Challenges of being a new mom: Information overload

Sad mom with a baby in front of a computer

When I became pregnant with my first son in November 2013, I was ecstatic. My husband and I were so excited to have children and grow our little family. I immediately signed up for different websites that would update me each week of the pregnancy. I read lots of little blog posts and snippets of information to prepare for this change in my life and my husband’s life. Who doesn’t love knowing which piece of produce their baby is like this week? After only a few weeks of this though, I pretty much gave up reading all the articles and advice pieces for pregnant women and new mothers.

In this age of information where everything is available at our fingertips, it’s hard to sort out which information is the good information. I was reading a lot of things that seemed silly, or even wrong. Right away, I was seeing how sometimes too much information can be overwhelming and stressful. A simple search for why your newborn is running a temperature can turn up all sorts of results that can panic even the calmest person. So many of the things I read left me wondering how the human race survived up to this point if every symptom could spell doom, but at the same time that left me comforted because we have survived! All my ancestors before me figured it out without the internet, so I could probably manage.

I am lucky to have something that my internet-less ancestors had too, a tribe of sorts. I have a close family who is always there to help (and offer tried and true advice), great friends who are experiencing or have experienced the same things, and a supportive spouse who loves me through it all! My “tribe” helps tremendously, but even for those women who don’t have the same support that I might, what do we have that can help us with the information overload? Since I clearly don’t like too much information to overwhelm you, I only have two things to share:

First, try to understand what your gut feeling is telling you. We are biologically programmed to want to keep our babies alive and well and loved. New moms with their crazy hormones and under-eye bags are more powerful than they might think. For example, when we first brought our son home from the hospital, we were surprised at all the strange noises he made in his sleep. Is he still breathing, is he choking, does he need a new diaper since his last change 5 minutes ago? It didn’t take long to understand what those little noises meant. I could even know, by the sound of the cry, why my baby was crying (99% chance it’s a wanting-to-nurse-cry).

Second, and finally, when in doubt, call your pediatrician. You trust your pediatrician (if you don’t, get a new one!), that’s probably one of the reasons you picked them! Any lengthy internet search you do that turns up inconclusive will inevitably lead to you calling your pediatrician. Sometimes you just need to cut out the middleman and call the person you trust (who conveniently has a medical degree and specialized knowledge).

So mamas, trust yourself, rest if you can, and enjoy knowing you are enough for your baby.

--Ruthie---

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