Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Selective Paranoia

It's funny what I fret about. I'm terrified of snakes but have no problem with spiders or other bugs. I'm nervous on bridges but okay with heights so long as they're over land.

During my pregnancy, I worried about it being ectopic until I saw that first ultrasound, and I feared the possibility of a prolapsed cord in the final days. Other potential complications, though--ones with a higher statistical probability--I barely gave a second thought.

Now as the mother of an infant, I am bombarded by messages of what is good and bad for a child, what is life-threatening and what is crucial to development. Some mothers, I imagine, take it all to heart and are freaking out every second of every day. Others are so chill that they may border on negligent.

Me? I have selective paranoia. I am terrified of SIDS (like most every new parent, I imagine) and so I am very strict about the no-blankets-no-bumpers rule. (When my mom picked Kate up at day care last week and they requested a blanket for her naptime, Mom hesitated to tell me, for fear I would pull Kate out of the school immediately. I didn't, but I just sent a small lovey instead.) I keep the thermostat below 73, as recommended, and I keep a fan going to keep air circulating over the crib. (I hate feeling drafty, so I wasn't a fan--no pun intended--of that idea at first, but it is the most current recommendation for preventing SIDS.)

On the other hand, I am not near as conscientious as people think I should be about keeping Kate warm. I rarely put socks on her, even in March, and I rarely used the fleece sleep sack my grandmother got for Kate. Come to think of it, that's actually the same hand, since it all comes down to the principle "too cool won't kill her; too warm will." (too cool within reason, of course.) So, hmm... am I more paranoid than not?

I am thrilled to feed Kate exclusively with breastmilk, because of all the purported benefits for health, immunity, and IQ. I read somewhere, though, that it's not necessary to heat bottles--that heating bottles just "spoils" babies into always wanting their milk warm. That sounds harsh, and some people think I'm crazy, but seriously, Kate is just fine taking her bottles straight out of the fridge (when she can't have the frshly pumped stuff).

In the same vein, we don't rock Kate to sleep. She goes down and falls asleep on her own. This may just be luck and Kate's own disposition, but I'm sure that if we'd started out always rocking her to sleep, she would always need it. We are lucky, in that we never really even had to let her "cry it out." So long as she has her paci (which is another good SIDS-preventer, by the way) she will fall asleep--or back asleep, if she wakes in the night. She's been sleeping through the night since two months, really. For a while, we woke her for a "dream feed" at 11 or 12, but stopped that when we realized she could go ten hours without it. Since our vacation to the cabins mid-June, she's been waking around 4 or 5, but a quick change, paci-replacement, or (at most) a move to the soothing center (swing) will get her back to sleep until I rise at 5:30 or 6.

My in-laws are amazed at how easily Kate goes down. "Relaxed parents, relaxed baby," they say. I know they had to rock Matt to sleep every night, though!

We all pick our battles, I guess. Chill in some things, OCD in others. TV, sweets, there are many other issues to come. What things are you paranoid about as a parent?


tearzamariebaggett said...

ugh. alllll of that makes me nervous. does your doc give you tips and safety words of advice closer to??!! i sure hope so.

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

Well, regarding the "prolapsed cord" thing, our doctor was mad that the childbirth class teacher even mentioned it, since there's not much a parent could do about it. Bottom line with that one: it's only a concern once your water breaks, so it's just another reason to get the the hospital ASAP if your water breaks on its own (which only happens for maybe 10% of people--it didn't for me).

Amy said...

I always fear SIDS until they are like 2, which I think is too long to worry about it. I freak out about them sleeping after bumping their heads. I'm a freak about the EXACT CORRECT dosage on even over the counter meds, where Husband is like, "well, that's close." (AHHH!) I'm also a worrier about my infants being too cold, so I keep them wrapped up, socked, and capped when they are newborns! I totally used the fleece sleep sacks, but no blankets of course cause SIDS - AHHH!

But in general I'm laid back.


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