Having a baby is an exciting and joyous event in any woman’s life, but people don’t always tell you everything that having a baby entails.
What No One Tells You about Having a Baby
Here are 10 surprising facts about having a baby.
1. You’ll still look pregnant for several months after you give birth. Even if you were a marathon-running, obsessive exercising machine before you got pregnant, it’s going to take some time before your uterus shrinks back to normal. You will still look six or seven months pregnant right after you have a baby. Try not to snap at strangers who ask you, “So when are you due?”
For a majority of women, it takes them at least a year before they return to their pre-pregnancy size. Some women never go back to their original weight. (Don’t be misled by the supermodels who look amazingly fit within two months of giving birth. They probably starved and exercised like crazy to regain their shape; all while nannies and other people took care of their kids.)
2. You might not be madly in love with your newborn at first. Not all new mothers have an immediate bond with their newborn babies. For some women, it takes weeks (and sometimes months) before they feel that gut-wrenching “If you hurt my baby, I will hunt you down” mama love.
Some women do sense an immediate protectiveness of their new baby, but it’s not the sensation of love and warmth that they want to feel. Postpartum anxiety and depression can play a role in whether or not you have that immediate connection. However, keep in mind, your hormones are all over the place after you give birth. But once you spend more time with your newborn, and once you get to know him or her, you’ll soon fall in love and give him or her lots of hugs and kisses.
3. Breastfeeding is natural, but it can be hard to grasp. Breastfeeding your baby is the natural method of feeding him or her, but it’s an acquired – not natural – skill. Nursing can be difficult to master for some women. Latching and positioning aren’t always easy. Fortunately, there are many lactation consultants available at hospitals and birthing centers that can help!
4. Everyone will have an opinion. Having a baby will cause every person you know to give you tidbits and parenting advice. From your sister to your mother to the stranger on the street, everyone has an opinion on anything baby related. If you choose cloth diapers vs disposable diapers, chances are someone will have an opinion. If you choose to baby wearing, you’ll hear an earful about the dangers of baby slings. If you choose to bottle feed, you’ll hear “the breast is best” comments. If you don’t agree with their opinion, simply nod your head and smile. Everyone has a different parenting style.
5. You won’t “sleep when baby sleeps.” Everyone has heard the bit of advice, “Sleep when baby sleeps,” and it’s a nice thought. But it rarely happens in reality. For most parents, the moment they put their baby down for a nap, they try to quickly finish the chores or tasks they couldn’t do before. And once they get a few items crossed off your “to do” list, it’s nearly time for baby to wake up.
6. “Baby brain” will replace the “pregnancy brain.” Having a baby usually makes you more forgetful. You are going to be so busy that you will lose all kinds of things – from your cell phone to your car key to your wallet. You’ll probably find them eventually, but it will be frustrating to have to search all over the house for these everyday items. You might also find that you tend to forget important events (like birthdays) after you have a baby.
7. You’ll be amazed at how many diapers your baby will go through. First-time moms are surprised at how many diapers their baby goes through in one day. You might have bought a package or two of newborn sized diapers, and a nice friend made a lovely diaper cake for you. You figured this would be enough to last at least a month, right? Then, after having a baby, he or she turns out to be a pooping machine, and the diapers are gone in less than a week. So stock up on lots and lots of diapers, mom!
8. You’re going to constantly checking the crib to make sure he or she is still breathing. It’s a typical new parent reaction. SIDS is always a scary possibility, especially since there’s no root cause in most cases. After you bring your baby home, you’re going to be spending a lot of time sneaking into his or her room and just watching your baby sleep, making sure that he or she is still breathing. This is a normal reaction, and it just shows how caring of a mom you are. No – you aren’t a crazy lady!
9. It sudden dawns on you that your first baby was your dog. Strange but true – after a woman has a baby, it may dawn on her that she treated her dog like a baby. Before you gave birth, your beloved puppy was the center of your world. You may have organized doggie play dates, carried photos of him in your wallet (or even started a blog about him. Personally, I have a blog for my Shih Tzu Puppy – Tails and Misadventures.)
Once your baby arrives, your beloved pooch is going to get a demotion. No matter how much you love your “fur-baby,” you will feel guilty about not devoting enough time with him or her.
10. Baby books aren’t reliable. It doesn’t matter how many baby books, or pregnancy and baby websites you visit, but all their tips and advice may not work for you. Each parent has a different style, and your baby may be fussier than most. Or he or she may be happier, and not need as much coaxing when it comes to sleep. Each baby is different, so baby books might not be as reliable. Theory is much different than experience, you know?!
What has surprised you most about having a baby?