Becoming a parent is one of a kind. You can read every baby book on the planet and still not be fully prepared for the experience of bringing a new human into this world. Here are a few things you probably wish you had known before you brought your baby home.
Photo: Suzanna Palmer
1. You can trust your gut.
Everyone – your mother-in-law, your bestie, the cashier at the grocery store – will have an opinion about the “right” way to do most everything when it comes to baby. Don’t second-guess yourself, and do what works for your family.
2. Babies are not a competition.
You’ll be tempted to compare e-v-e-r-y-thing baby with other moms. We’re talking sleeping schedules, timing of the first tooth and when baby rolls, crawls, walks, etc. Resist the urge. Your baby will do everything in his own sweet (and perfectly healthy) time.
3. A few newborn outfits are all you need.
In those early newborn stages, you’ll be too bleary eyed to change baby into all those cute newborn outfits anyway, so stick with the easy stuff: onesies and footie-pajamas. Also, buttons are the devil during middle of the night diaper changes. Zippers for the win.
4. You will sleep again.
It may feel like the merry-go-round of feedings and diaper changes will never end, but sleep will come again. Eventually.
Photo: Tom Piowaty Photography
5. Poop will become a “regular” topic of conversation.
It happens. You’ll talk about it a lot – and not just to your pediatrician – to your husband, your best friend, your childless friends. You won’t discriminate when it comes to Baby’s number twos.
6. Mom Bod is Real.
Reaching your pre-pregnancy weight does not mean your body will look the same as it did before baby. All the parts will be the same, but they’ll wiggle and jiggle in a whole new way. Hello, tiger belly and banana boobs.
Photo: Jennifer Chong via Flickr
7. It takes a village.
Surrounding yourself with other mamas who you can share this journey with you and offer support doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re smart.
8. Baby is #1.
It sounds obvious, but when you have to turn down an invitation to an event that will throw off baby’s schedule, ask Grandma to wash her hands before holding baby, or remind visitors to take off their shoes, things can get awkward. Baby’s well-being always come first. No apologies necessary.
9. Everything is a phase.
Feeling like a hot mess as baby works his way through teething, sleep regression and every other challenging phase? Hang in there. Those tough days feel like an eternity, but they’ll be over soon.
Photo: Suzanna Palmer
10. Dad still needs loving, too.
When you’ve got a tiny human relying on you every. second. of. the. day, it’s easy to forget about the big human who helped you create her. Be as intentional about loving him as you are about caring for baby. (Okay, maybe even half as intentional will do.)
11. Postpartum love-making is scary.
When doc gives you the “all-clear” at your six-week appointment, you probably won’t be anxious to rush home and jump in the sack. When you think about what came out of there a few weeks ago, sticking something else in just isn’t that appealing. Getting back to a pre-delivery comfort level takes time.
Photo: Ian D. Keating via Flickr
12. Feelings can’t be trusted.
Post-delivery mood swings are legit. That voice telling you to run away to some remote island in Bermuda isn’t.
13. You don’t need a lot of “stuff.”
A wipes warmer, changing table, bouncer and swing can make parent life a whole lot easier, but the only true essentials are milk, diapers, warm clothing and a whole lot of love.
Join in the conversation: What are some things you wish you knew before having your first baby?