Question for New Parents - FamilyEducation
Question for New Parents
07/28/2008 at 17:09 PM


I am doing a research project for a Growth & Development class. My question is for new parents: what were you least prepared to deal with in meeting your infants needs and what coping strategies have you adopted as a result?

Would love to hear about your experiences!

Thanks so much!


I had a lot of babysiting experience before I had kids of my own, but I never bathed a baby, so I was a little nervous about the bath. In that case, we used an infant tub and very lightly washed our son w/ a washcloth, so as not to get the umbilical cord and circumcision wet. I was also a bit nervous at bedtime, as my son loved to sleep on his belly. We were told to put him on his back, but once he learned to roll over, we'd find him on his belly again. We found a support for the crib, which was basically these wedges that sat on either side of the baby, to keep him from rolling over at night. These helped for a while.

We were so prepared. We both read “what to expect when you’re expecting” and “What to expect the first year”. We took a birthing class together. We had the bottles, the pump, blankets, diapers…you get the idea we were prepared. Until we arrived home. We looked at each other and kind of went “what now?”. The first night we both slept on top of the covers, our heads at the foot of the bed, and each of us with a hand in the bassinette. Neither of us wanted to say it, but we both kept checking to make sure he was breathing. Most everything you buy comes with instructions, and is to an extent replaceable. Here we have no instructions, and cannot believe they trusted us enough to let us take him home. We coped with our fear by harassing the on call nurse with questions at all hours of the night. That was so scary, but I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world. The best were getting up for the late night feedings. My wife at the time would rock him while she fed him, and I would sit and listen to him breath and coo. I still remember those precious hands always searching for something new to touch. Wow, what memories. This was therapeutic.

I was also unprepared for the fear that came along with being a parent. I couldn't sleep at all worrying about if she was still breathing. I was also unprepared for post-partem recovery and depression. Not everyone has to deal with these issues, but I wish they'd told me so I recognized that I was depressed. For dealing with the fear, I had to just learn to trust that I would know if something was wrong. For me I had to put my trust in God. As for the depression, I didn't cope with it well. I was lucky in that I had a lot of support from family and my husband was so wonderful about everything. It wasn't until I had my second child that I realized what had really happened. The difference between the 2 experiences was like night and day. I have since focused on creating a very strong bond with both children.

i really had to adapt to the sleepless nights. oh my gosh you don't realize how much you cherish sleep until you don't get any. definitely take shifts my husband and i designated certain nights we would get up with her... cholic didn't help but that gas stuff from walmart was a great help. i guess that you just really have to work as a team and if you don't have that spouse to lean on then definitely find someone to help you. its hard raising an infant and you have to have help it doesn't hurt to ask for that. and it doesn't hurt to ask of a night off. this is the most important thing. mom and dad do need breaks so call grandma pack the kids overnight bag and send them on their way. you wont get a great night sleep because you are always used to the little one being there, but it does help relieve some stress. and also learn how to handle stress most important i advise going somewhere that has a hot tub and a punching bag. man its amazing how much frustration you can get rid of and how relaxing a hot bath is without the calling of the "m" word. dont worry sometimes you have to be selfish its ok we all need our alone times...its important to keep those if not we will get lost and eventually won't know which end is up or down.

i agree with fear... my in laws bought us this great little monitor that not only would allow us to hear her when she woke up but it also detected her breathing and if she even moved off of where the pad was under her mattress an alarm would sound.. talk about fear that is nothing like that sound. but it helped me not to worry so much about her when she was asleep. its called an angel monitor you can get them online at or at toysrus.

I agree with fear, fear of things not in my control such as the baby stops breathing. My husband and I had infant CPR training and that was a great idea. It proved to me in a choking incident that I did know how to react in a scary situation. Still, fear lingered. My sons are now 3 and 5 and the fears are pretty much gone, except fear of the ER!!! Lots of close calls with two little boys. Good luck with your research/project. Christy