As parents, we can’t help but worry about our adorable little bundles of joy. The amazing part is that for many of us the worrying starts before they’re outside of the womb. It’s as though the mere act of becoming pregnant sets off an instinct to worry about our children all of the time. It doesn’t help that social media is loaded with horror stories from parents. After three kids, I’ve spent A LOT of time worrying, and A LOT of time learning that I didn’t actually need to worry about certain things. So, here’s a list of eight things that I worried about, that I didn’t need to worry about!
- Pumping Too Early and Your Supply: If you’re a breastfeeding mom, I’m sure you’ve heard this one, “You don’t want to pump too soon, because it could ruin your supply. But waiting too long could cause issues as well!” So, when should you start to pump? Should you wait the rumored week postpartum? According to Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC, a mom can start pumping within six hours, if her baby doesn’t immediately nurse. In fact, according to her article on Kelly Mom, the early pumping helps with the milk supply. So, don’t worry about pumping too soon! Make sure your baby is fed and start building that stash of liquid gold!
- Needing to Supplement with a Bottle: Yes, we all know, “Breast is best.” But the problem with that saying is that it makes moms feel like they’ve failed if their baby isn’t fully breastfed. While the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, the fact is that it’s more important for your baby to be fed than for you to be able to say that your baby was exclusively breastfed. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a particular box; just feed your baby! The best mom isn’t the one who strictly breastfeeds, the best mom is the one who does what’s best for her babies. Besides, nobody can tell once your kids are grown up whether or not they were breastfed! If you are finding that you’re having a hard time with your breastfeeding journey, you can always speak with a certified lactation consultant. La Leche League is also a great resource for help on your journey.
- Why Hasn’t My Baby Rolled Over: I remember worrying so much with my first when she would roll over, and then worrying about when she’d crawl, or when she’d walk. It turns out the age milestones are more of a guideline than anything! There’s a full range of when babies should gain their different levels of mobility. And once I had my second and third babies, I was in absolutely no rush to teach them how to gain mobility. Now, if you have concerns, you can always speak to your pediatrician.
- Why Doesn’t My Baby Have Teeth Yet: Did you know that some babies don’t get their teeth until they’re 18-months-old? I was shocked when I saw that! Teeth, just like the mobility milestones, come in at different times for each child. Granted, there is a time range when most babies start to cut teeth. Once my babies started to get teeth, I realized how silly I was to worry. There’s nothing quite like breastfeeding a teething baby.
- My Baby Isn’t Eating Solids Yet: There’s a lot of talk about when the proper time is to start your baby on solids. Some say you can introduce purées as early as 4 months, and others say to wait until 6 months. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can start to introduce solids around 6 months of age. My middle child loved food the moment it was introduced, while my youngest had no interest until he was almost 9 months old. Each child is different. Don’t panic if your baby isn’t a fan of strained carrots, new textures take some getting used to. If you’re thinking about solids, definitely talk to your doctor first, just to make sure they’re on board with the introduction!
- Eating Dirt and Other Things: I remember when my eldest was born, I was extremely concerned about germs. Everyone had to sanitize their hands up to their elbows before they could hold her. That faded over time, but once she got mobile and started to put stuff in her mouth, the germ-phobia came back. I was worried she’d eat dirt, or anything off of the floor and get sick. The logical side of my brain completely ignored the fact that germs actually help to increase the immune system. One day while she was crawling around, she ate a ladybug. I panicked and called Poison Control. The operator giggled and let me know there was nothing to worry about. After the ladybug incident, my fear of her eating things calmed down a bit. Granted, if your child eats something you’re not sure of, it’s always okay to call Poison Control or your doctor!
- The Mom Wars: You know what I’m talking about, the constant desire some moms have to outdo other moms, their children are always perfect, always sleep through the night, have never screamed, or thrown tantrums? The odds are they’ll also “choose” to go to Stanford over Harvard or Princeton. They’ll ask you about your child and may try to make you feel inferior, but you know what? Don’t let them. As moms, we should help each other and provide one another with a village of support. We don’t need to compare! Her child never cries? Good for her! Her kid is always the best? Fantastic! Even if you don’t believe it, just smile and nod. Do not engage. I used to worry about what other moms thought, and then I realized what mattered was how I was doing with my kids. As long as my children are growing into well-adjusted people, that’s what matters.
- What Your Child Wears: I used to be very concerned about the outfits my daughter would wear. I had the cutest little boutique outfits and bows all ready to go. And then one day she asked if she could dress herself, which she did with pride. She picked out the most garish ensemble you could imagine. Bright orange, purple, yellow, green. All of the colors of the rainbow and it was a sight. At first, I tried to ease her into another outfit but decided to let her keep wearing her special outfit of choice. I was afraid people might stare and think I was a horrible parent for letting her wear that. But then I realized something: who cares? She’s proud of her outfit. She likes experimenting with different pieces, and it gives her a sense of autonomy. When so many things in our children’s lives are regimented and controlled with very little say from them, it’s important for them to be able to have complete freedom (within reason) in at least one area. Granted, I won’t let her wear shorts and flip-flops in the snow, but anything that doesn’t endanger her health is allowed.
Parenting can be challenging and nerve-wracking. There are times when you should worry, but there are plenty of other times when you don’t need to. Hopefully, this list has helped quell some of your fears and concerns. Just remember, do the best you can and if you’re ever worried about your baby’s health or development, call your pediatrician! That’s what they’re there for. And one more thing, resist the urge to click on the sad news stories about anyone’s kids on Facebook. You’ll worry less and feel better!