Being a parent can be scary….especially when you have just introduced a new, fresh, little human being into this world. Want to make this even scarier?? This is your first! Whoa! Game changer! This little baby is here now….what do I do with him? And please don’t let me make any mistakes, right?!?!
Now for me, James is not my first. But honestly, he might as well be. My first, Tegan, was born nearly 20 years ago. (Now I feel old!) So when James was born, I would say 25% of me was thinking “I totally got this” while the other 75% of me was thinking “everything is so DIFFERENT now! What do I do?!?!” This leads into what this post is about. The obsessive behaviors new parents display including those of us who are “new again” parents. Here are 5 things I have found myself obsessing over.
Checking To See if My Baby is Breathing
I was guilty of doing this when Tegan was a baby and honestly I thought that during my second round of motherhood I would be better but NO. I check to see if James is breathing ALL THE TIME! (Notice I didn’t use the word “checked”.) At first it was just peeking into his bassinet periodically throughout the night. Then once he graduated to his crib it changed to staring intently at his baby monitor until I saw his chest move. Also included is the occasional run up the stairs to peak into his crib in person because yeah, I still do that too. My biggest fear is for something horrible to happen to James so I honestly feel like I can’t help it. Even if James was my 7th child I feel like I would still be doing this. I just worry so much! When he was still a newborn I even considered getting one of those Owlet Baby monitors but decided against it. When I worked in the Intensive Care Unit, most of the time alarms would sound off because of a monitoring device not being attached properly or coming undone and I pictured the Owlet monitor being similar to that. But I still think that as a parent it would be totally worth it just to have that peace of mind. But when I think more about it, I didn’t have any kind of monitor for Tegan whatsoever. Not even a regular baby monitor. She turned out fine so I just need to try not to worry so much.
Changing My Baby’s Diaper as Soon as the Magical Blue Line Appeared
I’m convinced this is a brilliant and diabolical marketing ploy to get obsessive moms to use more diapers. When James was first born, Adam and I would look at that blue line as our signal to change James. We were SOOO trained. Thankfully this did not last long. Diapers are expensive!! But for the brief period that it did, many many diapers were stuffed into our diaper Genie. I didn’t want my baby boy to end up with a red bottom and I was bound and determined to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Now things have changed a bit. Rather than changing James at the first hint of a blue line, I usually just eyeball his diaper and give it a little feel. If it looks full and is really really mushy I change him. Simple as that! If James can go overnight without suffering from a diaper rash he can go a while with that little blue line on his tushy tush.
Constantly Checking Tracking App to See if it is Time for Another Feeding
Having a baby now vs. when I had Tegan means having a plethora of baby technology at my fingertips….in particular…APPS! There are tons of apps available to aide you in raising your littles. One that I really enjoyed and appreciated was the “Feed Baby” App available via Itunes. This app was a total lifesaver for me. I used it to track wet diapers and feedings. For mothers who breastfeed you can keep track of which breast you fed from last and how long the feeding lasted. I used the app to track my pumping sessions, how much I pumped and then how many ounces of breast milk and supplemental formula my little guy drank. But……while using this app, my obsessive like tendencies began to get the best of me! I was on this app so much, my thumbs were giving me guilt trips! HA! I would check this app repeatedly. Most of the time it was to see how long it was going to be until James’s next feeding but I also used it to see when his last BM was, because yes, this is something new moms sometimes obsess over too! This app also facilitated my obsession with how many ounces James was getting each day. OH! And it also takes the data you input and puts it in a graph!! The Type A nurse in me LOVED this! Sadly, the battery life on my phone did not! But it was still great to keep track of feedings and dirty diapers because the truth is, it’s important! But don’t get to the point where you are staring down at the screen on your phone more than you are your sweet little one’s precious tiny face.
Watching Everyone Like a Hawk that Holds My Baby
Now I don’t know about how you were/ are with your little ones, but when James was a newborn I watched everyone that held him like a hawk! I would make it natural you know…not like I was staring or anything…heh…at least I didn’t think I was staring. No one was creeped out that I’m aware of! LOL! But my biggest thing was how whoever was holding James at the moment would position him. When he was little it was all about supporting his head. I also hated it when one arm would kind of dangle and look like it was twisted around behind him. I don’t know if you can picture what I am talking about, but if you are like me at all then I think you probably know EXACTLY what I am talking about. I also hated it if I did not feel like they were holding him securely. So if that was the case I was right there beside them. (Am I a baby holder stalker…..yes, yes I am). Then of course James always had to be in my line of sight. If James was not in my field of vision, panic would set in and I would make an excuse to get up to go find HIM. I mean, you never know what a newborn could be getting into! He could be sticking a fork in the toaster or getting into the adult beverages or something! Babies are WILD!!!! Haha!
Now that James is older, I don’t do this nearly as often and I have learned to be more trusting when James is being held by someone other than his immediate family. He is a very robust child, very solid so usually I get him back in a decent amount of time anyways because he’s so heavy. Which puts this mom right here at ease!
Obsess Over My Milk Supply
When I started exclusively pumping I obsessed over every single drop of milk I pumped out. At first, when James was younger and not consuming as much, I was able to supply most of his meals. But as time went on the ration began to even out. 75% breast milk in a day changed to 50% breast milk in a day. That was when panic set in. I searched the far depths of Pinterest to find ways to boost my milk supply. I tried supplements, shakes, oat meal and bookies. I tried increasing my water intake (which I wasn’t very good at) and increasing my caloric intake. Some strategies produced a return but nothing I considered significant. But I would constantly check my output (which I tracked with my Feed Baby app) and compare it to the previous day’s to see which direction I was heading.
Now James maybe gets 25% breast milk a day. I still try, but I’ve not been too aggressive with it. He is 6 months old and I feel that getting breast milk from mommy for 6 months is a great achievement. I’m proud I have made it this long, especially with mommy working full time.
As mothers, it is perfectly normal to get a little obsessive from time to time. Honestly, I think it would almost be abnormal if we didn’t! Just try not to let it consume you to the point that you worry so much you’re missing out on the important things, like enjoying every moment you can with your little one while they are small. Take control of what you can. Worrying about things you cannot control is exhausting and can be unhealthy! Be a watchful mom, a mindful mom, a persistent mom, a kind, loving, caring mom. Try not to be the obsessive, worrisome mom. These precious early years with your little one will fly by. Relax and enjoy them! 🙂