Ugggggh. Thanks to hormones, sleep deprivation and that crazy all-consuming love, newborns don’t half make us worry. No matter how much of a chilled-out entertainer you usually are, in those first few weeks of motherhood, it’s totally, utterly normal to find yourself fretting about all sorts of things that your pre-mum self would roll her eyes at.
This list could have touched on at least 87 different worries but these are the big ones, the concerns that have every mum of a newborn asking strangers on the internet really specific questions at four in the morning.
1. “The baby is too hot! The baby is too cold!”
When you first bring your baby home, irrational concerns about their body temperature will plague you. Baby born in a heatwave? You’ll still find yourself faffing around with layers and blankets.
Always remind yourself that your baby is a human being, not a weird otherworldly creature who experiences their environment completely differently from you, and that there are babies thriving around the world in all sorts of weather conditions.
If you’re a bit hot, they’re probably a bit hot too. If you’re a bit cold, they’re probably a bit cold too. Adjust their layers accordingly, just as you would with your own. It’s not an exact science. And the whole “they should wear one more layer than you” thing that everyone bleats at you is a mere guide. Use your common sense, which can be reclaimed down the back of the changing table, under a sick-scented muslin and some discarded breast pads.
2. “They’re feeding too much!”
If you’re breastfeeding, this will drive you mad. You’ll feel like you’re feeding CONSTANTLY (especially if you have one of those babies that likes to fall asleep on the boob – that’s all of them, then). New mums often write down all of their babies’ bodily functions but this really isn’t necessary.
The fact is, babies – especially those on the smaller side – feed loads as a cunning way of building up your milk supply, and the advice about newborns only feeding every four hours is outdated and potentially dangerous. Just follow their lead, they’re clever little things and as long as they’re gaining weight and filling nappies it’s all good. Plus when they’re older and won’t stay still, you’ll yearn for those long cosy days on the sofa trying to reach the remote with your toe.
3. “They’re sleeping too much! They’re not sleeping enough!”
We’ve all got that mum friend who seemingly faux-moans about their baby sleeping too much, and you’ll feel like screaming “GOOD FOR YOU!” as you calculate that you’ve had 11 hours sleep in two weeks.
When babies are tiny, sleeping too much is only a concern if they’re jaundiced and/or not gaining weight quickly. And as for not sleeping enough… it’s mainly because they hate you. Or, you know, THEY’RE A BABY. Just remember, they’ll sort themselves out one day. Probably about a week before you get pregnant again.
4. “Their poo looks weird”
We hate to break it to you but your poo looks weird sometimes too.
There’s a wide range of normalness when it comes to baby poo – googling it is a bit like a gross version of a Dulux colour chart – but if you’re really worried, you can mention it to your health visitor who will have heard, seen and smelled it all before.
Weird poo without other symptoms is generally nothing to worry about. And trust us when we say that runny newborn poo in all its shades of yellow, orange and green is WAY less gross than what comes when they start on solids. All in good time…
5. “Why do they look so gross?”
We can blame nappy adverts and Instagram filters for this. Turns out real newborns don’t all have soft, flawless skin. They all have phases of being spotty, flaky, wrinkly and/or red, and it’s totally normal and a result of living in the luxurious confines of your body for so long.
Always get proper rashes checked out, but the zits and the flakiness are generally just a brief, un-photogenic preview of adolescence and old age.