Preparing for a new baby is no joke. Women often begin the process of baby prep immediately following the confirmation of pregnancy. There are roughly three minutes between looking at the pink pregnancy stick and getting onto Pinterest to start designing the little one's dream nursery.
For forty weeks straight, mommies-to-be throw themselves into baby books, pregnancy blogs, chat forums and podcasts. They immerse themselves into TLC and Discovery Channel television shows highlighting the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth. Moms and dads sign up for labor and delivery classes, baby basics courses and even CPR tutorials. When the big day comes, they are confident that this whole parenting thing will be an absolute breeze, after all, they just trained for this chapter in life like it was the Boston Marathon.
Three days later they crawl through the front door of their own home with a helpless infant in tow. That is when reality hits hard and raw. You forgot things. You know nothing about how to navigate the often choppy waters of parenthood. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared you for the newborn days. Here are 20 things that moms didn't prepare for when bringing the baby home. Whoops!
20 The House Will Resemble A Mess (And You Won't Care)
It's kind of amazing how much "stuff" a six-pound newborn can acquire in those first few weeks of life. What was once an adult sanctuary of sorts will transform into a war zone of brightly colored plastic something-or-others overnight.
New moms will often gaze upon their family rooms and see a pack and play, a bouncy chair, a floor mat, blankies, a swing, bins of toys (for later use) and baby bottles littered about. What happened here? A baby happened, that's what! Get used to this new "decor" because the Fisher Price look isn't going anywhere for many years to come.
19 It's A Whole Different Ball Game With No Help
Think back to a few days prior, when you were laid up in your hospital bed as nurses and hospital staff tended to your every need. All you wanted was your space and privacy. You probably spent the hospital days counting down the minutes until you and the baby could bust through those hospital doors and head on home right? Oh my, the grass is always greener on the other wide isn't it?
Once you get home, no one is asking you what you want for breakfast lunch or dinner. There is no nurse to bring you meds and tend to your wounds. Nobody cares if you need an apple juice refill or another pillow or blanket to stay comfortable. Suddenly the hospital stay seems like a stint in a Ritz Carlton.
18 Sibling Jealousy Is A Real Thing
Even moms who have been around the parenting block before will be unprepared for some of the roadblocks that await them at home. Moms who have just birthed their second baby might be better prepared for the sleepless nights, the aches and pains of post labor and the impending messes, but they might not be ready for the sibling jealousy that is lurking behind their front door.
Little ones don't always take too kindly to being usurped by a newborn, and no matter how many ways you attempt to explain to them that you love them both equally, they won't be hearing it. Adjusting to meeting the demands of two children, not just one can throw moms for a loop.
17 You're Going To Be Sore For A While
There are a few mommies out there who bounce right back after having a baby. Within days they are prancing around like a human didn't just burst forth from their womb. These women are unicorns, don't plan on being one. The vast majority of women who go through delivery will be left with a beautiful baby and a boatload of pain.
There will be ample amounts of uterine pain, resulting from contractions, cesarean section pain if that was what went down, or pain down below for obvious reasons. The milk machines will ache, and you'll begin to wonder if you will ever feel normal again. The good news is yes, you will. The bad news is not immediately. Healing takes time.
16 You'll Love Having People Visit
The motherhood experience is magical, amazing, eye-opening and sometimes very isolating. Those first few weeks at home with your baby can feel lonely and even a little bit scary. The days feel long, and you will start to pray for some company.
I remember practically standing in the driveway waiting for my husband to pull up after his workday so that I had an adult to interact with. Welcome those eager visitors, so long as they are healthy. Family and friends will gladly offer their companionship, and they might even let you sneak away for a catnap or a shower!
15 Those Crazy Cluster Feedings
Chances are you were more than prepared to spend a large chunk of your time nursing your newborn. You likely read up on the frequency of feedings and are more than prepared to give up the milk every 3 hours or so.
Just when you think you might have the whole breastfeeding thing down, you infant will hit you with the cluster feed. Cluster feeding is when a new baby bunches their meals very close together at certain times of the day. No one can be entirely prepared for having a human attached to their chest for hours at a time! Babies are full of fun surprises like this.
14 The Girls Are Going To Change
Sure you are aware that following your delivery your tatas will fill with milk so that you can nurse your infant, but until you go through this mammary change, you won't be prepared for what is in store.
When your milk comes in, it really comes in. Think The Hoover Dam breaking. Suddenly your chest is rock hard and sore and two sizes larger than you remember. If you don't release that milk frequently, it will only get worse. Your milk machines won't just fill and ache; they will leak and squirt when you least expect it! They indeed take on a life all their own.
13 You'll Be More Tired Than You Thought Was Possible
Plenty of mothers who have done the newborn stint before you will warn you that you are about to experience a kind of exhaustion that before having a baby you never could have imagined possible.
You are likely aware that being tired comes with the territory of motherhood, but no one can warn you that you'll be so tired you'll start praying for five-minute naps. Newborns aren't the world's greatest sleepers, and even when they do sleep, that doesn't always mean that you will. By the end of the day, your bed will look like a mirage in the middle of the desert.
12 The Six-Week Leak
When you delivered your baby, all sorts of fluids came gushing out of your body. Most women expect this to occur, but they don't always expect it to continue for the next six weeks or so. This discharge is called lochia, and it can contain blood, mucus, and uterine tissue from the female body.
Your body will continue to rid itself of this lochia over the next month or two. New mothers can expect this discharge to start out heavy and dark and lighten up in color and flow as time trudges on. Invest in sanitary pads before walking through the front door mamas!
11 The Baby Blues Are Rough
The baby blues can hit a new mother like a ton of bricks. One moment you are euphoric over your little addition to the family and the next minute you are sitting in the shower sobbing, and you have no clue why. You are likely experiencing the baby blues, which is pretty standard and a less severe form of postpartum depression.
Roughly 70-80% of new mothers experience some negative feelings after the birth of their baby, so you are not alone in this. Thanks, hormones. What a pal you are. If the baby blues become more sinister, severe and lasting longer than a few weeks, don't be afraid to reach out to loved ones and your doctor for help.
10 You'll Start Having Dreams Of Diapers
There is no way to get around the constant diaper changes that will accompany life with a newborn baby ladies. If you are having a baby, then you are going to be changing more than a few diapers. Sure moms-to-be know what diaper changes are a distinct part of mothering an infant, but some moms aren't particularly prepared for the number of nappies a new baby will go through in a day.
New parents will change about ten diapers a day! That's seventy Pampers a week guys! Not only is this going to take up a lot of your new mommy time, but it's going be very expensive too.
9 You'll Watch Your Sleeping Baby Like A Hawk
Before the baby arrives, you assume that you'll sleep when she sleeps. Just feed her, change her, swaddle her up and then the two of you can doze off for a few hours right? Wrong!
Many mothers feel the need to watch their infant sleep, to make sure that they are breathing. SIDS is about the most important thing a new mother can think of, and plenty of mamas will insist on watching those tiny chests move up and down for the entirety of the baby's nap. With my first daughter, I felt convinced that if I left her sleeping side for even a second, things would go wrong. It took her a good month to recognize my irrational fears and adjust my hawk-like habits.
8 A Shower Will Make You Feel Like A New Woman
A hot shower can be a life-changing for a new mom. Babies require a whole lot of attention in those initial weeks, and moms needs often get pushed to the side. One day mom glances in the bathroom mirror and struggles to recognize the face staring back at her.
Her hair is limp and greasy, the bags under her eyes could carry at least two weeks worth of groceries, and there are two-day old milk stains on her stretched out sleep shirt. This is motherhood guys. When you see this stranger looking at you in the mirror, GET IN THE SHOWER. It really will make you feel like a new woman
7 Babies Don't Always Nap In Long Stretches
Little ones do a whole lot of sleeping in those initial weeks of life. A typical newborn will sleep for 16-17 hours in a day, but don't be surprised if those snooze sessions aren't coming in large chunks of time. Many babies "catnap," or sleep for small periods of time all throughout the day.
Essentially this leaves mom with no time to get much of anything done, and that is a frustrating notion. Some babies throw another curveball into the mix and refuse to close their eyes during the evening hours. If you have a little nocturnal sweetie on your hands, enlist the help of family and friends. Plenty of folks will be more than happy to cuddle your bug while you catch up on some rest.
6 Tummy Time Training Starts Immediately
Moms, it is imperative that you provide your baby with tummy time. Tummy time will help to strengthen your little guy's neck and upper body so that he is ready to take on the world when he grows older.
Like many mothers, I was well aware that tummy time was a non-negotiable must for my kiddos, but I had no clue that this infant exercise regiment was supposed to start from birth! Experts recommend that parents start tummy time soon after birth, allowing for 1 to 2 minutes of strengthening exercises2-3 times per day. Oops. Sorry kids.
5 Feeding Will Take Over 90% Of Your Life
The second you step through your front door with your newborn baby, you sacrifice your human identify and resume life as a superhero. Your new superpower is feeding, and you are about it provide meals to your six-pound life-boss for 24 hours a day.
New mommies are food machines, and they will be nursing, pumping, preparing, and washing out bottles for almost all of their waking hours. Babies want to wat often, and their means of conveying this need to you is to scream at the top of their tiny lungs. Put on your cape and get to work mommies.
4 Baby Baths Will Make You Stressed
When you had your baby shower a few months ago, you likely received all sorts of sweet bath time gifts. Your family and friends probably showered you with hooded towels, rubber duckies, plastic baths and tons of tiny washcloths. I bet you have been jonesing to give your new baby a little spa session for some time now. Once the umbilical stump falls off, bath time is a go; the problem is it can be a lot more intimidating once the slippery infant is out of your womb and in a tub of water.
To make bath time easier, and lower your blood pressure a smidge, remember to lay towels on the floor for when it is time to transport your newborn from his bath. Always start with the face and head and work your way down to the dirtier body parts and never, EVER take your eyes off of your baby while he is in the tub.
3 You'll Never Keep Track Of Baby Socks
Grown people can't manage to not lose socks in the dryer, so do you expect that infant socks are going to make it longer than one week? Try as you might, you will never keep baby socks and infant mittens from disappearing after one use.
It's maddening to try and match them up only to realize that about 7 of the 40 socks have gone rogue, never to be seen again. Buy these items in bulk before the baby is born and consider them to be disposable. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself nuts trying to track them down on laundry day.
2 A Trip To The Grocery Store Will Be Like A Navy Seal Mission
Once the pain of your delivery has faded slightly, you will probably be more than ready to break out of your home and find some resemblance of normalcy. If you decide to take Junior along to the grocery store with you, prepare for the excursion to be less than perfect.
That first grocery store outing will feel like a Navy Seal mission. Your task, should you choose it, is to shoot into the store, throw random things into your cart, and get out of there before your baby explodes into tears, or poops, or before your milk machines explode because it's now been more than 2 hours since your baby's last nursing session. Consider signing up for a delivery grocery service people.
1 The Dirty Laundry Pile Will Look Like Mount Everest
How can such a small human being create so much dirty laundry? It's a common question that new mothers and fathers will ask themselves in the days and weeks following their babies' births. Infants go through a tremendous amount of clothing. They spit up, leak out of their diapers and do their best to run through every single outfit in their entire closet every few days.
Babies can create mountains of laundry for their parents without even trying. If your superpower is feeding, then this is your baby's superpower. Load your laundry room up with tons of detergent; I promise you it will not go to waste.