When the shock wears off and reality sets in, pregnant women often start to freak out at the realization that they are bringing a new human being into this world. For women who have been there, they are no strangers to the feeling of self-doubt. There have undoubtedly been many times during a woman's pregnancy that she wonders what on earth she has gotten herself into.
When you’re pregnant for the first time, there’s so much information thrown at you that you feel completely clueless most of the time. Every time a new nugget of baby knowledge is given to me, I often question whether or not I should have embarked on this journey into parenthood in the first place.
But thankfully, the further along I get in my pregnancy journey, the more I realize that a lot of my worries about motherhood are not only normal but are part of the package. New moms have been clueless for decades and the truth is most of their babies have turned out fine. So whether you’re confused about what to wear during labor or wondering what the hype is all about over going number two after birth, this article will offer you some insight into some of the peculiar things about pregnancy and childbirth and how in the end, no matter what, the details don’t matter because you got this, mama.
15 What To Pack In Her Hospital Bag
As the third-trimester approaches, often new moms wonder what to pack with them when it’s time to head to the hospital. Being no stranger to this myself, I often wonder what to bring with me on the day when my life is going to change completely.
There are so many options that the thought of making a list of what to pack becomes a daunting task. What if we forget something important?
New moms are often clueless about what they will need during labor, delivery and postpartum but this doesn’t mean that mom is destined to be a bad parent. More often than not, this question is asked over and over again, driving doctors and midwives a little nuts. With no knowing of what to pack, moms will often over pack and bring a ton of things they don’t need. But hey, better safe than sorry, right?
14 What To Wear During Labor
It seems so silly to be concerned about what to wear during labor and birth but it was something that I thought about it for a long time (and may still change my mind about). Many first-time moms struggle with this question as well, as they wrestle with various expectations of the birth experience. Some moms want to look their best even when they are in the middle of the difficult contractions of active labor, while other moms don’t care at all and are satisfied with the plain old hospital gown.
While it is true that mom can be clueless as to what goes on during labor and delivery and the experience that goes along with it if they’ve never been through it before, I believe there’s some truth to being as comfortable as possible during what can be an overwhelming time. If comfortable to you means looking your best no matter what, then I say go ahead and spend the hundred plus dollars on a designer labor and delivery outfit. Just remember that there may be some gross blood and amniotic fluid involved. No matter our clothing choices during childbirth, in the end, when we hold our babies for the first time, what we are wearing will be the last thing on our minds.
13 Postpartum Lochia
One thing that first time moms are definitely clueless about is postpartum bleeding. It’s true we have all dealt with monthly periods but postpartum bleeding, whether you have a natural birth or C-section, is nothing to take lightly. Often new moms can feel pretty anxious about this event, not knowing what sort of protection to buy and just how severe and long the bleeding will be.
Although it’s true that mom may have no clue what to expect, it’s important to remember that every mom was that first-time mom at one point or another and was able to figure it all out just fine.
I try to remember this fact, as it gives me the confidence to be able to handle whatever comes my way, no matter how bloody the battle may be (pun intended).
12 Going "Number Two" For The First Time After Giving Birth
Another rather scary and potentially gross post-partum thing that first time moms are clueless about is the first time they go “number two” after birth. I myself humbly admit being clueless and doing countless hours of research on this topic, wondering how bad this experience actually will be and whether or not there’s a way that I can encourage it to be less painful.
Although I am still pregnant with my first baby and admittedly have not been through this personally, I believe that there is possibly more hype around going number two for the first time after birth than is really warranted. I’m sure there is some level of pain associated with it and I’m sure it is not something that most women look forward to, however, I anticipate the birth experience to be much worse and that the “first number two” is over with rather quickly. So new moms, don’t stress. Take your doctor’s advice on how to handle this and then put it out of your mind until it’s time to cross that bridge, all the while remembering how cute your baby is going to be.
11 To Co-Sleep Or Not To Co-Sleep
One thing that new moms often hear about pretty quickly after they become pregnant is co-sleeping. Now when I first heard about this term, I had so many preconceived notions about it that were basically outdated or incorrect. The truth is many moms are clueless about co-sleeping because there are so many different discourses on the subject. It turns out there are various degrees of co-sleeping, whether that be sleeping in the same bed as the baby, sleeping next to the baby who is in a bassinet adjacent to the bed or having the baby sleep in a crib in the same room. Of course, there’s also the option to not co-sleep at all, which is where the baby is in his or her own room.
There are so many different opinions regarding co-sleeping that they even vary between healthcare practitioners.
Often healthcare practitioners will advocate in favor of it because it promotes bonding and breastfeeding but some still caution against the more “crunchy” version of co-sleeping that includes sharing the same bed as a baby, because of the risk involved with smothering baby accidentally.
I think in this situation, it’s important to know that it’s okay to start off completely clueless, but to then begin to do your own research as to what’s best for you and your partner, as you embark on the journey into parenthood. Talk to your doctor or midwife and even friends and family who have had babies to get an idea of their experiences. The good thing about this decision is that there’s always room to change your mind. You can try one way of sleeping and if it doesn’t work you can always make adjustments accordingly. Regardless of how you were positioned during nighttime, the important thing is that even your baby both gets a safe and restful good night sleep (well as restful as possible for mom and dad).
10 How To Handle Those Sleepless Nights
Speaking of sleep, one of the things that new moms are often clueless about is how to handle those sleepless nights and the chronic sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn baby. Personally, I struggled with this notion for a while, wondering how my partner and I would handle this experience having never done anything like this before.
As I began to read some parenting books, I began to understand the sleep cycles for newborn babies and that this state of nighttime feeding is only temporary in the grand scheme of having children. As babies get older, they feed for longer stretches of time and less frequently, giving me some hope that there will eventually be an increase in times between feedings during the night and thus longer stretches of sleep. If you’re a new mom who is clueless about sleep, don’t fret. Eventually you and your baby will likely get into a pattern and you’ll get the hang of things, as you work out a system that is best for your family.
9 The Going Home Outfit For Baby
Just like how mom is clueless about what to wear during labor and delivery, new moms are also equally clueless about what outfit to bring their baby home in. Not only are there a million and one adorable options out there for new moms to browse online and in stores, but the pressure from friends and family to post that cute going-home photo on social media can be overwhelming.
What month of the year and the season your baby is born can also be a place of confusion for moms and dads, as they figure out how to properly dress baby for the weather.
In most articles I have read, including the literature I have received from my own midwives (Family Care Midwives), the best advice I got was to dress my baby in layers, so I have the option of removing a layer or two if he gets too warm. If you’re confused about what your baby is supposed to wear when you bring him or her home from the hospital, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it, as they will gladly guide you in the right direction. Don’t worry mom, you got this.
8 Which Diaper Bag To Buy
Continuing with our theme of mom and baby apparel, there is, of course, the ever popular designer diaper bag. Many women splurge on this item to the point where it can an object of competition in the mommy circles. And if buying one is on the table, how much is too much to spend? Is it something that mom really needs?
Although this can be confusing to new moms, I think the answer to these questions lie in your personality, your budget, and your parenting method. If owning an expensive bag will make you feel like a million bucks while you’re experiencing the trials and tribulations of new motherhood, then go for it! As new moms, we will need all the perks we can get! But if playing it low-key is more your style, than that works just as well.
While I don’t think designer diaper bags are a necessity, I think a bag to hold diapers and baby stuff is, so make sure you have one of those, no matter what it looks like or how much it costs. And in case readers are wondering what I am doing myself in the diaper bag department; I split the difference, purchasing a Kate Spade tote bag second hand that I will be using as a diaper bag – yes buying a designer bag second hand for a fraction of the cost is another idea as well if you’re looking for style but aren’t willing to fork over the dough.
7 How To Change A Diaper
This seems like such a simple task but I remember that just last year, before a good friend of mine had a baby that I took care of, in my adult life I had never changed a diaper before! This was also true of my husband, who up until our birthing class still had never changed one (and he still has yet to change one on a live baby).
I think a lot of new moms are anxious about this because it is not only something that is unfamiliar at first but also something that has to be done very often once the baby arrives.
The fact that this is a frequent occurrence makes a lot of new moms feel pressured to learn how to change diapers the quickest and best way possible. We want to be really good at it so we don’t feel like a complete newbie.
The thing that I think most moms forget is that we will get tons of practice with this in no time. Every mom at one time or another has felt inadequate about a simple task like this but over time, with practice, new skills will set in. If you’re clueless about how to change diapers, don’t fret. You’ll pick it up it in no time!
6 How To Give Baby A Bath
Just like changing a diaper, a lot of new moms have never bathed a newborn baby before and feel completely clueless when it comes to it. As with changing a diaper, it is completely normal to feel anxious and insecure about our skills when it comes to caring for a newborn, no matter how simple the task may seem to outsiders. Not only is having a baby completely life-changing, but a lot of moms feel overwhelmed with the concept of being responsible for the life of another human being.
For many new moms this newfound responsibility can be very scary and with it comes a lot of fear and self-doubt. What may seem like just a bath becomes a bigger deal. I think it’s important to take a deep breath and try to look at the bigger picture.
It’s important for us new moms to be kind to ourselves and to realize that making mistakes is part of the process.
Just like with other tasks that come with your new baby, it is okay to make mistakes and to learn as you go. That is part of the process of becoming a new parent. Be gentle with yourself as you learn how to be a mom and you will undoubtedly find your way.
5 This Cord Banking Thing
One of the things that many new moms are really clueless about (myself included at first) is cord blood and why it is something that is a topic of conversation in many parenting circles. If you’re a new mom who is clueless about cord blood, it is nothing to be ashamed of. An internet search, birthing class or conversation with a mom friend you trust will help further your knowledge regarding your baby’s umbilical cord and its cord blood as well.
As a new mom, you’ll be faced with some choices, including delayed cord clamping after birth, whether not to donate your baby’s cord blood or to bank it. Every mom is different in terms of their priorities with respect to this and my suggestion is just to do a bit of research and find out where you stand. Most hospitals will do delayed cord clamping as common practice now and there are many different options available for donating or storing the cord blood. Take an afternoon and sit down with some research. Even a few minutes of reading will probably help you figure out where you land on the subject, helping you make the best decision for your baby and your family.
4 This Size Of Her Baby Bump
One of the things I dislike about pregnancy is how much outsiders compare the bumps of pregnant women. Because new moms have never been pregnant before, they are often clueless about the fact that everyone carries differently and no two bumps are identical. This is not only true for different women being pregnant but for the same woman being pregnant at different times. No two pregnancies are ever alike and a lot of people tend to forget this.
Admittedly, I often find myself comparing my bump to others in almost a subconscious way: She is less far along than me, why does she have a bigger bump?
But really, doing this is only going to bring a new mom unnecessary anxiety.
The only person who should be concerned about the size of your bump is your doctor or midwife and if they are, it is likely they will order tests to make sure everything’s on the up and up. But aside from that, don’t worry about how you compare to other pregnant women. We are all unique individuals with unique pregnancies and this is not only okay but a beautiful thing indeed.
3 The Birth Plan
When a woman becomes pregnant, there is a lot of talk about the notion of having a birth plan. Many healthcare professionals recommend it and while some women jump at the opportunity to create a plan that suits them the best, other women feel completely in the dark about what to write or why they would even need something like this.
Although there are many schools of thought regarding the birth plan, in birthing class I took by Balancing From Birth To Baby, we were taught to make the plan more of a set of guidelines or a list of things that were most important to us during labor and delivery. Although having everything mapped out from beginning to end may be appealing to some, the reality is 99% of births will never go according to plan. This is not to say you shouldn’t have an idea in your head of how you want things to go, however, I think it is important to be flexible with respect to certain things, especially things that may become medically necessary or counter-intuitive.
2 What To Name The Baby
Although not all women and first-time moms struggle with this, a lot of new mothers become stressed out because they are clueless as to what to name their new bundle of joy. There is no right way or wrong way to choosing a name and it is a wonderful thing that you can get inspiration for a name from pretty much anywhere!
But that being said, there are a few tips that I have read over the last few months that have helped me in particular, and these include: picturing your child with such a name as an adult, making sure your partner loves the name as much as you and deciding whether or not a name is popular or unpopular is important to you. If you are looking for ideas, there are of course many baby name articles that can help offer some inspiration for choosing the best name for your new arrival!
1 When Dad Is Even More Clueless Than She Is
One of the things I think a lot of new moms are worried about is how their partners are going to handle having a new baby, and the potential that dad may be even more clueless! A lot of first-time pregnant women, myself included, have felt anxiety around having to be a wealth of knowledge or support for their partners during the pregnancy and childbirth experience. Being the type of person who researches everything, I knew going into this pregnancy that I wasn’t going to appreciate my partner being more clueless than I was (or at least not all the time).
I understood that there would be some times where I would need to explain things that he did not understand. However, I did not want to have every discussion about our baby to be a teachable moment.
To help with this, I purchased a book for him to read written from a male perspective. It allowed him to have a baseline of knowledge for what to expect during the pregnancy, as well as some aspects of labor and delivery, which definitely help us to communicate about these things better. There are plenty of resources out there for both men and women regarding pregnancy and childbirth and if you’re afraid that your spouse is going to be even more clueless than you, then definitely look into options available for them to learn on their own.
With all this being said, don’t be surprised if even after plenty of books are read by both parents, either mom or dad may still continue to feel clueless. Please be kind to yourselves as you understand that parenting involves learning as you go and that making mistakes is part of the experience. The fact that you care so much and strive for perfection to begin with already makes you a wonderful parent.