I have been in my stepsons lives since the youngest was one, so I wasn’t too worried about how good of a mother I would be when I was pregnant for the first time with our son. I had changed plenty of poopy diapers, dried many tears and learned about way more superheroes than I ever knew existed. I even made emergency trips to the nearest store when there was a melt down because somehow every one of the 10 pacifiers we had in our house magically disappeared. I was confident that I would be good at this whole mom thing. I mean, I already had 7 years of experience.
I knew that being a mom to a newborn would come with a different set of challenges, but there were some things that I was surprised I didn’t know. Here are 5 of them.
1. Breastfeeding is not always as easy as it may seem.
Before I had our son, I was so excited about breastfeeding. After all they say “breast is best” and of course I wanted what is best for my son! I had my pump ready to go and bags in the cupboard just waiting to be filled with milk. I thought that I was going to produce so much, and it was going to benefit our baby’s health, as well as save us a ton of money on formula. What I didn’t know was that our son was going to have latching issues, and wouldn’t take. I tried pumping for the first month, but my body didn’t even produce an ounce per session. I gave him the little I had, along with formula. After he finished eating I would pump for a half hour. By the time I was done, and cleaned the pump and accessories it was time to feed him again. It felt like an endless cycle. The first few weeks it was like I barely left his nursery. I ended up giving up and felt like a total failure until I read about other women’s experiences with similar issues. It was nice to know that it is pretty common. My son has barely had any breastmilk, and is healthy and thriving at 3 months. A fed baby is best!
2. Newborns are terrifying.
I was terrified of our son the first few weeks of his life. Born at 6lbs, 19in he was so little and so fragile. I was afraid that I was going to break him. I would get up and walk with him to his nursery, and imagine different scenarios where I would accidentally drop him, or something would fall off of a shelf and into his Rock n’ Play. I was terrified to set him down, and hated having to get up with him. Sleeping was the worst. When I did sleep, I would wake up every half hour to make sure he was still breathing. I was finally able to get some peace of mind when I started using the Snuza baby monitor. Every time my husband and I drove somewhere, I sat in the back seat. If I was driving alone with the baby, I had one hand on his cheek every 5 minutes to tickle him so I could see him move in the baby mirror. I am not sure if many moms are this paranoid, but I sure was!
3. Getting a newborn dressed is a challenge if you do not know the proper way to do it.
I will never forget the first time I got our son dressed. He was a special care nursery baby ( which is one step down from the NICU), so I did not get him dressed the first few times at the hospital. It wasn’t until he was discharged to my room the day we got to go home when I finally had the chance to put him into one of the many cute little outfits we brought to the hospital. My husband went downstairs to the pharmacy to get my scripts, and I said I would change our son into his going home outfit. In case no one has told you, getting a newborn dressed is not as easy as it may seem. I had a long sleeve onesie to put on under his going home outfit since he was born in early January, and the temperature was in the low 30s. I took the onesie, and tried to put it over his head, but it kept getting stuck over his face. I thought I was going to either :
A.) Break his neck trying to tug that stupid onesie down.
B.) Suffocate him.
I failed. I sat there contemplating what to do next. Maybe I could just wait for my husband to come back since he probably knew what to do being he already had two kids. But I couldn’t wait. It was too cold. I decided to try to put the onesie on him by putting his feet in through the neck hole first. That didn’t work either. Long story short, the correct way (in case you don’t know) to get a newborn, or any baby for that matter dressed is by bunching up the onesie, and putting it over his or her head by lifting up the head and angling the bunched up onesie so it goes over the back of the baby’s head before it goes over his or her forehead.
4. No matter how organized you think you are, your house is going to look like a tornado ripped through it at some point.
My house was not ready for baby. He was 2.5 weeks early, and it was a complete surprise to all of us since I had been showing no signs of impending labor leading up to the morning that my water broke. Luckily my mom and sister came over after he was born, and helped us finish up organizing the nursery. Even after it was organized, it became a mess over and over again. The boy isn’t even old enough to walk yet, and there are times where his nursery is messier than his 8 year old brothers room! Babies are a lot of work, a lot of messes and a lot of laundry! Plus it is hard to clean any of the house when you are constantly feeding the baby, rocking him, and enjoying as many baby snuggles that you can get in while you can.
5. You are going to have many questions.
You are going to have SO many questions. I don’t know how many times I have called my sons pediatrician with questions. How do I treat his cough and runny nose? His temperature is slightly elevated, should he come in? He has a blocked tear duct, what do I do? Is his head too flat? At first, I felt silly for asking so many questions. But then I realized the nurses line is there for this very reason, and his pediatrician encourages questions at his well visits. I don’t think there will ever be a time where I do not have questions!
Becoming a mom doesn’t come with a manual, and there are always going to be things that you have to figure out along the way. Hopefully my experience with the 5 things above helped you in some way!
What is something you didn’t know about parenting that you had to find out for yourself?