new parents’ biggest fears? Let’s take a look.
Fear #1: You Won’t Have Enough Money
The media likes to talk up the idea that raising children is expensive. Low-ball estimates start at around $300,000 and go all the way up to a million.
For new parents, this seems like an enormous quantity of money. Most people simply don’t have the income required to support that kind of spending.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that most estimates just give the nominal value of goods and services the average family invests in their child. They don’t take inflation into account. In real terms, the price of having kids is usually significantly lower because incomes rise with inflation over time.
That’s not to say that having a child is cheap. You’ll still need to pay significant money for daycare and college tuition. But most families manage it, as they have throughout history.
Fear #2: You Think Your Baby Is Sleeping Too Much
When babies first pop out of the womb, they tend to sleep for most of the day. Some can spend upwards of 22 hours unconscious as their bodies grow and get used to life outside of the womb.
If you think your baby is sleeping too much, you’re not alone. Many parents believe that their children should be active immediately, exploring the world around them. However, this is not how human biology works. It takes many months before their activity levels become more significant.
Because of this, parents need to be careful. There is a temptation to seek unnecessary medical attention for babies that sleep a lot. The key here is to realize that it’s entirely natural. As long as your baby has regular wet nappies and mustard-yellow poop, they’re usually healthy. If you are worried, you can check that they have a normal baby’s temperature. If it is any higher than it should be, take them to a doctor for evaluation.
Fear #3: Your Baby Is Crying Too Much
It’s perfectly normal for newborn babies to cry a lot. It’s what they do. In fact, it is the only way they can communicate for the first few months of life.
If a baby cries, it usually means that just a small list of things are wrong. These include:
- Being too hot or cold
- Being hungry
- Needing to poop
- Wanting physical touch
In rare cases, it means that your baby is ill (which is one of the reasons parents worry). Over time, you should be able to detect different types of crying in your baby. If they are sick, they won’t stop crying even if you feed them, change their temperature, or comfort them physically.
Crying generally increases significantly in weeks two and three after birth. Around seven to eight weeks, it is at its worst, and then it declines after that. Regular crying occurs most late in the afternoon, so if you notice a lot of it at other times of the day, it might be cause for concern.
Fear #4: Your Baby Isn’t Like Other Children
It can be a little disconcerting when other people’s children are talking and running around, and yours is still just babbling and crawling around on all fours. You wonder why everyone else’s children are developing so rapidly, and why yours aren’t.
The key here is to recognize that all children develop at different rates. And the ranges can be considerable.
Remember, around 15 percent of children experience developmental delays by age three. That means that around fifteen babies out of every one hundred are behind the average after 36 months.
What’s interesting about this, though, is that most of them make up the deficit. Even if they are behind some of their peers at three, they usually catch up later on as time passes.
If you are worried, you can go for a check-up with a developmental specialist. They can tell you if they believe something is wrong or if their development characteristics are within the normal range for their age group.
Fear #5: You’ll Damage The Fontanelle
Babies’ heads are compressible when they are first born to help them move through the birth canal without damaging themselves or the mother. Because of this, they have an area at the top of the skull called the fontanelle. This closes when under pressure, and then opens again when the baby comes out of the womb, before fusing as they get older.
The fontanelle is a vulnerable part of your baby’s anatomy. All that is separating the brain from the outside world is essentially just a thin flap of skin.
Because of this, many parents worry about damaging it. They fear that they will accidentally poke a hole in it, or touch it in the wrong way.
Fortunately, when it comes to the fontanelle, evolution is on your side. Over eons of time, it has developed into quite a robust piece of tissue. This means that you don’t need to worry about it as much as you might think.
Fear #6: Your Baby Will Suddenly Die During Sleep
Worrying that your baby will suddenly die during sleep is a significant concern for many parents. When they shut their eyes and are deep in slumber, you immediately start worrying that all your new organs and tissues will fail to keep them alive.
Most parents have read horror stories about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Researchers still aren’t quite sure why this condition occurs, but it is mainly to do with their environment, not intrinsic problems with their bodies.
If you are worried about SIDS, you can practically eliminate the risk by:
- Letting your baby sleep on their back
- Ensuring that their head remains uncovered
- Avoiding smoking around them
- Preventing them from getting too hot, perhaps by installing an air conditioning unit in their room
- Placing them in a crib at night with high sides
Fear #7: You Will Drop Your Baby
Most parents accidentally drop their babies at some point, often when they least expect it. The good news is that you can take precautions to prevent this from happening. If you are going to hold your baby for a long time, consider investing in a hip carrier to support them. You can also do things like reduce trip hazards in your home and put your baby down while you do other things with your hands, such as talking on the phone.