I am a new mom of a 14 day old baby boy. I delivered him via c section and have been taking it easy thanks to my husband who is a teacher and at home until Labor Day. He has been amazing with changing the diapers, burping him, and comforting him when he's upset. My main focus has been breastfeeding and getting rest. Now that the stitches are coming out and I am starting to feel better, I am trying to do more.
I am really anxious about everything though. I worry that I am not supporting his head enough, that I take too long putting his clothes on and they are over his head too much, that he will choke on his spit up, that I'm not doing enough tummy time, and that he isn't getting out of the house enough (I've been recovering and it's been so hot out we haven't really gone anywhere but the doctor's). I'm also anxious about breastfeeding, my husband has been helping me by letting me get set up with pillows and my boppy and then placing him on me so he can nurse. I worry that when he goes back to work I won't be able to get him set up myself. I also worry that I'm not entertaining him enough the times when he is awake.
My question, I guess, is two fold, 1, what are some ways to entertain a new born? And 2, will this anxiety go away and what can I do to help it go away?
From: New Mom, Framingham, MA
Dear New Mom,
First: congratulations to all three of you! Second: Relax! Third: Relax!
Easy to say, I know.
Let's start with the easy stuff first. You "entertain" your newborn every time you smile and coo at him, every time you two make eye contact. The human face is the best toy of all, generally at about 12 inches from the baby's face. At about three months, you can consider mobiles & infant rattles.
Getting him outside? Sounds like your judgement has been 100% appropriate. Tummy time? Here's how I define tummy time with an infant: Lie down on your back. Put your baby on your chest, so you're face to face. Giggle, smile & enjoy each other. By three months, your baby should be experiencing about 30 minutes a day on his tummy, although not necessarily all at once.
The hardest question you're asking is very individual: How anxious is too anxious?
Some of your anxiety will dissipate as you get more familiar with the baby, as your hormones return to "normal," and as you learn to trust yourself. It's universal to feel anxious. When my son was a newborn, I was terrified of bathing him -- he was so slippery! I was convinced that he might drown, even in the little infant "tub." My husband became the BathMan, a routine that persisted for years.
Whatever you do, I urge you to find a New Moms Group. It is the single best gift you will give yourself and your new family. You might find this through your health care provider, local hospital, local Y, or through private organizations like Isis Maternity. I formed life-long friendships in my New Mom support group. A related question came up a few weeks ago; all of the organizations I mentioned then also offer groups for new mothers.
I do hope some other new moms will weigh in on this so New Mom will know she's not alone. It really helps!