My biggest fear: First time mums tell all

Christine shares her fears of having a new baby in a big city.
Christine shares her fears of having a new baby in a big city. Photo: Supplied

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According to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), around 1 in 7 new mums experience postnatal anxiety – so if impending motherhood is freaking you out, you're not alone.

From settling and feeding to sleeping and getting out of the house, you'll find comfort in these stories from mum's who have been there, done that and overcome the fear.

Feed fights: Kristy, mum to Leyla and Jett

"I was most afraid of being left on my own with the baby. My partner was home with us for the first two weeks, then my mum was with me for the following three weeks. So, I had a lot of help during those early days.

But feeding Leyla was a nightmare. She couldn't latch on properly, had lost a lot of weight during that time. The paediatrician and maternal health nurses were really concerned, which was making me anxious.

I was expressing milk and feeding around the clock, but she just couldn't get enough.

I remember when she was five weeks old, and it was mum's last days with me, tears just started rolling down my face and landing on Leyla, who was in my arms struggling to breastfeed.

As a new mum, I wasn't present or enjoying the moment with my baby because I was so worried about her health.


It was at this stage that the paediatrician advised me to supplement her feeds with formula. It took away so much anxiety and guilt, and most importantly, Leyla put on weight."

Double the routine trouble: Evelyn, mum to twins Ezra and Alba, and baby Cara

"I had premmie twins and really struggled getting them into a good tandem routine. My stomach would literally feel sick if one started crying while the other was still asleep.

I used to worry I'd never be able to leave the house again because, how would I cope with two twins if one was asleep or the other was crying while we were out?

The first few months were really difficult and I struggled.

Then when the twins were five-and-a-half months I spent four nights at Tresillian and learned 'responsive settling,' which teaches baby to go to sleep in their cot on their own, but the parent can still comfort them with patting, or presence, or singing… whatever is required so they don't become distressed.

This allowed me to get the twins into a tandem routine, so they would sleep and feed in sync.

But most importantly, it allowed me to become more confident, steal some naps myself, and plan my day a bit better because I knew roughly when they'd be awake and asleep."

The lone venture: Christine, mum to Eloise

"My daughter was born in New York City a few months after moving there from Australia. I wanted to see as much as I could of the city, but I was terrified of taking a baby around such a busy place that I wasn't familiar with.

To help overcome my fear, I buddied up with a friend in my mother's group and together we went on day trips all around the city with our new bubs, discovering kid-friendly cafes and exploring art galleries.

We started small by going to cafes in our neighbourhood that we could walk to and that we knew were stroller-friendly. Then, as we grew more confident, we started to catch the subway all over the city.

We laughed at our failures, celebrated the successes and watched our confidence grow with our babies in the city, even when things went horribly wrong – like navigating subway stations with broken elevators and restaurants with no room for strollers.

Our adventures inspired me to start a family travel website aimed at inspiring families to get out and explore with their kids."

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