Motherhood: it's both the best and the hardest thing in the world.
One of the biggest challenges of being a mum is the sheer depth of worry we find ourselves in. We worry about our babies, about our families, our relationships, and we develop new fears we didn't know anything about before.
Here are some of the things you might be concerned about – and some ideas for getting through them.
1. Your baby isn't in a routine
So many of us feel like we should have our babies in a predictable routine. This idea is often taught to us in hospital, where we're coached to get baby in a sleep-feed-play routine. Sometimes we feel like we're failing if we don't continue with these 'rules'.
But guess what? There are no rules once you're home with your baby. If a routine is working for you, then that's great – go with it! If not, then one way to get around it is to focus on rhythm instead of routine: your family gets into its own sense of what works, based on the things going on in your lives.
2. You don't know what each of your baby's cries mean
Lots of mums say they can differentiate their baby's hungry cry from their tired cry. But not all of us can – and that's okay.
You can try tuning in to your baby's cry as well their other signs. For example, the sound of a hungry cry might accompany sucking sounds, which will help you recognise what your baby wants. But if you can't piece it together (and some babies are trickier with their clues than others) then just 'fake it 'til you make it'!
3. Is your baby safe while sleeping?
Our babies spend so much time sleeping in those first months (although not necessarily at the times you'd like them to). It's easy to feel like you can't keep an eye on them during that time – and that can literally keep you awake at night.
It really is important to know how your baby is at all times. One solution is to put a monitor, such as the VTech BM4500-OWL Pan & Tilt Video Monitor, in your baby's room to help you know everything's okay. When you can hear or see your little one, all is right in the world … and then you can get some sleep too. (Hopefully!)
4. You're not sure if your baby is getting enough to eat
Whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, it can be hard to know if that little tummy is satisfied.
The answer? Become a detective. There are a couple of clues about whether your baby is drinking enough: he or she is wetting a number of nappies in the course of the day, and that little body is putting on weight.
Most mums say they feel more comfortable about knowing how much their baby needs as they get more experienced in feeding them. And if you're in any doubt, speak to your maternal and child health nurse or GP.
5. Time with your partner is an uncertainty
Oh boy, those first months are intense. It's highly likely that you and your partner feel like ships passing each other at sea, tag teaming the baby's care while the other sleeps or gets jobs done.
The good news is that it gets less intense as time goes on, and you'll once again have some time to spend together. In the meantime, try to snatch even tiny snippets of time for a chat or a quiet meal.
6. Worries about being a good mum
Do you want the good news or the bad news?
Let's start with the latter: the bad news is that this isn't the only time over the next couple of decades that you'll worry about whether you're a good mum. It's a fear that hits most of us at regular intervals as our imperfections are highlighted, and is commonly known as 'mum guilt'.
The good news is: yes. Yes, you are a good mum. You care for your baby, and you're doing your best.
You've got this.
Brought to you by VTech Baby Monitors.