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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Guest Post - 8 Things New Parents Are Scared about When Raising Their Children

Being a new parent is an exhilarating time – one filled with much joy, but also many new worries.

The dreams you had for your baby when he or she was in the womb are now a reality, and it may not be
exactly what you expect. Here are 8 things that many new parents fear about when raising their children
– and how these parents can overcome them!

1. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Some new parents are always anxious about their infant. These are the parents that spend some part of
their night checking to verify if the baby is still breathing or if they have slept longer than usual.

They just brought this new life into the world, and they are terrified about the possibility that he or she
could be taken away from them.

Here’s the good news: SIDS deaths are pretty rare – just one or two for every thousand live births. Even
better, you can take simple steps to keep your baby safe.

First and foremost, put your baby to sleep on his or her back. (Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign was
started in 1994, there has been a 50 percent overall drop in SIDS rates.) Also, keep your baby in the
room with you – but not on your bed, which can be very dangerous. Breastfeeding, using a pacifier
before bed, and keeping your baby away from second-hand smoke have also been shown to reduce risk.

2. Losing Control of your Finances

When a child enters a couple’s life, unexpected expenses arise. Today you’re just buying diapers and
onesies, but before you know it, you’ll be paying for college! The solution is simple… but most of us drag
our feet in doing it: plan ahead.

This means looking at your household budget now to prepare for the future. Look at where your money
is going, and consider ways that you can cut back to reach your long-term goals. Consider setting up a
savings account where you can set aside money specifically for major expenses related to your child,
such as orthodontic work, as well as a college account.

Feeling overwhelmed? Hire the help of a financial planner.

3. Normal Development

You counted ten fingers and ten toes when the baby arrived, but now you’re worried about her physical
and mental development, particularly in comparison to other kids their age.

Every child grows at a slightly different pace, so although it’s easier said than done, don’t compare.
Instead, trust your doctor. They will let you know if there is a cause for concern, so keep up with those
regular appointments and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

4. Proper Eating Habits

Many new moms become very concerned about their ability to breastfeed their new baby. It’s hard to
tell just how much the baby is ingesting at each feeding, and the mom may be concerned that she is not
producing enough.

There are two main ways a mom can tell that the baby is getting enough. First, how many wet and soiled
diapers is he or she producing every day? And second, is the baby growing well? The best thing to do is
to consult a doctor when there is a concern in this area.

What you shouldn’t do is give up on breastfeeding! The benefits are numerous – everything from a
stronger immune system to a higher IQ – and it’s likely you’ll feel more confident about your ability to
feed your baby as you both gain more experience breastfeeding. If you’re still struggling, you can seek
the help of a lactation consultant.

5. Excessive Crying

Babies cry – many of them a lot and often – but this can be a shock to new parents. Instead, they worry
that it’s a sign that they’re a bad parent or there is bigger underlying problem.

Try to remember that crying is normal behavior, and it’s unlikely to harm your baby. If you’re
suffering from a colicky baby, rest assured that it will eventually end – most babies grow out of it by
3 or 4 months. And if you are concerned about your baby’s cries, your doctor is your best source of

6. Not Having a Life

Especially in those first few months, it can seem like you’ll never be able to leave the house again! This
newborn phase will pass, giving you more time alone with your spouse at night.

Many couples also benefit from scheduling a regular date night where they spend time together away
from the baby, allowing them to reconnect. Don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining the
health of your relationship. It’s good for you, your spouse, and your baby! If finding childcare is a
concern, consider finding other couples that have young children as well and swapping babysitting

7. Dropping the Baby

They are such tiny, fragile-looking creatures, so it’s no surprise that this is something that scares many
parents, especially dads. But babies are stronger than they look – just think about all they went through
during birth!

Some dads react to this worry by avoiding handling the baby, but doing this won’t help you overcome
your fear. A good first step is to watch your partner – or another experienced parent – handle a baby.
Then step in with their guidance when you’re ready. Before long, you will be able to start helping out in
other areas – everything from changing a diaper to giving a bath. The more you do, the more confidence
you’ll build.

8. Being a Good Parent

This is probably the number one concern on all new parents’ minds: can you do this? Many new moms
especially worry about this due to the very high standards set for mothers in our society.

The worry probably won’t ever completely leave you, but eventually you’ll feel more comfortable in
your new role – and forgive yourself for any mistakes you make along the way. When feeling doubt,
keep this in mind: billions of people have done this before you!


Tanya Rivka Peque is part of the team behind Open Colleges, Australia's provider of child care courses.
Tanya is an educational therapist who has been working closely with kids with special needs for about 5
years now.


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