Worrying about your kid’s health seems to come part and parcel with parenthood. But a new survey shows just how all-consuming that worry can be. Moms spend over 1,400 hours worrying about their baby’s health in the first year — or over eight weeks of literally nothing but worry— according to a OnePoll survey on behalf of Mead Johnson Nutrition.
And during that time, moms conduct an average 330 Google searches about their baby’s health. Nearly one a day? Sounds about right.
(The survey did not track how many times the average mom asks Brenda in her Facebook group if this rash looks like hives.)
Top concerns of the 900 U.S. moms surveyed included their baby’s overall health, reaching milestones, the amount of milk/formula/food they’re consuming, growth, nutrition, allergies, and sleep.
A similar study last year, also conducted by OnePoll, found that parents spend 37 hours a week worrying about their kids. So yes, worry is basically a full-time job once you have children.
Is worrying normal?
It is until it isn’t.
“Although we might wish it wasn’t so, the fact of life is that there is no such thing as worry-free parenting. It is natural to have some worries about your baby and your future,” Anxiety Canada notes on its website.
The organization notes that parenthood can seem especially intimidating to first-time moms. But if these worries happen every day and seem excessive or uncontrollable, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
“Constant and excessive worrying is not only exhausting, but it can also damage relationships and lead to many unhelpful behaviours that get in the way of daily life (for example, excessive checking, asking for repeated reassurance from others),” Anxiety Canada adds.
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Of course, worrying about your baby doesn’t mean you have an anxiety disorder (unless, as noted above, it gets out of hand).
Not only is most worry normal, but researchers have found that a woman’s brain undergoes neurological changes as she becomes a mother that may explain some of this constant concern.
“In new moms, there are changes in many of the brain areas,” maternal brain researcher Pilyoung Kim previously told the Atlantic.
“Growth in brain regions involved in emotion regulation, empathy-related regions, but also what we call maternal motivation—and I think this region could be largely related to obsessive-compulsive behaviours. In animals and humans during the postpartum period, there’s an enormous desire to take care of their own child.”
Hence, the Googling.
But, maybe ease off Dr. Google
That said, researchers and medical professionals have warned of the danger of consulting Dr. Google. A recent study out of the University of Waterloo that searching symptoms on the internet can make you feel worse and actually leave you less informed.
Another study found that nearly nearly half of all Google searches for medical symptoms can leave you convinced you have cancer.
And that’s a worry you don’t need on top of everything else.