Fearless First Year
Having a new baby in the house often means experiencing anxieties about things you never even knew existed. From SIDS to solids, here is expert advice to put your worried mind at ease.
solutions} Sign up for a prenatal breastfeeding class, and visit a La Leche League International support group (www.laleche league.org) to learn how others overcame problems, advises Bailey. Inform your care provider and hospital staff that you plan to breastfeed, and aim to nurse within an hour after giving birth. A proper latch is key—visit www.fitpregnancy.com/newbaby/10 for a photo tutorial. If you’re worried that your baby won’t get enough milk, this is one problem that solves itself: Your baby’s suckling stimulates the breast to produce and release milk—if she’s not getting enough, she’ll want to nurse more often, which in turn means you’ll produce more milk.
the fear} My baby isn’t developing properly.
the facts} “Children are not perfectly designed robots who change and reach milestones in lock step with one another,” pediatrician Cohen says. That said, your baby should be able to accomplish various feats within a fairly broad time frame; e.g., holding her head up by 3 months and rolling over by 6 months. And don’t obsess about stimulating your baby: While there’s no doubt that the first three years are critical to brain development, babies are hard-wired for rapid learning no matter what parents do, so don’t beat yourself up for allowing yours some stimulation-free downtime.
solutions} Download a brochure to help you track your baby’s development from the AAP’s website (www.aap.org/family/2004PAFBrochure.pdf). Discuss any concerns with your pediatrician; many problems, if detected early, can be treated. As for maximizing your baby’s brainpower, learn simple ways to build her self-confidence and curiosity with “The Magic of Everyday Moments” at www.zerotothree.org/magic.
the fear} I won’t be able to handle the crying.
the facts} Often, even a young infant can communicate the cause of her distress. “I didn’t realize the baby would give me cues that could prevent crying,” says Denver-based Carrie Brace, mother of 3-month-old Carter. “He’ll smack his lips when he’s hungry, or kick his legs and whimper when his diaper is wet.” But don’t be disappointed if you can’t always soothe your baby. “Sometimes babies just have to cry to release tension,” Cohen says.
solutions} Recreating the womb can work wonders on a crying jag. Try swaddling and jiggling your baby on your knee, or placing her in a vibrating bouncy chair. White noise, such as a vacuum cleaner, a fan or static on TV, also may help. Still crying? Take a walk outside or go for a drive together—sometimes a change of scenery will do the trick.