Having a baby can be the happiest time in a mom's life, but it can also be the most nerve wracking. The exhaustion of pregnancy and delivery combined with the responsibility of being the primary caregiver for another human being can be overwhelming. Some moms may feel anxious at the thought of being by themselves with their little one, and may ask, "what does it mean if I'm nervous to be alone with my baby?"
Why would a mom feel nervous about being alone with their baby in the first place? Diane Sanford, Ph.D., coauthor of Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom's Postpartum Survival Guide told Parents that new moms often have more oxytocin surging through their bodies, which can trigger stress hormones that may make them feel more anxious when they hear their baby cry or see them in distress. The added exhaustion, she explained, can make the anxiety even worse.
Jessica Zablan, doula and owner of The Birth & Baby Company, tells Romper that becoming a parent is scary and many new parents are nervous about their first day alone with the baby. She suggests that parents consult a postpartum doula, or keep a sign-up sheet for family to come over and help around the house to ease those nerves. "A postpartum doula is a trained professional that helps families ease into parenthood by assisting with household tasks, the newborn, personal shopping, and many other things," explains Zablan.
She says that companies like The Birth & Baby Company offer packages to help parents with things like bath time, first outings, and cutting baby's nails for the first time. "After the first few weeks, we start to see parents gain their confidence and the nervousness goes away."
Zablan also notes that if moms are still uneasy about being left alone with their baby, she typically starts looking for signs of postpartum depression or anxiety. "We try to talk with the new mom to figure out why she might be so nervous and work out a plan," Zablan adds. "If we are seeing other signs of postpartum depression, we will talk with the family to see if they are noticing things, too." At that time, she suggests moms consult with their doctors about being evaluated and treated for postpartum depression.
If you are feeling anxious or nervous about being alone with your baby, reach out to your family or a postpartum doula for support. Any postpartum anxiety you might have should be discussed thoroughly with your physician so that they can recommend the proper diagnosis and any treatment if necessary. Leaning on family and friends is a great first step, and just know that feeling anxious or nervous about your baby doesn't make you a bad parent, it just means you're human.