A lot! Here, new moms fess up about their greatest fears -- and we ease their minds.
By Sarah Yang for TheBump.com
"I have moments of total paranoia about the soft spots on my son's head. I worry that I'll accidentally poke him or bang his head on a soft spot. I've heard that soft spots are actually pretty tough, but I still freak out about it." -- jkr_88*
How to feel better: Baby may seem like a porcelain doll, but he's more resilient than you think! Those soft spots on his head are actually pretty strong and sturdy -- you can't hurt him by touching them. Of course, you should be careful about bumps and falls, but rest assured that soon they'll harden.
"I'm worried about the health of my LO. I work in a NICU, so I see crazy stuff all the time. I don't think I'll believe that the delivery went okay and that she's healthy until I'm leaving the hospital with her. " -- smilee78
How to feel better: If you're seeing your OB regularly throughout your pregnancy and getting all the tests and screenings she recommends, you've already taken a huge step toward preventing any problems.
"I'm terrified about not getting to the hospital in time because we have a 45-minute drive. I told my husband to take good notes at our birthing class just in case." -- deedeew
How to feel better: Sure, 45 minutes seems like a long time, but know that the average period of active labor lasts a whopping eight hours, so the likelihood of giving birth in your car is actually really low. To be extra-prepared, make sure you discuss with your doctor the signs of real labor so that you'll know when to go. And don't forget to have your hospital bag ready and your gas tank filled!
"Not being able to nurse is probably my biggest fear. I just know so many women who had so much trouble breastfeeding, and I just really want to be able to do it." -- kayT99
How to feel better: It's actually pretty rare for a woman to be physically unable to breastfeed. But we'll be honest: Getting it right can be downright tricky. That's why it's a great idea to request that a lactation consultant visit you in the hospital after delivery to help you and baby learn, and to head off any problems -- the earlier, the better. You might also want to take a breastfeeding class before baby's born so you know what to expect.
"I'm worried that we won't have everything done before the baby comes. The nursery isn't done yet, and I feel like the house isn't ready either." -- pip_cheerio
How to feel better: Do the things you really do need first: Get a safe car seat and install it. Pick out a bassinet or crib. Get some clothes and receiving blankets, and stock up on diapers and wipes. And remind yourself that everything else is just icing on the cake -- meaning it's not worth stressing about!
"What if I don't bond with my baby and I just feel the same way about him as I do about other people's kids?" -- supernova23
How to feel better: While some moms-to-be bond with baby before he's even born, others take awhile to warm up. In fact, it's totally normal for some new moms to not even feel the warm-and-fuzzies for the first few weeks (blame the hormones!). But know that baby is already bonding with you in utero -- listening to your voice (and even your heartbeat!). Within his first week, he'll even recognize your distinct smell. To feel even closer to him, try some skin-to-skin contact. Hold him frequently or wear him in a baby carrier. Do some fun activities together (and take some breaks too!). We know a few moms who didn't feel an instant connection in the delivery room, but we don't know any who never developed a one-of-a-kind bond with their babes.
"I worry that my husband will fall while carrying our daughter up the stairs. I told him if he feels like he's falling or tripping, he has to spin around and land on his back so he doesn't fall on her!" -- cindylou_hoo
How to feel better: You can prevent tripping and falling accidents around your house by doing some baby-proofing. If your stairs have wall-to-wall carpeting, double-check and make sure it's not loose and doesn't have any holes. If they're a hard surface, consider installing some gripping pads for traction. Be sure to keep any objects away from the steps so no one risks tripping. And encourage everyone to take their time going up and down the stairs when carrying baby.
"My newest fear is that while he's at day care, some little kid will poke him in the eye, and he'll go blind. I don't even know where that fear came from." -- princessa84
How to feel better: If your child is in day care, he's sure to suffer some bumps and bruises (and maybe even bites). That's why your day care is probably full of staffers who are trained for medical emergencies. Not sure if yours are? Ask. Stay in constant communication with the staff so you know exactly what's going on during the day -- and if there are any kids that yours isn't getting along with.
"I'm terrified the nipple on her pacifier will come off while she's sucking on it, and she'll choke. I never would've thought of this, except that the darn things came with that warning! I tug on it all the time to make sure it's firmly in place." -- K_R21
How to feel better: There are a ton of babies who use pacifiers every day and don't choke. Always stick to pacifiers made by reputable companies, and periodically examine the pacifier for holes or tears and discoloration -- if you see any of those signs, toss it out and replace it.
"I spend at least 30 sleepless minutes every night just thinking about any and everything that could go wrong: SIDS, breathing issues, choking while sleeping, somehow rolling over during sleep, etc." -- blue_belle
How to feel better: Freaking out over sleeping dangers is totally normal for new mamas, so don't think you're being paranoid. But keep in mind that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is rare -- there are definite ways to significantly reduce your baby's risk, including putting baby to sleep on his back; buying a well-made crib (and putting it together properly); keeping pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers and thick blankets out of the crib; and keeping baby's room cool.
*Names have been changed
Photo: Veer / The Bump
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