There is plenty to love about motherhood. Sweet newborn baby snuggles, the endless depth of a mother’s love for her child, and the knowledge that she’ll always have her not-so-little bundle as a companion throughout life. But at first, things aren’t quite so rosy.
The first month home with a newborn can cause frustration and even panic for mom. Between learning to feed and care for a newborn, to maintaining relationships with her partner, friends, and family, mom has a lot going on. It also doesn’t help that babies are fickle little beings that have often confusing preferences and triggers.
Not that mom hates being at home with her little one, but it’s not always as easy as the movies and even reality TV make it seem. Sure, labor and delivery are difficult, but so are sleepless nights with a colicky newborn, learning to use a breast pump, cleaning up poo 24/7, and feeling disconnected from the outside world.
There are tons of things to love about being home with your tot for the first month, and longer, but here are fifteen things that will bother mom about the baby as they navigate and hopefully enjoy their shut-in first month together.
15 Mom’s Left Out
When moms bring their brand new bundles home from the hospital, it’s all joy and smiles at first. You may feel exhausted, but you’ve just brought a life into the world! It’s a huge accomplishment and the start of a whole new life for all of you. Unfortunately, once baby makes his exit, that means mom isn’t the center of attention anymore.
Many moms feel like an incubator once the baby pops out.
Once the baby isn’t inside her anymore, people clamor for a look at the tot without thinking about mom. After all, the whole point of pregnancy is to have a healthy baby at the end, right?
At the same time, moms are often tired, sore, possibly in pain, and more confused than ever. As gorgeous as that new babe is, mom is already struggling to adjust to life as a new mama, whether it’s her first or tenth. She needs attention just as much as the kiddo does- even more so, since she’s directing all her attention to the baby, too. Most moms will feel bothered by this, even those who don’t often enjoy being the center of attention. But hey, at least no one is rubbing the belly anymore.
14 Attachment Issues
Many moms daydream about the moment their babies will enter the world. They imagine him seeking out mom’s eyes and locking onto her. They picture the baby nursing nonstop and wanting only mom for the first few months. But then reality sets in, and mom can’t handle the constant crying. Maybe dad or grandma is better able to soothe the baby in the early days. And as much as mom loves her baby, she resents the fact that attachment hasn’t come easily.
For moms who don’t feel immediately locked with their babies, it can take time to develop a relationship. After all, you’ve only just met! Still, that first month can be a struggle. Especially if you’re nursing, you might resent your tot for causing pain or discomfort. If you’re recovering from a gnarly natural birth or a painful C-section, you might feel even more detached from your little one.
In some cases, moms or their babies have significant challenges that make it hard to connect- like postpartum depression or another illness. But for the rest of us, it can just take some time to settle in with the new baby, start bonding, and finally feel like a real mom.
13 Nursing Nightmares
Maybe your baby is an amazing little nursling that seems to get plenty of milk with no trouble. Or maybe your newborn is like mine, and attempts to gnaw off your nipples every time you feed him. You start to dread him waking up from a nap because you know it’ll be time to nurse again, but the blood still hasn’t dried from last time, and you flinch just thinking about it.
The terrible thing is, many more moms have nursing challenges than most lactation consultants want you to think.
Personally, I struggled to nurse both of my kids with what I think were undiagnosed lip and tongue ties. But I was told that some pain while nursing was normal, although I was pretty sure the clamping and grinding were not normal.
Even if your baby is otherwise fine, no tongue or lip issues, it’s still possible to feel uncomfortable while nursing at first. You might have chafing or blister-like bumps on your nipples, or feel burning or itching as your skin gets used to near-constant saliva.
If any of the above is true, moms often resent their newborns for needing to eat, as ridiculous as it sounds. Feeding time can become stressful, and that will bother moms- self-preservation doesn’t outrank preservation of the precious newborn.
12 Lack Of Personality
Newborn babies are adorable, that’s true. But let’s be honest: they don’t do much. Yes, just like Perry the Platypus, they don’t do a whole lot. Still, they keep moms very busy. They may only coo, cry, and poop, but mom will come running every time. That said, she may find herself bored when the baby doesn’t respond to her smiling face or poops all over her clean shirt as she snuggles him.
That’s not to say that babies are emotionless lumps (obviously, the crying is evidence), just that there’s not a whole lot of stimulating conversation happening.
And while your partner who’s gone all day may envy you that special time with the newborn, you might find yourself struggling to come up with ways to describe your day that don’t revert to how many wet and dirty diapers baby produced.
Even if you don’t mind the quiet, spending hours caring for your brand-new person can drain the personality out of mom, too. Going through the motions to take care of both mom and baby’s basic needs is often all we can manage in those early days. Still, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time before babies begin to exhibit personality traits.
11 Opinionated Offspring
Some babies are chill and don’t mind when mom messes up. Others will make it known that they are unhappy, and it’s impossible to predict what will set them off. For example, some moms go all out and buy every piece of baby gear and equipment in existence. But then they try putting the baby in that adorable little swing, and the poor baby arches her back and screams bloody murder until you mom shuts it off.
Or you might have bought a mobile for the baby’s crib or bassinet, only to find that they cry every time you turn it on. Maybe you have a sweet bassinet that baby doesn’t even want to sleep in, or a pacifier they couldn’t care less about. It’s difficult to deal with such an opinionated baby, especially when you expect them to be docile and pliable.
With all the options for baby stuff, it’s hard to know what’s essential or what your baby will like, if they have a preference. Unfortunately, you can’t guess until after baby arrives. That said, sometimes aversions go away, so just because your newborn doesn’t enjoy a swing or a wrap carrier, that doesn’t mean they won’t change their fickle little mind later!
10 Alone And Lonely
Let’s just get this out there: newborn babies do not make good company. Between their basic needs and the jarring crying that sometimes happens for seemingly no reason, it’s an emotional minefield for new moms. And not only are new moms likely alone with the baby for at least part of the first month, they are also lonely.
Not being around other adults, especially if moms were working outside the home before the baby came, can take a toll on mom’s emotional and mental health.
Sure, it’s great to be able to relax and bond with your baby. But with all the hours in the day, time can seem to drag on when you have no one to talk to. And assuming your baby does sleep for decent enough stretches, you’d probably rather shower, eat, or sleep than try to connect with friends or family.
Plus, there’s the fact that most moms don’t plan to take their newborns out of the house for the first month or two. Whether you’re trying to avoid cold and flu season or just handsy strangers who want to pinch bub’s little cheeks, staying home is often the safer choice for new babies regardless. But that also means mom is cooped up, too.
9 Sleep Won’t Come Easy
Everyone knows that having children means sleepless nights. But at the same time, most doctors, midwives, and other birth specialists will tell you that newborns sleep a lot. What they don’t usually specify is that sleeping a lot doesn’t mean sleeping often. For example, your newborn may eat, have a diaper change, and drift off for thirty minutes. Then, like clockwork, she’s back on the boob or demanding a bottle, and the cycle starts again.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t blessed with babies who sleep even two- or three-hour stretches at a time.
And for babies who do wind up sleeping well from day one, it’s not usually the parents who can take responsibility for it!
No matter how fussy your newborn seems at first, though, it will get better! Most babies will fall into their own rhythm in the first month or so after birth. That means your sleeplessness, at least the every-hour kind, won’t last long. We can’t promise that your tot will sleep through the night or even give you four hours at a time, but at least most babies become somewhat predictable in their habits. That might mean you get a little extra shut-eye, even if it’s not at night.
8 Monotony On The Daily
Coming home with a new baby can feel relaxing. Getting out of the hospital or birthing center puts mom back in control of her environment and her experiences. Or so I thought. Once you get home, you fall into a routine. But the routine probably isn’t a very fun one, especially if you’re on your own with the baby every day.
Between feeding, changing, bathing, burping, rocking, and consoling your baby, there won’t be a whole lot of time for anything else. If you nurse, the feeding might happen more frequently. If you’re bottle feeding, you might be washing bottles repeatedly throughout the day.
This boringness often bothers moms in the first month especially, because for some reason we expect our new lives as mamas to be immediately magical. Sadly, it’s not often like that, even with the most well-behaved babies. Still, you can stick it out and eventually climb over the hill of monotony- and that might happen once your baby settles in and gets her routine down.
Or maybe when she starts to show more personality, around month two or three, you’ll start having fun again. When babies start reacting to their moms more, that can help us ladies feel less alone.
7 Laundry Taking Over
Tons of moms lament laundry, no matter how old their kids are. It’s never-ending and time-consuming, taking up space in the laundry room, living room, bedrooms, and even the kitchen and garage. You might think that newborns don’t need that much clothing, but you’ll change your tune once the baby’s diaper leaks or he spits on you for the fifth time.
Messes happen with babies, and even if you’re not showering every day, you’ll at least want a baby wipe and a clean shirt, too. That means your laundry is added to the pile.
Plus, between burp rags, bibs, washcloths, and tiny socks, you’ll have a lot of extras from the baby that will pad the laundry pile. There’s also your partner’s clothing,
if they somehow can’t manage to run a load of washing on their own.
And when you spend all day tending to your newborn’s needs (and hopefully your own, too, but let’s be realistic here- it’s all about the baby), you really won’t feel like dealing with the laundry. Trust me- it’s been four years since my last, and I still struggle to muster up the motivation to pair a bunch of socks or move the laundry pile from the couch to the dresser.
6 Eating Isn’t Easy
For some reason, many moms find it difficult to feed themselves. If your baby is young, you’re busy holding them, snuggling, feeding, changing, and all that. If they’re older, you’re trying to feed them and keep from getting food spewed on you, and then you might eat their leftovers if you’re lucky.
Somehow, even if they’re starving, moms are often unable to get food onto a plate or into their mouths when caring for a newborn. Some babies seem to have a sixth sense that tells them when mom’s about to dig into a plate full of at least lukewarm food. This leads to immediate protest, leaving mom to return to her ice-cold plate hours later. If she remembers at all.
And while strategies like pre-stocking the freezer with meals to reheat is a great concept, moms who go into labor spontaneously may not be that well prepared. Heck, even those of us with scheduled inductions or C-section dates probably don’t have it “together” enough to pre-make meals we can reheat. And even if we can, the baby still knows when mom’s about to have a bite. The only somewhat helpful solution I’ve found is wearing the baby in a carrier while you eat. You have to be careful not to drop food on your little one’s head, but it’s better than starving all day every day.
5 Visitor Variety Hour
On the flip side of being lonely is being inundated with potentially unwanted visitors. One thing that often bothers moms is baby often has uninvited visitors who are itching to see the little one but don’t have any clue how to be helpful or inobtrusive while they do.
For example, you may not want your mother-in-law hanging around, but then she drops in and is able to soothe the baby to sleep so she winds up sticking around and lecturing you on everything you’re doing wrong.
Or maybe a friend drops by but isn’t sure how to deal with your new motherhood, being that they’re childless and child-averse themselves. Figuring out who you are after having a baby can be hard, and dealing with people dropping in all the time while you’re doing it isn’t easy.
Plus, babies will often wake up when visitors come by, which may annoy mom if she’s just gotten the little one off to sleep. It’s frustrating when a routine is interrupted, and in the early days, clinging to a routine is all some moms can manage. That might mean moms need to turn away visitors and focus on herself and the baby for a while.
4 Bottle-Making Blues
If you choose not to nurse or can’t for some reason, you’ll be dealing with a whole lot of bottles in the first month. Because newborn babies have tiny tummies, you’re probably looking at an ounce to three ounces of formula every feeding. And based on formula manufacturers’ instructions, you’re supposed to boil the water you use to make bottles. That means a long prep process before you can feed the baby.
But even if you don’t boil the water beforehand- because who really does that- trying to get the water warm enough for baby’s delicate palate might be hard. Especially if you’re juggling a fussy newborn and those impossibly tiny formula scoops along with an impossibly narrow baby bottle.
Fortunately, there are ways to make things easier, like mixing big batches of formula and storing it in the fridge, but it’s hard to guess how much you’ll need in a day. Plus, it can go bad if you don’t use it in time, and that wastes money. On the other hand, liquid formula is a handier option, but it’s much more expensive, and can go bad, too.
Whatever method you choose for formula feeding, getting the hang of prepping, feeding, washing, and repeating can take some time. But over time, it gets easier, I promise.
3 Endless Diapering
Newborn babies are constantly peeing and pooping, and it’s true that you’ll need a heck of a lot more diapers than you think to keep them clean and dry. There’s a reason people bought you tons of packs of diapers for your baby shower- and you’ll truly thank them later.
But it can become monotonous changing diapers over and over, plus your baby may not enjoy it either.
Some babies hate diaper changes, screaming bloody murder while you struggle to hold their tiny legs still and wrangle a clean diaper under their bum.
Plus, there’s that nasty first newborn poop to worry about. No mom enjoys that first meconium poop, but then there are the joys of both breastfed baby and formula fed baby poo. You can find charts online that spell it out for you, photos included, but suffice it to say, all poo is gross, even if it comes from your delicious-smelling and uber adorable newborn.
There’s also the fact that some babies will wake up when they’re wet, which, while handy, is also terrible for getting on a schedule. No mama wants her baby to sleep in a wet or dirty diaper, but when the baby wakes up crying mid-snooze, it’s no fun for anyone.
2 Adventures In Going Out
If you decide to venture out in your first month home, I applaud you. I also caution you. It was always much harder than I thought it would be to go somewhere with a new baby in the first couple of months. No matter how your baby is fed, you’ll need a diaper bag full of feeding tools and equipment, from bottles and formula to nursing pads and nipple cream. Then there’s diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, extra blankets, burp cloths, spare socks, changing mats, bags for dirty diapers, and more.
You might still need feminine hygiene products for you, too, making the whole thing even worse to manage. That’s probably why most veteran moms don’t plan any outings in the early weeks, unless it’s a necessary visit to the doctor or lactation consultant.
That said, sometimes it’s worth it to pack up the fifty-pound diaper bag and get you and the baby outside for a while. Whether you have an appointment or just want some fresh air, getting out might help banish the boring monotony of being indoors and on-demand all the time. Then again, it’s exhausting to take a day trip unless your newborn stays asleep the entire time, but most moms aren’t willing to take that chance.
1 Not So Photogenic
Of course, every mom thinks her newborn baby is gorgeous. But if we’re being honest, there are some things that are gross and even downright unattractive about babies. Some are still particularly squishy in the first month or so, as their little cone heads mold back into the proper shape. Babies who had a difficult delivery might even have unsightly bruising that mom thinks will make her look bad.
Many babies have acne in the early weeks, which you can’t do much about except wait for to go away. There’s also cradle cap, which looks like terrible dandruff on a tiny newborn’s head and is another ailment that sometimes takes all kinds of ointments and treatment to get rid of.
No one expects a newborn to look like a flawless model, but sometimes it’s hard for new moms to muster up the desire to snap photos or brag on social media when their babes look a little rough around the edges. The mommy shame is real, and we all worry about being on the receiving end of it. Wait it out, though, and your sweet offspring will keep changing right before your eyes, becoming more gorgeous than you ever thought possible- even when they’re puking or pooping on you.
Reference: One Mom's Experience