Calming Your New-Mom Fears
Nervous about motherhood? You’re not alone. Here’s how you can overcome common new-mom fears and anxieties
It’s completely normal to feel nervous about motherhood, especially with so much uncertainty in the world. With all the new experiences that come with pregnancy and preparing for your baby to arrive, new moms have a lot to navigate. To give you some peace of mind, we’ve rounded up tried-and-true advice and solutions to common first-time mom fears.
1. What do I do if I’m scared of having a baby?
If fears about giving birth are keeping you up at night, it may help to go into the experience with a little more preparation. Developing a birth plan and a breastfeeding plan with your obstetrician or midwife may help you mentally prepare for delivery day and note your goals all in one place. Be sure to go over these plans with your partner or another family member who will be present during the delivery. You may also want to consider enlisting the services of a doula. These professionals provide emotional and physical support during birth and the postpartum period to moms and families. With doctors going in and out of the delivery room while you’re in labor, it can help to have a professional who is constantly at your side, ready to advocate for you and reassure you when you need it.
If you’re still experiencing anxiety about giving birth, remember, women have been delivering babies since before hospitals existed. Share your worries with your healthcare provider, therapist or closest mom friend, and try focusing on all the things that can go right, like your new baby blinking up at you for the first time.
2. What should I put on my baby registry?
Some of the items you will need as a new parent include: an infant carrier, a car seat, a beside-the-bed bassinet and a baby monitor as well as newborn clothing, burp cloths, bibs and diapers. Take a look at our top baby-registry picks and this list of our favorite breastfeeding supplies for more ideas. Remember, because you can get your breast pump covered by insurance, there’s no need to add one to your registry—unless you want an extra so you can leave one at home and one at work (or anywhere else you might be pumping regularly).
3. What if the baby comes before I have everything ready?
Sometimes babies surprise us! If you don’t have everything ready when labor begins, don’t stress. Ask a friend or family member to help shop for last-minute baby items or assemble nursery furniture. Enlist a helper to install the infant car seat after delivery so you can bring the baby home. While nesting is a real thing, all that washing and organizing and prepping doesn’t have to happen before your baby’s born. And for anything you really need at the last minute once you’re home, there’s always pickup at Target, Walmart and Buy Buy Baby.
4. What if breastfeeding is hard?
Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. If you are committed to nursing your baby, there are lots of resources available to make sure you feel supported along the way.
Our best piece of advice for calming this fear: schedule a consultation with a lactation expert who can troubleshoot any breastfeeding issues, do a weighted feed to assure you that your baby is getting enough milk, show you different nursing positions and help you get your pump set up and teach you how to use it. These experts can also answer any other questions you have about breastfeeding and provide extra support. And if you need to supplement or switch to formula, let go of any mom guilt. You’re taking care of your baby and that makes you an amazing mom.
5. What is the best breast pump for me?
To start, take our quiz to find what kind of breast pump best fits your needs and lifestyle. Will you be pumping at work or at home? Do you plan to pump exclusively? Do you prefer a subtle, quiet option that you can use on the go? Then, read about some of the best breast pump options for stay-at-home moms, working moms and more.
Most insurance plans cover the cost of our breast pumps, meaning you can get a breast pump at no cost to you. Our team will take care of the whole process—from checking your insurance coverage and getting any necessary info from your doctor to delivering the pump to your door. We can also help get you any pumping accessories you’ll need. Take a look at some of our favorite insurance-covered options or learn more about which breast pumps work well for moms who stay home, moms who work full-time outside the home and every mom in between.
6. What if my relationship changes after the baby comes?
As with any big life change, having a baby can impact your relationship with your partner—in both good and bad ways. It can be incredible to see your significant other take on their new role as a parent. Enlisting your partner’s support and sharing the responsibilities when you’re breastfeeding also helps both parents be involved from the start.
Of course, in the midst of sleep deprivation and figuring out your newborn, it’s not always easy. Give each other grace, work as a team and know you’ll sometimes have different ideas on parenting. To keep your relationship strong, schedule time together—quality time at home, date nights, even sex. Small gestures, like snuggling, a smile, a hug or just talking about things other than the baby also go a long way.
7. What if I miss my life before becoming a mom?
Becoming a mom is a huge life change in so many ways, big and small. From bringing a new member of your family home to learning new routines to adjusting to and managing the changes in your own body, there’s a lot to get used to and figure out. Asking for the support you need from your partner, friends and family during those first few weeks with your newborn will help you adjust to being a mom. You’ll likely enjoy this special bonding time too. While there may be moments you miss how things used to be, once you have your new baby in your arms, you’ll see the whole world and your place in it differently.
Keep in mind that hormone fluctuations may contribute to feelings of sadness, known as the baby blues, during the first two weeks after birth. It’s completely normal–even common—and should pass on its own. However, if you find yourself struggling or facing signs of prenatal or postpartum depression and anxiety, there’s no shame in asking for help. Having a baby causes big hormonal changes in your body that can sometimes affect mood. Talk to your partner about your feelings and make plans together. Then, give your insurance provider a call to ask for guidance about postpartum mental health services so they can help you select an in-network provider, whether a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or something else. Explore your options and make getting the support you need a top priority.
8. What if I don’t love my postpartum body?
It takes more than a few weeks for your body to recover from pregnancy and delivery—and during that time, it’s important to let your body heal. It took nine months for you to grow a whole human, so expect that changes may take some time. Your body may be different but it’s still amazing, powerful and worthy of grace. If you are breastfeeding, focus on eating nutritious foods and drinking lots of water as your body works hard to produce breast milk for your little one.
When you’re ready for exercise, start small and ease into it. If you used to hit the gym regularly, remember to take it slow when building up to a familiar routine. Taking a postnatal fitness class in person or online or joining a group of new moms with similar goals may help you develop an exercise plan that’s healthy for postpartum moms. A final tip on this front: Focus on the positives.
9. How do I know I’m doing the right thing?
We’ll let you in on a secret: no mom knows what she’s doing all the time. We all push past new-mom anxiety and just do our best. No matter how much you read about parenting or talk to other parents, motherhood is still a learning process. Discuss your fears with your partner, friends or family. Let go of the pressure to do, know and be everything.
Also remember that what works for one family may not work for yours. Resist the urge to compare yourself to other moms, especially those whose Instagram accounts make motherhood look like a breeze. Instead, you should give yourself more credit and trust your instincts—you know your baby best. And don’t forget to celebrate your wins. Those little (or big) moments will help you get through the uncertain ones. As you grow into the role of being a mom, you’ll gain more confidence as you go—and you’ll find that many of your biggest fears won’t even come to fruition.
At The Lactation Network, we provide moms with insurance-covered breast pumps and accessories. Looking for more real mom advice? Check out our blog for more tips for expecting moms on breastfeeding, pumping, creating a breastfeeding plan and more.
Updated October 2020