Fear and Loving in Infancy

How I love newborn babies. I love them because they are so shiny and new and haven’t yet learned the word “no”. They are perfect and sweet-smelling and their clothes are so cute it makes me want to cry. Newborns are easy to hold and even easier to love. They possess the unique ability to make your heart overflow with gratitude, love and the overwhelming need to protect; these are only a few of the reasons why I find newborns totally intimidating and a little bit scary. Sure, newborns don’t look scary (but that’s the even scarier part).

Beneath all the joy and wonder of infancy lies a little fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of making a mistake, fear born out of caring with your whole heart. Every new Mommy Friend, and even a few seasoned ones, feel at least a little (or in my case, a lot) of fear when faced with their brand spankin’ new newborn. I’ve thought long and hard about all the reasons I was intimidated by my own infants and why (even to this day) I’m intimidated by yours.

Reasons newborns are scary 

Newborns are tiny. I mean you know newborns are small, but you forget just how small they really are until you are holding one. My purse is bigger (and certainly heavier) than most infants.   

Newborns need neck support, total and complete neck support. Floppy heads are scary and a big responsibility. Big responsibilities are scary.

Breathing. You feel the need to watch every. single. breath. inhale. exhale. inhale. exhale.

SIDs. Learn more and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Poop. Not enough poops in a day. Too many poops in a day. Is this poop normal?

Spit up. How much spit up is normal? Are they taking in more that they are letting out? Spit up is scary.  Projectile vomiting is even scarier, trust me, I am an expert.

Temperature confusion. Blanket, no blanket. Sweater, no sweater.  

Jaundice. My little pumpkin baby was very jaundice and the blood tests were as scary as the Jaundice itself.

Feedings. Is she eating enough? Is she gaining enough? 

The realization that you are in charge. Is there a(nother) grownup in the house?

For me, that list was only the beginning. I realized once my baby was born just how vulnerable they were to the outside world. I remember wishing my precious baby boy could just remain in my belly where I was better able to protect him. For me, the loss of control for this Type A Mommy Friend was the scariest part of infancy.

When I first brought my newborn son home, it was all about visitors. Big Daddy P was home to help along with a steady stream of visitors and all was well. In my opinion, six sets of eyes on my newborn are supremely better than 2 any old day of the week. After a few weeks, the visitor roster began to wane and life started morphing into my new definition of normal. All too soon, Big Daddy P had to go back to work and only two remained – me and my newborn. I had a little dialog with my new baby that went something like this, “Mommy loves you, yes she does, yes she does. I’m doing my best baby boy, I’ll figure this out. Just be patient with me”.  Honestly, my little one-sided conversation was more like a mix between a prayer and a personal mantra.

Thankfully I, like all new Mommy Friends became an expert in my newborn in record time. I got over the fear of my infant’s fragility and began handling him like a pediatric nurse. Soon enough the days of fear and uncertainly were long behind me, but even now I still prefer six eyes on my kids instead of two any old day of the week.





  1. Agreed. Newborns are terrifying! My daughter is 2 now but we are due with our second in a few months and I am so scared to go back to that phase!

  2. so true, I remember all that too well! :)-h

  3. Lori – I love the photos you shared here. Just beautiful! I also have a purse heavier than newborn babies – I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Thank you also for taking this opportunity to discuss SIDS. So scary but such good reminders to share with others.

  4. You are so blessed! I miss my girls when they were babies. They grow SOSOSOSO fast!

  5. Newborns are SO scary. But oh they fall asleep on your chest for hours at a time, and they smell so good, and they are all curled up and yummy…
    Thanks for this post 🙂

  6. Oh, Mommyfriend…this came at such a poignant time in my life. I just registered my little guy for kindergarten today. *sob* It’s not been easy. I can’t believe that it’s been almost 5 years since we brought our (also very jaundiced) little baby home and stared at him for hours. EVERY sound, coo, hiccup, and sneeze was precious. I remember holding our son the first night at home alone and just sobbing while I looked at him and touched his little, tiny face. My husband walked in the room and was startled. He asked me what was wrong. I told him, “He’s just so beautiful.” Okay chalk one up for hormones, but it IS breathtaking, isn’t it?! GREAT POST!!! Love ya as always!!!!

  7. You said it, sister! I have all this to look forward to in just a few short weeks. Please tell me you stress/worry less the second time around!

  8. Completely agree. Not only was it scary to be alone at first. I was extremely exhausted. Hunter didn’t sleep much. Nursed a lot and just wanted to play. I hardly slept. Being alone during the day was miserable sometimes. Too bad I didn’t have facebook back then. It might have kept me just a little sane. 😉

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