Before I had my daughter, I had envisioned the type of mother that I thought I would be: laid back, easy-going, and cool as a cucumber. After years of spending time with friends and family members who were knee deep into raising children, we often had plans thwarted for any number of baby-related reasons. I would see the anxiety in my sister’s eyes as she reluctantly handed her child over to me to babysit while she listed off a dozen things that I needed to be aware of. Before each of her kids was born she told me to get my flu shot and whooping cough vaccines, which I did but wasn’t entirely sure as to why I needed to. There were numerous friends opting to miss a concert or some other fun event because their one trusted sitter wasn’t available. As a woman in her 30’s without kids, all of this seemed very foreign to me and I wondered how much of it was necessary. Now as a first time mom, I see that all of it was entirely necessary, and am amazed that I can look back now and think how relaxed everybody else managed to be.
Throughout the pregnancy, my husband and I naively talked about all the things we would continue to do once the baby was here. We wouldn’t be the parents that needed to be on a schedule, our little family of three would go with the flow and we would keep doing the fun things we always had! Things changed when my daughter was 3 weeks old and contracted RSV, which left her incredibly ill for two weeks, one of which was in the hospital. I had never been more scared in my entire life while watching her struggle to breathe hooked up to several machines. After this happened, I’m absolutely fine with being the neurotic mother that I never wanted to be. In fact, I embrace the newfound neurosis and paranoia that surrounds caring for my baby. Leaving the house now is contingent on the weather, who we will be seeing and if they have the slightest hint of a sniffle, if they’ve had their vaccines, if she has had a nap, if she has eaten, if she is fussy, if she is happy, and on and on.
My sister, the mother of two that I once scoffed at for being nervous to leave her baby with me, now I’ve become the basket case leaving my child with her for an hour. Right now I can’t even fathom the idea of a sitter who is not a family member.
It’s a frightening thing to be a new parent, but there are ways to help make it easier and safer for your little one. Even if it’s not cold and flu season, still be just as cautious as if it were!
- Limit baby’s exposure to other people within those first couple of months
- Don’t worry about asking people to wash their hands when they come into your home, and wash your own often
- Don’t be afraid about asking those close to you that will be around baby if they’ve had their vaccines…they will understand
- It’s OK to cancel plans!
- Keep nursing, it provides your baby antibodies
- Wear your baby when out in public, it keeps them close and others away from them. A carrier is one of the best investments a mom can make!
Lisa is a breastfeeding, baby wearing, stay-at-home mom of a 6-week old baby girl. She loves running, yoga, video games, craft beer and hopes to one day see those things again when the new mommy fog lifts!