Struggling with new parent anxiety!

(21 Posts)
LondonStill83 Wed 21-Sep-16 21:18:27

After a difficult pregnancy my beautiful son was born 12 days ago at 35+5. He spent 11 days in NICU and is now home.

The problem is that I am so anxious about everything, mostly worried that something bad will happen to him, eg, suffocating, the cat jumping into his Moses basket, overheating, SIDS, etc.

We have bought a breathing monitor but obviously that won't help if the cat jumps in! I also have a cat net for the Moses basket, and a grow egg, and a thermometer, and both DH and I are responsible people with huge common sense!

How do I get over the fact that there are risks and we have mitigated as best possible and just enjoy my beautiful baby?!

rogue87 Wed 21-Sep-16 22:04:55

Congratulations on your new baby.
I have also been struggling with anxiety since my DD was born.
9 weeks on and I'm finally starting to relax with support from my HV and constant reassurance from OH, family and friends.
Its understandable that after a difficult pregnancy you would be anxious and worried about your little one.
Have you discussed your worries with your HV?
Talking has really helped me.
It sounds like you have done everything you can to reduce any risks.
Just take each day as it comes and have plenty of cuddles with your little one flowers

Acopyofacopy Wed 21-Sep-16 22:09:14

You have just had the biggest turmoil possible in your life, so be kind to yourself. You have got a precious new baby and every right to feel anxious.
I was the same and my lovely, straight talking midwife pointed out that babies are really hard to break. All manner of idiots people manage to bring them up somehow. You are a sensible person and you will do what is right for you and your baby flowers

Pumpkin2010 Wed 21-Sep-16 22:23:25

I have 3 children. My youngest being 9 months, eldest is 11. I worry a lot! Today has been particularly worrying as the baby is a little under the weather and now my eldest has been upset this evening too, saying he feels unwell.

Since having my youngest my anxiety seems to have shot through the roof. I have literally been to the GP about 15 (maybe more) times since having him confused for people who know me this is very unlike me. He has had some issues but nothing serious, but all new to me as older 2 didn't have any health issues really.

I do think that sleep deprivation plays a massive part in it! And obviously your baby is so new, that you're bound to be worried you're doing things right (you sound like you're doing an amazing job btw).

As you get more confident with things and your baby gets older, the anxiety and worry about the things you've mentioned does ease. I also think with you having your baby a little earlier than expected has probably thrown you a little, and the worry when they're on NICU can be hard.

My advice would be accept help & sleep when you can (seriously sleep deprivation is at the root of everything!), and tell people how you're feeling. Congratulations btw flowers

LondonStill83 Thu 22-Sep-16 01:08:29

Thank you all for not making me feel nuts. I feel guilty for complaining even because I know how lucky I am- he was only in NICU for 11 days and rocketed through all the milestones he needed to pass to come home with us. DH is currently doing the night shift so I can rest as I have been feeling a bit dizzy all day (midwife thinks they have treated my pre-eclampsia TOO well so BP has now dropped too far!), and family and friends are supportive. Plus because he was early and out of NICU we got offered to sign up to this MECH programme which means we have a HV come once per week for talk and walk etc, which will do wonders for my anxiety. So I feel really lucky!

But he has a heart murmur and needs a few follow on blood tests etc- and even though it sounds awful, I just never expected to love anything so much that my thoughts are consumed with keeping him safe! It's like a physical ache.

I do think sleep will help. In total I / we were in hospital for 22 days and so really I haven't rested or been in my own environment until yesterday, and already I do feel more secure!

Thanks to all of you who shares your experiences too- it sounds like we are all doing great and are just worried.

EstelleRoberts Thu 22-Sep-16 01:23:36

I think it's very common and normal to find anxiety goes into overdrive after birth. I always think of it as nature's way of making us look after our newborn properly. As you had pre-eclampsia and your little one was in the NICU, plus with his heart murmur, it is perfectly understandable that you are anxious. It should get better as time goes on and he gets bigger and stronger.

LondonStill83 Thu 22-Sep-16 11:43:29

Yes, I think you are right. I have anxiety anyway which I normally manage well enough, but I think the combination of hormones, an incredibly difficult pregnancy (pre-eclampsia was just the icing on the cake!), and him being so vulnerable in NICU has led me down the danger path to internal torture!

A few questions:

1) if anyone has a cat, how do you ensure it doesn't jump into Moses basket (and suffocate baby?!)

2) the baby seems cold at night but I know fleece blankets are a no no. Are fleece sleep suits okay?

I now have a breathing / sleep apnea monitor so that has given me unbelievable peace of mind! If he stops breathing or gets caught at all the monitor will go off- thank god for modern technology!

TopsyZZZ Thu 22-Sep-16 13:44:24

I have a cat and a 4 month old. The cat is simply not left in the same room as baby alone. At night he is locked out of the bedroom, much to his displeasure, the first night he slept on my nicely laundered towel pile instead!... To this day he has never yet shown any interest in baby, although he will still always be supervised until she is old enough to alert us, which will be a while yet.

Savannah13nbump Thu 22-Sep-16 16:04:23

I can totally understand what you are going through although I did not have any complications neither did my dd however she had a choking episode at 1 week old and it terrified me, my anxiety was horrendous, I then didn't sleep for the next 5 months even having a breathing monitor my dd was in my arms where I could see her for 20 hours a day the other four my oh would have her and I would try and sleep, for me it only got better when oh gave up work and started doing night shifts, she is now a beautiful 3 year old, I was dreading going through all that again when my ds was born 6 weeks ago but this time completely different when he sleeps I do, looking back I wish I had relaxed more and spent the time enjoying her growing up, the breathing monitor will go off as soon as anything happens so try and relax even for a bit more each day, we have two cats and non of them ever bothered going near Moses basket but were always locked out of room if we were sleeping

LondonStill83 Fri 23-Sep-16 00:51:48

Thank you both so much. Yes, DH and I chatted today and have moved the cat flap so the cat can't get into the bedroom at night. So far the cat is disinterested in the baby and but interested in the Moses basket!

Also, yes, I am trying more and more to relax. Every day is easier. But I don't want to ruin his infant days which are so short just through anxiety!!' Seems such a waste of these precious moments!

Atenco Fri 23-Sep-16 02:03:46

I know that anxiety. I stayed with my MIL for three weeks after the birth and then my mother came and stayed with me for another two weeks. I literally wet myself when my mum left. Then, in the days before breathing monitors, I had spent ages getting to the baby to sleep and five minutes later was sure she wasn't breathing and woke her up! That was when I remembered John Wayne and holding a mirror to her mouth.

Oh, and I forgot, my dd had a temperature when she was about a week old and called the doctor in a panic. Turned out I had put too many blankets on her.

But just to reassure you a bit. I was living in Mexico City when it was hit by a major earthquake and, among other things, the maternity hospital fell down. They still pulled live babies out of the rubble two weeks later, so they are not really as delicate as we feel they are.

DoodleCat Fri 23-Sep-16 02:12:23

Totally normal to worry. Make sure you don't bottle it up, glad you've got HV support.

Just wanted to say that I researched cats and suffocation before my first baby. There have actually been no confirmed cases of babies being suffocated by cats. That's not too say don't lock the car out, but just to reassure you a little on that point.

DoodleCat Fri 23-Sep-16 02:12:54

Car = cat...

SpareASquare Fri 23-Sep-16 02:44:06

Congratulations. Great that you are taking steps to learn to relax and enjoy your baby smile

The whole 'cat will suffocate baby' thing is a myth btw. It just doesn't happen.

SmallBee Fri 23-Sep-16 03:31:09

Congratulations on your new baby flowers

I was also very anxious when DD was born and she was a full term baby who didn't need nicu so don't worry, I think it's very normal to be anxious. Just make sure you really use all the help and support offered and MN is actually a brilliant resource for this, especially when everyone else is asleep. As long as you remember our opinions aren't medically informed ones!

Ww had a cat when DD was born. DD was NEVER out of my sight during the day and at night ww kept the cat from coming upstairs so he couldn't get anywhere near her. Didn't bother with a cat net as I never left her alone. (when you need the loo you can put a bouncy chair in their and pop her in it, or DH used to pop her in the bathseat)

The gro company website gives excellent guidelines on how to dress your baby for the right temperature, even when they are too small for sleeping bags I believe, although I'm not sure if it is different for prem babies? Just remember with blankets that each fold counts as an extra layer.

Finally just remember if there's a correct way to do something, the hv will tell you. Otherwise it's all just different opinions, trial and error. So don't sweat the small stuff, do what works best for you and enjoy your gorgeous baby.

LondonStill83 Fri 23-Sep-16 03:44:54

Thank you all so much! I can't tell you how helpful this all is- thank goodness for mumsnet.

I do leave him in the lounge alone but close the door and use the monitor so I can hear / see him but the cat can't get in and I can get on with things.

Also with the temperature, I am calming down a bit. Spent two nights checking temperature with ear thermometer and then comparing against his chest, so am happy that we have a good system now. He needs way more blankets then normal as he's so tiny! Still only about 4,5lb!

SmallBee Fri 23-Sep-16 03:49:37

Ah that must be do nice. Our old house was completely open plan downstairs so I could never leave DD alone and get anything done, that would have been the ultimate luxury!

Quodlibet Fri 23-Sep-16 04:28:06

The cat isn't going to suffocate your baby, but if you don't want it thinking the Moses basket is a nice place to sleep put a sheet of tin foil in there when not in use. Cats hate foil.

LondonStill83 Fri 23-Sep-16 08:40:06

Quodlibet- that is genius! Thank you!

PhoenixRisingSlowly Sat 24-Sep-16 13:42:12

I loved Gro bags for mine (he is 8 now! Argh!) as I didn't have to worry too much as I knew he had the right tog rating etc etc and we had a gro egg too for room temp.

Becoming a parent is scarily hard. It's just... nothing prepares you. And you've only been home from the hospital with him for a few days. It's like being a few days into the biggest career change ever, in a new job where you have no boss telling you want to do and yet everything is riding on what you do. Oh, and you are woken up lots AND expected to be super happy, blissed out, glowing and in a puddle of love and happiness.
It's a tall order grin. And no you're not mad.

I was really anxious after my DS was born. I think for me it was a touch of PND but equally it can often be about adjusting to the role and demands of motherhood for the first time. But I can't stress enough how normal it is to feel like this. MN saved my life in those early weeks and months. Just knowing that others were going through the same, that it was reasonable and even expected to feel the way I was feeling. I no longer felt alone and that was marvellous. Just keep asking questions and someone will be along with a calming answer. Oh and if you want to and it helps, try wearing your baby in a wrap sling so you can potter and not worry about them as much. Also have lots of skin to skin, either in the bath or just in bed, put a nappy on the baby if you don't want to get weed or pooed on, it will still be amazingly helpful. This is the thing I wish most I had done more - I was so anxious I couldn't stop pacing about and I wish I'd had a babymoon and spent more time in bed chilling and sleeping. I think I was homesick for normality iyswim. For my old life.
Anyway I've rambled on. But your post struck a chord with me. I hope you are enjoying settling back into you new rhythm and routine with your little one.

couchtofivek Sun 25-Sep-16 14:46:38

Just want to add, your oestrogen and progesterone fall off a cliff after giving birth. Low levels of both can lead to anxiety, sometimes the anxiety is biological and no amount of reassurance or "just relaxing" helps! Usually this massive drop in hormones sorts itself out relatively quickly.

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