Becoming a parent can be quite challenging especially at young age, with lot of commitments and responsibilities to be carry on. For women, going through pregnancy, labor and delivery for first time might be a mind blown you might feel like you have no idea what you’re doing! Every country has their own culture on parenting style as well as Malaysia.
We will discuss what people fear most in becoming a parent and how to handle those fears.
1. I’m afraid that I will handle my baby wrong and accidently hurt my baby.
Your baby will probably be able to lift her head when she’s about a month old, and hold it up when placed in a sitting position at around 4 months (babycentre.com). Her neck muscles and head control should be strong and steady by 6 months. That’s why no wonder so many new parents are nervous about holding their oh-so-tiny newborns.
What you can do is that just be sure to help support the head and neck whenever you’re holding your babe upright, or do a cradle hold. (And if you’re really unsure, ask a nurse to give you a quick tutorial before you leave the hospital!)
You might also worry that you will feed your baby with unsuitable foods as there are many baby foods in the market nowadays. Your baby digestive system is not accustomed to ingesting anything other than what was delivered to him through the placenta. Your baby’s digestive system is not fully mature and is not ready for solid foods until he is around six months of age.
Don’t worry, you should also know that your baby’s stomach is very small (approximately the size of a marble). Therefore, breastfeeding is the best choice. Breast milk is biologically designed to be high in fat during the first few weeks of your baby’s life. This is to ensure that your baby receives enough calories to pack on the pounds. The World Health Organization recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months, then gradually introduced to appropriate family foods after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond.
2. Lack of sleep and become too emotional / depression.
This issue might effects women a lot. The participation of Malaysian women in employment sector is increased to 54.3% in 2017 (Jaafar and Sazili, 2017). Therefore, a young working mother might face a problem in time management to take care of her child. Working at daytime and stay up at night can be exhausting. We might not see the effects in a short term, however, being too tired mentally and physically may lead to stress and might cause a serious problem. Last year we are surprised with the news of a mother who killed her children because of depression. You can read the full article here https://www.pressreader.com . This is a scary reality that caused early marriage couple hesitated or afraid to have a baby.
Well, you still have to overcome the fear anyway. What you can do is assess your time. Look closely at how you spend your time. Experts say that most people spend up to an hour a day on tasks that could be put on hold or completely eliminated from their schedule. You are also allowed to ask for help. You don’t have to be Supermom and do everything yourself. Recruit other resources when you’re running short on time (and sanity). Consider bartering with another mom; she can run some errands for you one day and you can watch her son for two hours another day. Husbands, you also play important role in this matter. Take care of your wife, ask her what is wrong and what she needs. You are your wife’s close friend. Be a gentleman!
3. What if my newborn baby is not healthy?
Some parent might fear if something goes wrong with their newborn either physically imperfect or mentally impaired. A study in New York by Reuters Health concludes that women exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to experience a stillbirth or have babies with birth defects. This is a serious problem faced by Malaysian as 23% of Malaysia’s populations are smokers. Stillbirth, in which the fetus dies during the second half of the pregnancy, was 23 percent more common and birth defects were 13 percent more common among women who lived or worked with smokers.
Not only that, some researchers believe that too much caffeine can contribute to the risk of getting a baby with low birth weight, or increasing the risk of miscarriage. I believe that as Malaysian, tea and coffee is common drink regardless the meal time.
Therefore, it is better for moms to reduce caffeine intake and put a distance with active smokers for the sake of their health and for their baby’s health. Also, advised to the husbands to stop smoking. Start a healthy life style together, not only for the sake of your health, but also it can strengthen your relationships with your spouse. Remember that prevention is better than cure!
4. Community mentality
You might face this common problem as Malaysian. “No, you hold your baby wrong”, “you should do this”, “you should do that”, “your baby is hungry” will somehow make you feel guilty and not sure what to do or who to trust.
You can take their advice but not all the time. Do it your way.
“The best advice I can give for those new parents on the receiving end of unwanted advice is to smile sweetly, nod politely and go and do things exactly how you want to. Mum knows best” – Mandy
“When my first child was born a friend gave me a warning: Everyone, including complete strangers, will give you advice (or “instructions” because they expect you to obey them) and they will be offended if you don’t accept their advice. His advice was the best I every received: Never argue – smile and say, “That is very interesting.” Then ignore the advice unless I actually agree with it. (Do not ignore the advice of a doctor or other health professional!) He was right. Never let other people bother you, or make you feel like a poor parent.” – Michel Hey