There’s something extraordinary about the very first time a mother holds her baby. It’s both euphoric and emotional. It’s something women really can’t describe even if they tried their hardest. It’s a must-experience moment to truly understand. Those days after she is born are like a whirlwind of many events.
Our significant other handles the guests—ushering them in and out when we need it. We see our doctors, the pediatrician, and even begin to make friends with the nurses coming in and out all day. We get as much sleep as possible, letting our weary bodies recover. When we’re not doing that, we’re getting the hang of breastfeeding and taking every opportunity we can to fawn over the precious baby we somehow gave birth to.
We’re only in the hospital for a few days at most—sometimes even a week depending on how our birth experience went. Before we know it, we’re settling our little baby into the car seat for the very first time as our significant other quadruple checks every buckle because there’s no such thing as being too careful. We take our time, making sure we have everything in order, but the truth is we’re stalling a little bit. We stall because we know that our hospital experience will be completely different than when we bring our baby home.
15 The Cause Of Change
Everything changes the minute we walk over the threshold of our front door with our little baby in hand. Suddenly, there are three people living in a household where there used to be two. There are baby toys, chairs, blankets, and more scattered everywhere. There is the lingering stench of dirtied diapers in the air.
This is all very new. It is all very different, but according to Baby Gizmo, this is all natural. It is more than just a physical change within the household, however. It is also a complete change in feeling and dynamic.
We walked back into that house as parents to a little human being that relies solely on us for its survival.
The mere feeling and understanding of that can be incredibly overwhelming. That feeling of euphoria at the hospital is gone and it can be stressful to just enter our own home.
Moms do their best to prepare themselves for the baby coming home. Many parents try to sleep extra, enjoy their last moments with just the two of them, and prepare the house to the best of their ability for the baby. No one can prepare us for what we experience when the baby comes home, so go with the flow, as Dr. Laura Jana says.
14 The Ebb Of Emotions
That initial feeling of being overwhelmed when we come home is just the first of many emotions that we are bound to experience in those first few days. Fear, sadness, joy, frustration, and so many more.
They come and go as quickly as a breeze—often overtaking us so suddenly that there’s nothing we can do about it. It is not just overwhelming for us. Our significant other is stuck trying to keep up with the ebb and flow of those emotions.
There is no real foundation most of the time. We have heard the phrase, “It is all hormonal”. Well, it is. Parents reports that there are a number of emotions that new moms may feel that are completely normal.
Between natural postpartum hormones and breastfeeding hormones, we become an emotional mess who cries at the simplest of puppy commercials. The best we can do is learn to ride them out and hope our significant other can keep up. Some of us may experience more sadness than others, which could be because of postpartum or “baby blues,” according to Parents. This can walk hand in hand with hypersensitivity. Some moms get the “better” emotions and feel overwhelming joy every day.
13 The Fuss In The Feed
We have high expectations for ourselves as we figure out how we are going to feed our baby. Whether it is breastmilk or the best brand of formula we can find—we believe we have got it in the bag. We are going to make sure our baby is happy, healthy, and well fed. Nothing, however, prepares us for the fact that we really are not prepared—that babies are all different.
Perhaps our baby does not like certain kinds of bottles or only likes to be held in a specific way. There is trapped gas, allergies, and more that could present itself as an issue for our little baby.
Suddenly, feeding our baby becomes a fussy ordeal and we have no idea what is wrong with her. It becomes a stressful guessing game that could last days or even weeks to figure out. Parents discusses the different ways that we can hold our babies while bottle feeding them. Some babies may be more responsive to different holds, whether it is the cradle or sitting up. Making sure to minimize the air intake that the baby gets during the feeding may also help their fussiness. The less air they take in, the less gassy and cranky they will be.
12 The Slack In Sleep
We like to think we are going to have that one baby that defies all baby laws and sleeps utterly fantastic at night—even if it’s in four or five-hour spurts. Sadly, that is just not the case when it comes to newborns. Parents.com reports that new moms can have great difficulty sleeping, especially since when the baby is sleeping, we want to make sure we get our household chores done. As new moms, we sleep every two hours if we are lucky.
We find our nighttime routine has become a desperate race to get in an hour or so of sleep before the baby is up again. We suddenly fully understand why people told us our entire pregnancy that we should sleep when the baby sleeps. We have bags under our eyes and we yawn at just about everything.
Sleep becomes a dream we fantasize during the day—we find ourselves begging people to come over and visit so they can watch the baby as we catch up on our own naps. According to Parents, napping can be difficult during the day. Our bodies' circadian rhythm associates sun with time to be awake, which can make it impossible to nap when our babies do. Some moms end up changing their baby’s bedtime in order to get more shut-eye.
11 The Reality Of Being Uncomfortable
The truth is, we all really wish that our bodies would go right back to what they were before we got pregnant—and we’re wishing it would happen right away. Unfortunately, even while we’re holding our precious and new baby in our arms, we are going to still look pregnant. We might even look like we're expecting for months after. That pregnancy weight is not about to disappear—especially as we are waiting for our insides to right themselves after making room for our baby. We find that our pregnancy clothes do not fit, but our pre-pregnancy clothes do not, either.
We feel huge, bloated. We hate the way we look in the mirror. We are so uncomfortable in our skin and we wish other people would understand that.
Parents reports that this is a common occurrence for new moms. It is not that we do not love the baby we created, but we want to feel good about ourselves, too. There are little changes that we can make overtime to start shedding the weight before we can workout again. Once we get the okay for physical activity, we can start with light exercise and minor dietary changes.
10 The Nostalgia Of Night
Witching hour; it is a nightmare. It makes everything we thought we knew about babies go right out the window. That nightly period of time where nothing—absolutely nothing—we do can appease our baby’s fussing, screaming, and overall sense of comfort.
We walk the halls rocking; our significant other tries singing... and feeding... and changing... and a bath—to no avail. We do everything.
No matter what we try, nothing changes. Eventually, our baby is crying and we’re crying because we just don’t understand how to help. We try to convince ourselves that it’s not our fault and that we are doing our best. We try to say she will outgrow it eventually. We even find ourselves picturing peaceful nights like we were used to before our baby was born. We do everything we can to just survive the night—only realizing we will do it all over again tomorrow.
Most babies experience this witching hour. According to The Bump, this can happen at any time, but generally happens to little ones over three weeks old and under twelve weeks old. This can occur because they do not have a set circadian rhythm, so the concept of daytime and nighttime does not exist for them. Once babies start to learn how they can self-soothe and self-entertain, it will be much more manageable.
9 The Crazy In The Crying
There is nothing like the sweet sound of our little baby’s cooing as she looks up at us. We cherish those moments—especially because we know they are going to be short-lived. Before we know it, she is going to be crying again. We know that our little baby’s cries mean something. It just becomes a guessing game to figure out exactly what it is that they mean. There are so many things. We know that one day we are going to be able to tell what her little sounds and her cries indicate—and be able to immediately address the issue.
Until then, we are stuck figuring it out. Trial and error.
We work through the cries as we realize it may be months before we have a grasp on our baby’s signals. According to What To Expect, there are seven different types of cries. It can vary from the baby crying because they are hungry to crying because they are sick. There are certain cues that parents can learn from the cries, but every baby will also have their own hints to why they are crying. It can be different tones, how long they cry for, and even their movements.
8 The Trouble With Trust
Trust our mother’s instinct. We hear that a lot. We know that mother’s instinct is a very real thing, but giving in and trusting it becomes a real issue when we bring our baby home. We find ourselves battling what our guts are telling us and what we read on the internet. We talk to other moms, we read up on articles, we talk to our doctors—and somehow it all conflicts with one another. Luckily, according to Parents, not trusting our instincts right away is almost like a right of passage.
We do not know where to turn to figure out what it is that our baby needs. We want to believe that we will figure it out on our—that the proverbial voice in the back of our head is going to steer us in the right direction.
We want nothing more than to make sure we do right by our little baby.
According to Parents, some moms will turn to experts because they do not trust their own judgment, but that is not always the best course of action. The more information we load our brains with, the cloudier our instincts will be. Trusting your gut is best; after all your baby did grow within you.
7 The Break From Breastfeeding
We read up on breastfeeding, so we know all the benefits. We are determined to make sure that we can give it our all to give our little baby all the nutrients she needs. But no one gave us the head’s up that when we bring that little girl home, she is going to want to nurse all the time!
They call it cluster feeding—a period of time when our baby is going to nurse frequently. It seems like some days we spend the whole day on the couch nursing.
We switch from side to side and back again. As we do, we are desperately hoping that this will be the last time—that she will fall asleep and we can finally take a break.
We are sore, hungry, and thirsty, and just need a few minutes of “me-time.”
According to Parents, there is no shame in taking a break in breastfeeding. It can be exhausting and can cause us great pain. This is when we should really utilize dad or our friends that want to babysit. Have bottles ready to go in your fridge, just in case you need some mommy me time. Taking a break will give your body the break that it needs so you can best provide for your child.
6 The Rocky In The Relationship
The entire nine months we’re pregnant it feels like we are in sync with our significant other. We are both excited and preparing for our baby’s arrival to the best of our abilities. He is reading books and we are sharing articles. We think that is going to last after the baby is born. Unfortunately, in those first few weeks, we find that thought is challenged.
Both of us are sleep deprived, stressed out and figuring out how to be parents. Parents reports that many new moms find themselves worrying about their relationship after the baby enters this world.
It is not a solo transition, but we find ourselves out of sync and not knowing how to help one another. Mom just wants a break; Dad wants to figure out bonding with his baby. Communication is strained as some days we do not know what we want. It takes a lot of work and some days we do not have that in us. Just like having “Mommy Me Time,” we need to put time aside for our relationship.
Whether a romantic dinner after baby goes to bed can be arranged—or even just a movie night with each other—it is important to connect with our partners. Discussing issues is much better than pretending everything is fine.
5 The Cleaning Fiasco
We spend so much time preparing for our baby—making sure that every little detail of our house is taken care of. It will make the transition to bringing our little baby home easy.It really does work!
Unfortunately, it is just not that easy to upkeep though. In the days and weeks—or even months—that follow, we struggle to find a routine. We spend countless hours taking care of our little baby that when she finally falls asleep, we do not have the energy to do anything. We cannot even nap.
There are dishes to be done, counters to be cleaned, floors to be vacuumed. We know this. We just cannot find it in ourselves to get up and take care of it.
We make promises that we will do something tomorrow to fix it, but in reality—we highly doubt that’s going to happen.
Parents says if you can, hire someone to help clean your house. Recruiting our friends, in-laws, or family can even help. Everyone wants to lend a hand, so we should utilize them while we can. If we hire help, we should not feel ashamed. This will give us more time to rest and be the best mamas that we can be for our babies.
4 The Ways Of Worrying
The one thing no one prepares us for when we become parents is the amount of worrying that we are going to experience. Is the baby too warm? Is the house too cold? Is the way she is sleeping okay? Is she getting enough to eat?
Our days become an endless amount of anxiety! We want nothing more than to make sure our tiny baby has everything she needs and is taken care of to the best of our ability. We worry that we are not doing right by her in some aspect.
It is overwhelming, but it is normal we are told. Parents reports that it is normal as well. It is the twisted right of passage as new parents. It is exactly what parents are supposed to do—they worry about their kids. While we knew it, we just didn’t grasp the true depth of that feeling. Worrying makes it so our babies do not get neglected.
It helps train us to cater to their needs while learning what we should and should not to when they cry, eat, sleep, or play. We will always worry about our children, even as they grow older, but one day our worry will calm down so we can sleep.
3 The Duty Of Dad
As moms, we have nine months of being physically tied to our baby. During those nine months, we create a deep bond with our little baby and that is only strengthened by her sudden physical presence in our life.
We feel it the moment we hold our little ones in the hospital. Unfortunately, we have to come to understand, that’s not how it works for dad. Our partner is going to have it a lot harder because that instant tie from pregnancy is not there. ABC News reports that paternal bonds tend to develop at much slower rates than maternal bonds.
No doubt, he loves his little baby—but it is work for him to bond, to figure out parenting, and make it all work for him.
The feeding, the dirty diaper, the cry management—he will get there, but it takes time. Patience will be tested, but he will get there.
Even when dad does not feel bonded to the baby, he should still step up to help with things baby related. This is how the dad and baby can start bonding. Dads that vocalize these feelings are more likely to bond to the baby once they admit this. However, ABC News reports that most dads are ashamed of this, so they keep it quiet.
2 The Grabbing Of The Guests
When our fresh little baby comes out, we are all too aware that her immune system is fragile. The doctors and the nurses all tell us. We worry about germs—from the common cold to some very big, nasty ones. All we want to do is protect her. It becomes a battle when we have visitors come around.
Everyone wants to hold our little baby. They want to snuggle her, shower her with kisses—and expose her to all of their germs. Many of us want to tell them no. We do not want to play pass the baby. It is for her own good. However, we feel guilty if we speak the words. It feels like people will be upset with us if we do not let them manhandle our fresh and new little baby. We have to learn how to stand up to that feeling.
Huffington Post reports that we may feel incredibly protective of our baby, creating another reason that we do not want others to hold them. This is a primal instinct- we think that only we can protect our child. This goes back to following our instincts. If we do not want to pass off our baby, we should not feel pressured to. It may take some time before we trust others with our precious child.
1 The Pause Of Pain
Birth is definitely no breeze. The contractions, the laboring, the actual delivery—all of it is painful. So, no doubt, recovery is going to be painful as well. Our body has to heal from the ordeal. No matter how obvious it is that we were made for birth, it is still physically traumatic.
In the days and weeks that follow the birth of our little one, we find pain in new ways. We move and our stomachs hurt. We sit down and that hurts, too. We feel the pain to our very cores and it changes out we approach everything we do.
We have to learn to slow down—something that is challenging in our busy world. We want to pick up our lives where we left off before labor, but we have to tell ourselves we cannot do that.
We need to rest.
According to Very Well Family, there are a variety of ways to promote healing after giving birth. These methods can vary from sitz baths to different compresses. Some of us may need to use heating pads to help soothe the pain. In the end, it is worth it when we have that sweet baby in our arms.