Having a new baby is one of the most magical but overwhelming experiences of anyone’s life. There’s a lot to learn in the first few months of having a new baby, and no matter how prepared you were, there will always be something to learn that you didn’t know about first. Some will become relatable mom moments you’ll laugh about, but others can be scary. Here are some things that nobody tells you about having a new baby and being a new mother.
You Will Bleed For A Few Weeks After The Birth
Somehow, no matter how many pregnancy and parenting books you read in preparation, the information that they will bleed for a while after birth doesn’t reach a lot of first-time mothers.
You might have been prepared to be tender and sore, but you will also experience bleeding like a heavy, clot-filled period. This is normal. The large pads they gave you at the hospital are the best way to deal with this. If you are worried, see your doctor.
You’ll Still Look Pregnant
You will still look pregnant after you give birth, even though you aren’t anymore. When you give birth, your body won’t immediately shrink back to the way it was before you got pregnant. Your stomach is likely to stay round and swollen for a little while after you give birth. Some of this is extra pounds, but it’s mostly because your uterus needs time to contract in size. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
Breastfeeding Is Not Intuitive
There’s a common belief that women naturally understand how to breastfeed. In fact, breastfeeding must be learned and even practiced. If you decide to breastfeed, you will learn through trial and error. It can even be painful at first. If you aren’t getting it right, try not to beat yourself up about this. It’s normal.
Ask for help from lactation consultations, books, friends, and the internet. Pain should be checked out; it could sign a shallow latch, a tongue-tied baby, or a clogged duct. There’s no shame in asking for help, or deciding that breastfeeding isn’t for you at al.
Breastfeeding Can Make You Feel Really Hungry
We all know about pregnancy cravings, but many pregnant women experience the opposite and struggle to eat much while pregnant. They feel repulsed by a lot of foods, and finding a growing person inside you makes you feel full quicker.
Instead, you may experience cravings during breastfeeding. Breastfeeding burns calories, so it makes sense that you’re hungry. However, you may feel more than hungry and experience intense cravings for all kinds of foods.
Swaddling Is Hard
In theory, wrapping a baby comfortably in a blanket sounds easy. But the reality of trying to wrap a tiny, screaming, wriggling person into a blanket is much harder. Babies have surprisingly strong arms and legs, they won’t stay still, and you’ll be trying to do this when really tired.
When you’ve finally wrestled them in, they seem to masters of escaping their swaddling. You will get better with practice, but it is a tough skill to master.
A Moment Will Come When You Realise Your Pre-Baby Life Is Gone Forever
This moment usually happens about a week or two after you have returned home with a newborn baby. You haven’t slept well since before you went into labor. Your nipples are sore, swollen, and dribbling milk. The realization often comes in the middle of the night when you’re trying to soothe a screaming baby enough to get it to sleep so that you can sleep too.
It will dawn on you. This is your life now. You can’t send the baby back to the store. This is it. This moment of realization is often scary, tiring, and demoralizing. Don’t be ashed of feeling this way or long for the days before you were a mother. It was fun to have more freedom. It’s okay to mourn your previous self and to feel overwhelmed by how much things have changed.
Speak to family and friends to get help to cope with what’s happening to you. If the feeling continues for too long or begins to shift to postnatal depression, seek professional help.
You Will Google Everything
You’ll find yourself turning to Google for all kinds of things, at all hours of the day and night. Your new baby will do something that you haven’t seen before or something that worries you, so you’ll take to Google to find out if it’s normal.
You’ll also find yourself searching for answers on Facebook groups, message boards, and Mommy blogs. When you find yourself searching, ‘when to cut your baby’s hair,’ at 3 am, don’t worry. It’s normal to seek all kinds of answers.
Sometimes You Forget You Have A Baby
Having a baby is a life-changing experience, of course, but in the early days of having a newborn, you may find yourself completely forgetting that you have a baby now. You can probably put this down to not getting anywhere near enough sleep.
On the other end of the spectrum, there will be days when you check on the baby every few seconds, and sit and watch them sleep for no reason. Both are normal. Don’t worry.
Slings, Carriers, And Wraps Are Confusing
You just gave birth, and now you’re expected to take a long strip of stretchy cloth, and figure out how to safely wrap it around you and your baby to make it into a baby carrier. These wraps can be very confusing, no matter how much you practice.
Carriers can be just as confusing and annoying t use. Some will be too heavy, some will hurt your back, some will rub on c-section scars, and some will just seem impossible to fit a baby into. A sling might be easier, but you may worry the baby isn’t secure.
Practice makes perfect, and you will find the best solution for you.
You Might Never Want To Leave The House
Don’t worry if your instincts tell you to stay in forever. You haven’t suddenly become a shut-in, you’re just a new mom. You will feel comfortable going out again soon. You don’t need to head straight out in those first few days of coming home with a baby. One of the reasons it might put you off is that it takes so long to prepare to leave the house with a baby.
Feeding the baby, changing their diaper, getting the baby and all their belongings into a stroller, and getting yourself ready takes a while, and might feel too exhausting to contemplate. Stay at home. Relax, and enjoy your time with your baby. When you’re ready to go out, you can.
Maternity Jeans Will Just Be Your Jeans
You won’t be able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe straight away, so you may find yourself popping your maternity jeans back on, and then never wanting to take them off again. Some women keep wearing them for up to a year after they give birth.
As your body recovers, your maternity jeans might fit better and feel more comfortable. You can bet if you confess this to your new mom friends, lots of them will be wearing maternity jeans too.
You Might Drop Your Phone On Your Baby’s Head
Phones are a godsend for breastfeeding mothers. If you’re up in the small hours of the morning, trying to stay awake while feeding your baby, loading up an old episode of something on your phone can really help. However, you might then catch yourself either using your baby’s head like a phone rest or might altogether drop your phone on your baby’s head.
You’ll feel terrible if you catch yourself doing this, but don’t worry. Babies are more resilient than you might think, and it’s unlikely that you’ll hurt them by dropping your phone on them. Babies and toddlers will have accidents but are almost always perfectly alright afterward. If you are worried, remember that you can call your pediatrician at any time of the day or night to ask for reassurance. That’s their job.
What Nobody Tells You About Having A New Baby
The first weeks and months of motherhood are a steep learning curve. You will get things wrong, but this is normal. Build a strong support network around you, your partner, pediatrician, family, and friends to help you through the stages where you don’t think you know what you’re doing and worry that you’re a bad mom.
You are not a bad mom, only a new one who is still learning how to do things. Remember that babies are resilient, so your mistakes won’t hurt them, and they won’t remember the times you dropped your phone on them, cried because you couldn’t swaddle them, or forgot they existed for a moment. As you get more practice as a mother, you’ll make fewer mistakes and find that caring for a baby will soon come naturally.
If you are a new mom in need of helpful tips, here are some recommendations for you:
- Find a suitable crib mattress for your bundle of joy.
- Learn how babies can learn music while sleeping.
- Read about how to balance work and family as a new mom.