There you are, finally holding that tiny little being that you carried and grew for 40 or so weeks. You couldn’t be happier! Being a new mom truly is the most wonderful feeling in the world. However, when you finally get home from the hospital and all of the visitors leave, you suddenly realize that YOU are completely responsible for that little beings life, and you have no clue what to do! – at least that’s how I felt.
There are a lot of things that I wish that I had known about having a newborn; like, really known. Not what I read in the books, either, but real, honest advice and information. So, in order to help prepare you mamas who are expecting your first babies, here are 16 things that nobody else may have told you about having a newborn.
16 Your Labor and Delivery are Out of Your Hands
Even though you may have this perfect birth plan in place, and it may go according to your plans, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t. Things happen in the last hours of labor and delivery that is completely out of your hands. Having a tentative plan is good, but leave room for changes. For example, if you opt for a vaginal birth and suddenly doctors need to perform a c-section - you may feel stressed out but just be reminded that the most important this is that you and your baby stay safe through out the process.
My birth plan was completely different than what I expected, and it didn’t matter. As long as the baby and I were safe, I didn’t care what happened.
15 Yep, That’s Black Poop!
Babies first poop will probably be like something you have never seen before. It will be black and oily, and you may wonder if there is something dreadfully wrong.
Rest assured that he is perfectly fine. That poop is called meconium, and though it’s pretty gross, it’s all the stuff that was inside your baby’s body when he was inside your body. Meconium can take a few days to pass, and once it does, he’ll have a more normal looking stool.
14 You’ll be Concerned About Poop
While we’re on the topic… You’re going to find that you will be very into your baby’s poop.
The color and the amount of your baby’s poop tells you a lot about her health, which is why you are going to be so interested in it.
After the meconium passes, your baby’s poop will turn to a yellowish color, but it can also be a little green, too. The color of the stools can vary, and the amount your baby poops each day can vary. She can poop as much as 10 times a day, to as little as one time a day. And, if baby doesn’t have a bowl movement for one day, it’s probably OK, as long as she has one the next day.
13 Spit Up Happens
You probably figure that your baby will spit up, at least here and there; however, don’t be surprised to find that your newborn is spitting up a lot.
Both of my son’s were spit up champions. And it started almost right away. I remember going to the doctor on a regular basis; like, every day! Testing was done on my firstborn. I stopped breastfeeding. We couldn’t find an answer. And he kept gaining weight.
The final verdict was that his little digestive tract wasn’t fully developed, and it was difficult to keep fluid down. The same was true for my second son. They called them, “happy spitters”.
12 Laundry Will NEVER be Done
Nope. Not ever. Even when the newborn phase is over.
Newborns create a ton of laundry. A TON! You wouldn't think it because they are so small, but you'll be surprised. Your little newborn will change more than a single gal before a blind date. And just when you think you’re caught up, there’s another three loads to do. The laundry is still never done in our house, and we have a toddler and an elementary school kid. It will happen so let it happen. Don't fight it.
11 Dishes will Never be Done, Either
Just like your laundry, the dirty dishes are endless. Once you have finished clearing the sink, there’s another bottle in there. Add the dishes of anyone else in the house and your sink is constantly full. You'll be hard pressed to find a moment to wash the dishes or load the dishwasher. Tending to baby is more important. Remember dishes that are left there won't cry, the baby will. So take care of him/her first and when you have sporadic minutes, wash what you can.
10 She Could Have Her Period
If you have a girl, don’t be surprised if she has her period.
Say what? Yep, it’s true! It’s not unusual for newborn girls to be born with their period. The reason? All of the hormones that she was exposed to when she was in your body. It’s not a true period, but it’s bloody, nonetheless. There’s no cause for concern. It will pass.
9 Be Careful with the Penis
If you have a boy, you have to be really careful with his penis.
If he is circumcised, you will have to follow specific circumcision care, which involves rolling the remaining skin back, gently cleaning the area with warm water, applying ointment and creating a tent with gauze before putting the diaper on. If he isn’t circumcised, you will have to roll the foreskin back completely to make sure that you thoroughly clean the penis with every diaper change.
8 Bathing a Newborn is a Project
I thought that I would be able to give my newborn a bath in the sink right away. I had no idea that he couldn’t be submerged until his umbilical stump healed.
Until the belly button heals, you have to give your newborn a sponge bath. That involves getting a bowl of warm, soapy water, having a towel to lay baby down on, having everything you need within arm’s reach, and making sure that baby doesn’t get cold. It’s definitely a process.
7 She Could Have Acne
It’s not uncommon for newborns to have acne. It’s called baby acne.
Their fresh, new pores are exposed to dirt and debris upon leaving your body, and as a result, they can develop little pimples. Don’t worry. It goes away. But, you should know that you should never, ever try to squeeze those pimples! Let them be and heal on their own to protect your baby from unnecessary scars.
6 Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is another common condition in newborns, and it can last for a while.
Cradle cap is a skin condition that is caused by an excessive production of sebum on the head. It is usually characterized by yellow or brown scales on top of the head. You can try to remove them with a soft brush, but they may not budge. Don’t fret. It will go away.
5 You May Not Bond Immediately
You may have been told that you will develop this instant bond with your newborn; however, don’t be surprised if you don’t. I loved my child instantly, but I didn’t feel like I had this incredible bond with my child right away. It's normal. It can be hard to bond with a baby. All they really do is eat, sleep and poop.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t develop an instant bond. You’re exhausted and you are trying to figure this whole thing out. That bond will definitely develop and when it does it will be magical.
4 You Wonder if Your Life Will Ever be the Same
Yep, I definitely wondered that. I wondered if we would ever figure it out, or if we would always be crazy, chaotic, and not know what the hell was going on. That’s what it was like the first few weeks with a baby. Life will feel a little upside down for some time but give yourselves a chance to get use to this new life.
Rest assured, you will figure it all out, and you will develop a routine, and yes, your life will get back to normal; a new type of normal, but normal.
3 You May Not Know How to Accept Help
You know you need help, and you know that you should take it. You have people offering you help, too. However, you may not be able to know how to accept that help. You may feel like your baby needs you and only you. But that's not the case. Ask your significant other, a grandparent, a friend or neighbour to watch the baby for a little while so that you can maybe shower, wash those dishes or finish the laundry. Or even, you can tend to the baby while they help out with things around the house. I know, you’re tired, you’re overwhelmed, and you don’t want to feel like you’re burdening anyone else. Don’t worry. You aren’t. Accept that help!
2 You May Want to Run Away
That sleep deprivation, combined with needing to take care of someone around the clock; it may make you want to run away. Dealing with a newborn can be overwhelming and when you feel like you are in over your head, the easiest thing to do will feel like running for the door. Of course, you won’t; however, don’t be surprised if you want to! Trust that you are doing your best and as previously mentioned, ask for help when things feel like they are getting a bit too hard. Everyone needs a break.
1 You’re Going to Cry. A lot.
You will definitely shed more than a few tears. Your hormones. Having to take care of someone else completely. The sleep deprivation. Being completely overwhelmed. All of it will make you cry. And not just cry, but weep. And that’s perfectly OK! Let it out! Part of becoming a mom is experiencing all the highs and lows, so let yourself feel all the feels. Tomorrow will be a better day.