Thursday, May 16, 2019

Can We Be Too Cautious Over Our Baby?

This post is in collaboration.

As if it's not saying the obvious, being a parent comes with its fair share of anxieties. But what does this really mean for us as parents? Does it mean that we won't ever get a good night's sleep ever again, either due to problems with our kids' sleep, or the fact that we just lay awake worrying all the time? Or is it something that calms down over time? When we have our baby, naturally, we can be protective, (after all, it is our mother instinct) but at what point are we being too cautious? And is this the downfall of our parental skills? After all, we're doing our best to look after our children, at what point does it become overkill? And are there any suitable examples during the life of a baby that highlights just how overly cautious we can be?
Knowing The Difference Between A Real Emergency And What Is Not
In the beginning, everything can seem like an emergency, like it is life or death. And while there's nothing wrong with the fact that we are worried, but we've got to weigh it up. There can be issues within the first few months that need to be brought up with a pediatrician, but on the other hand, if the baby is gassy, or spits up a lot, these aren't a cause for concern. But what we need to do is differentiate between what is a real emergency, and what can be solved with baby paracetamol. There are plenty of resources out there for us so we know what we're in for, and it's our responsibility to know the difference. It can be very concerning at the beginning because we don't know the signs, and naturally, we'd rather be overly cautious than under cautious, but we need to find that fine line. You can learn from other parents that have been through this, but they will all tell you that your baby is different. And after all, if you feel that something isn't right, then it's better to get it checked out. But there are common issues that can happen within the first 6 to 12 months that aren’t a cause for concern, but there are as many that are.
We Need To Not Overreact
Yes, it is easier said than done. But our emotions can most definitely get the better of us when in a stressful situation. When we lack in sleep, and our emotions are haywire, it's very easy for us to overreact. After all, every little thing can spark concern, and this can keep us awake at night with that worry. And unfortunately, that worry is something that doesn't really go away during the first year. But what we can do for the sake of our sanity is to learn some coping strategies. It can take a long time for your baby to get into a sleeping routine, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to practice coping strategies. While it's not easy to sit cross-legged and meditate when you've got a screaming baby, you can certainly learn how to calm yourself down in these overly stressful situations.
Think about it with a sense of perspective. If your baby is upset, but you're feeling stressed out, you may need to step away from the situation just for 5 minutes. But you're feeling particularly frazzled, just step away just so you can breathe, only as long as you know that the baby is okay. Having a coping strategy is vital. Even before the baby comes along, you will have learned how to cope with pain, and live with numerous ailments, but now the baby has come along, this sense of protection, coupled with anxiety, and the feeling that it doesn't seem to let up can be very overwhelming. It's easy to say "don't overreact" because your emotions still do a good job of obstructing your logical thoughts, but it's a very useful piece of information, especially when our babies are so delicate.
Learning What Our Over Parenting Does To Our Child
In the grand scheme of things, being overcautious can lead to over parenting. And this can have various negative effects. It's easy for us to protect our children because it's built into us, but there is a limit. There is going to be a time when your baby will want to start walking, and you will encourage this, but when they start to get more confident and start to climb over anything and everything, where their safety is compromised, this is when overly protective parent springs into action. All the parenting is something we don't feel that we're doing because it's coming from a good place. We're doing it for our children, not ourselves.
But we can run the risk of wrapping our children in cotton wool so much that they won't ever develop their own sense of resilience. As such, they will rely on us for everything, and we shouldn't be surprised when they have confidence issues, or even depression and anxiety. What has this got to do with your baby? Well, it's to do with you. This is the very perfect opportunity to practice not over parenting. What you can do with your baby is nurture, and spend quality time with them, but when they're looking to explore something, be there ready should something happen, but at least give them that opportunity to explore in the first place. It's far easier for us to say "no" or "don't" and we've got to be aware when these become the first words out of our mouths because this becomes a habit that's very difficult to break. By all means, be protective, but understand when you are getting in the way.
Give It Time (It Becomes Easier!)
Because this very delicate thing has come into the world, we feel that we have got to protect it with all our might. As such, we worry, and overly so. But there's a difference between worrying, and letting it consume us. It does become easier over time because as a new parent, you're finding your feet. And it’s natural to feel that you want to do everything right. But we all make mistakes, and what's important is that we don't beat ourselves up over this. As we learn what our baby needs from us down the line, all we can do, especially during those early couple of months, is muddle through. A pattern can take time to form, even in terms of their sleeping or eating, and as such this erratic sense of survival can feel very stressful.

In one respect, you can look at it very simply. If they are hungry, feed them; if they've had an accident, you change them. But even at the very beginning, this can feel like a mammoth task. But we have to remember that our baby’s needs are simple at the beginning, it's only when they get older that it becomes more complex. The first couple of months are difficult, but they are also incredibly exciting. This little thing that you hold in your arms, despite the fact you've barely slept, makes life feel worthwhile. And this precious little baby becomes something we would give everything for. At the very beginning, it makes sense to focus on the simple things, because they won't get any simpler.
And in this respect, why should we be too anxious? We can be overly cautious, but if we do enough background reading, but also trust our instincts, this provides a very strong combination. This is something that we can all greatly underestimate, trusting our instincts. After all, it is your child. If something feels wrong, do something about it.

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