10 Things You Should Know About Babies

10 Things You Should Know About Babies

When I was pregnant with my first child, ten years and a million sleepless nights ago, I went about pregnancy the same way I had gone about my college courses: by reading everything I could get my hands on, studying notes, attending classes, and joining message boards. I was always a great student — and definitely an overachiever — and now I intended to get an A-plus in Motherhood 101.

I diligently attended my birthing classes, toured the hospital, and dragged my husband to the breastfeeding prep class. I washed all the bodysuits and the gowns in hypoallergenic, dye- and scent-free detergent. I practiced my kegels.

Then, I had a baby.

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And, like postpartum women everywhere, I found myself in my bed, body fluids oozing from far and near, stitches in places I didn’t know I had, my breasts growing at an exponential and alarming rate, my hormones crashing down around me, and all I could think was, “Nobody told me about this. There was no chapter that said anything about this!”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

The answer is simple: because I didn’t want to hear it. The truth is, when I was pregnant, I only wanted to talk about pregnancy and childbirth and strollers and Diaper Genies. No one told me that birth was only, literally, the beginning. I can’t blame a universal motherhood conspiracy, though; I would not have listened.

Here are ten things I wish someone had told me — and I wish that I had heard:

1. The first time you see or hold your baby, you might not hear angel choirs in the distance. You might have a doctor still halfway up your body stitching you, or a nurse pumping your stomach to help you deliver your placenta. You might be in a lot of pain. You might be more exhausted than you have ever been in your whole life. It’s okay if you don’t hear the angels. There will be time to have those magic moments with your new baby.

2. After you deliver, your first trip to the bathroom will be an event. Don’t be embarrassed to let someone help you there; do not risk passing out alone. Be prepared that this is only the beginning of your loss of dignity as a mother. After all, you will have years ahead of you during which you will not be able to visit the potty alone. Might as well start now.

3. Breastfeeding is hard. It takes a little while to get used to the “holds” and find the one that works best for you and your likely hysterically screaming newborn. Whether you are doing it right or not, breastfeeding hurts at the beginning. Sometimes a lot. My nipples cracked and bled with my first baby. Engorgement was scary and extremely uncomfortable. My breasts radiated heat and actually pulsed. But my lactation consultant was my knight in lanolin-coated shining armor, and after the first two weeks, breastfeeding became more comfortable and much more manageable. Also: if breastfeeding is not for you or if it just doesn’t work out, that is — REALLY — fine. In the end, the way you feed your baby is inconsequential compared to the way you love your baby.

4. On your fourth day postpartum, you will most likely cry. A lot. This is usually when your hormones crash. This is the day when you will be certain that your life is over, that your partner is a jerk, and that you cannot do anything right. You’ll cry just because. You’re allowed. (BUT — if you continue to cry and continue to feel down, seek help pronto.)

5. If at all possible, do not put on real clothes for at least two weeks. Once you get out of your pajamas, people start expecting you to be competent. Wear clean, fresh pajamas if you must, but stay in our pajamas unless you want to cook and clean and entertain visitors along with the bleeding, oozing, leaking, and caring for another human life parts of the first two weeks.

6. Babies don’t always sleep. This is not the result of Something You Did Because You Are Already a Failure as a Parent. These same babies will, eventually, sleep. Promise. You cannot ruin them for life. Other parents will tell you their babies are sleeping. I promise you they are a) stretching the truth, b) defining “sleep” differently than you do, c) still due for sleep disruptions, or d) flat-out lying. You will face these same alternate versions of parental realities again when you talk to other parents about potty-training and reading further down the road. Seriously, babies are as different as adults. Some sleep better than others. But they all struggle sometimes. Your child will sleep sooner or later.

7. Don’t let anyone make you think you don’t know your own baby best, and don’t let anyone make you think you’re not doing a good job. There is no one right way to parent and there are many ways to be a good parent. Related: You don’t have to do what your mom, mother-in-law, or grandmother did. Listen to your gut.

8. Find support — neighborhood groups, breastfeeding groups, hospital new mom groups, whatever you can find. Networking with other new mothers can be a crucial lifeline, even if you go back to work after your maternity leave. Having a newborn is like going off to college for the first time — you need to find other newbie freshmen so you can all be clueless together.

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9. Don’t be a martyr. Kids don’t visit martyrs for the holidays when they grow up. Hire someone or beg your friends to come and hold the baby while you shower and nap sometimes. It’s not easy to adjust to being a mom. One day, you are a person just taking care of yourself; the next day, you can’t button your shirt straight. Don’t be afraid to say, “This is hard,” or “this sucks!” It is hard and it does suck sometimes. That doesn’t mean you aren’t 110% grateful for the blessing of a baby or completely in love with your child.

10. Take lots of pictures (and get in them), because you won’t remember much of this later. Trust me.

More than anything, I wish someone had told me this: The first year of your first time being a mother is like nothing you will ever experience again, no matter how many children you have. Every day is a miracle. Every day is a journey. Every day might seem like it lasts 100 hours. There are lights at the end of every tunnel, but you won’t know it. You will never again feel like you are getting an A-plus. You will be forever changed. At some point, you will realize that “nobody ever told you” because some things you have to experience for yourself; There’s no book or class or even little old lady in the grocery store who can tell you what to really expect when you’re expecting.

Related post: 26 Reasons I’ve Cried Since Having a Baby

About the writer

@allisonstate

Allison is a writer and a mother of four children. Her writing can be found at her own blog, Allison Slater Tate, on Facebook, and Twitter.

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Debbie Hogan 2 weeks ago

So very true, and as I am a mother of adult children I had a chuckle at many of the things you described.. been there done that…thank you .

Darian Spaeth 3 months ago

I was hoping to find something on the internet that would make me feel better about my situation, unfortunately i feel worse. Truth hurts i guess….

dezz 3 months ago

Thank you :)

Amber 4 months ago

The one thing I realized that most people don’t know is younger kids unless they’re immeadiate family won’t be able to come in the room. At least that’s how it was at our local hospital.

April 6 months ago

Number #4 is where I currently am, exactly 4 days pp and I just want to cry, I’ve got great family support but I feel like I’m going to breakdown any minute.
I need to remind myself things will get better.

jocelyn 6 months ago

I would like to have a other children. I am trying to get pregnant.

Patricia Cruz 6 months ago

I just love this article. I’m about to give birth in a month and I was tear jerky and laughing while reading this. Thank you! I could give you a hug! :)

sandy 7 months ago

Thanks! i decided to get an abortion upon reading your article, it helped me to decide a lot, what a terrible thing to go through! I’m happy to be childless! thank you for telling the truth sweety, you are very brave too!

Julie 7 months ago

I am a photographer and #7 is the hardest for new moms. I know you don’t like the extra baby weight that still lingers and you are a mess from the sleepless night before but you’re child will not care about anything other then that they have a picture with you! You can always talk to you’re photographer about what you want to avoid showing and they will work with you to get you what you want.

Nikki 7 months ago

Thank you for the positive and blunt truth. It is absolutely amazing having my beautiful boy (2nd child). Also on the other hand, it is SO HARD.
My story goes I had my baby on the 23rd of December of 2014 and 4 hours after delivery I stormed out of the hospital. They tried to hold us there and called CPS and hospital security and LET ME JUST TELL YOU…NOTHING HAPPENED!! They CANNOT hold you or your baby “hostage”. We are pursuing legal action. Just be confident. I had an epidural and as soon as I could walk I was out of there. I also made a nurse cry because she hadn’t had her lunch yet, to which I said, “lady, nothing personal…i haven’t eaten in almost 3 days and I just delivered a baby so buzz off.” So then it was happy smiles and whatnot back home. I came home and cleaned my house after delivery because my pet pigs had gotten out of their gated area. (Like 5 hours post delivery with stitches, a baby, and highly emotional) But then things took a turn for the worst. my husband left for work for one week the day after Christmas. He was 3 days old. I was afraid to ask for help and I literally worked my butt off. My parents are useless and out of the picture and have been. I had my In-laws and my doula. These were people I called and asked for help (and my mother in law gets a special shout out because she was always there when she said she was going to be there but didn’t come to the house at all but bought groceries and planned my daughters birthday party for me) but every other person took advantage of my time and said they wee coming and I’d clean up and no one would show. Happened four or five times with multiple people, who I still love and don’t resent for it. (You have to understand life happens and you can’t choose or determine everything in life. Even though you totally won’t see it that way at first. You will be pissed and slam doors and then wake your baby then be even more mad.) my daughter (who turned ten on Dec 27) who I had home with me and needed my special attention.
I can sort of wrap this long drawn out explanation with, nothing EVER goes according to plan. The best thing to do is not to have a plan. Be prepared for things but let your baby decide his/her plan. Whether you like it or not he/she is the boss. For now…
It’s important to ask for help. I was pretty scared to ask for help. You don’t have to be super mom to be a good mom even a great mom (or dad I’m not being biased.)
The emotions are UNBELIEVABLE. And actually about an hour ago I felt like I was in the bottom of the basin, but just sharing my experience and maybe just one person can read what I write and take something away from it, gives me a reassuring feeling of good-doing and that I can make it if I made it through all of that.
Just as you will with your experience.
Good luck!!! :)

Allie 7 months ago

Love this article! So abrasively true! One thing that I would add is that it takes months to really feel like your old self again. I’m not talking about losing the baby weight and being perfectly toned, I mean feeling emotionally, mentally and maybe evenly spiritually more balanced.

Allie 8 months ago

Totally agree with all 10 points. Was lucky enough to be able to nurse all 3 of my kids for almost a year – but that might not have happened if not for a “Day 4 post-partum” emergency session with the lactation consultant at our hospital! Ask for help – means you are a great mom and it will make asking for help later on! And if you can’t nurse means you are a Realistic Mom – not a Bad Mom. No kid was denied college admission cuz s/he wasn’t breastfeed!

rae 9 months ago

My dd2 was 6 weeks early and I went home without her too. A emergency csection and lots of crazy hormones left me curled on the couch (painfully) crying for a few days. Leaving the hospital every evening after visiting her hurt just as bad. I felt like I’d never stop crying. Ugh hormones!

Hoping this to time is different!

Janet 10 months ago

It is 6 years since I had my first child and I almost cried reading this! I have never seen a truer description of the first few weeks of motherhood. And in response, much to my surprise every decision I made did not ‘damage’ my daughter, my nipples once hanging off reattached (I fed her until 10months), the frantic decision after showering as to stem the lochia is or the milk?! subsided, I did once again manage to function as an independant human being and have a gorgeous independent daughter…..I wish I had read this 6 years ago, it would have given me great comfort!

aimee 10 months ago

Thank you for this. I have been married 2 years now and we want to have a family. I’m so scared to have a child, but reading posts from real mom’s help. Thank you.

louise 10 months ago

Oh my godness!! As I first time pregnant mother you have just scared the living day light out of me!!! I Dont think you should have written this blog! Very unfair to new mother to be!! Everyone’s experience is different!

Miranda 11 months ago

I hope you have fun and be happy with your baby because I want a baby but iam juts 12 year old:-(

Miranda 11 months ago

I hope you are happy with your baby because I want a baby but iam just 12 years old

Kristina 12 months ago

I think all of this is a tad over dramatic. Things are what you make of it. If you want space, dont let people over. If you want help, ask for it. If something is bothering your baby, look for alternatives online or at Babies r us. Use your god given intuition. I feel bad for people that make it such a misery. I had a 20 hour labor, 4th degree tear (down there) and I survived! It is what you make it and the attitude you choose to have. there are people have been through much worse in the world than having a baby.

Tawny Redford 1 year ago

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Francis F 1 year ago

My first slept through at 8 weeks, my second at 7 months and my third is 11 months and still not sleeping through. Each child is different and have different needs. Oh, and that great ‘baby’ became a much more difficult little boy. From the age of 4 (he’s now 6) it can much more difficult to get him to bed (his brain ‘thinks too much’ he says). So just because you have a great sleeper as a baby doesn’t mean it won’t change :) I think what the article is suggesting is that things change and your baby/child is not necessarily abnormal because they don’t follow a set schedule/pattern of development.

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Sky 1 year ago

Keliegh-Lynn,
1.) You sound like a b****
2.) Calm down
3.) GTFO and take your rudeness with you.. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya (;
I think Alison’s blog was extremely true because having a baby has a lot of affects on you, mentally and physically, before and after. And babies cry, some more than others, but either way it’s inevitable.
By the way Keliegh I think you should get checked (: like now dear

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Heather Gall Brown 1 year ago

yes, 10B – Be in the pictures. you, in the pjs, let someone take pictures of you holding your tiny bundle of blankets…it is the only way to ever really remember just how small they were. in a few short months you will see another newborn that belongs to someone else and think (or likely, say) "there is no way my little trouble maker was ever THIS small" ….

Kyleigh-Lynn 1 year ago

This list was complete bullshit! Lol!! I did not cry and breast feeding was easy for me. My baby slept almost all day, that’s what babies do! They sleep a lot and for you to say they don’t is foolishness, even baby books mention babies sleep a lot. Maybe your baby isn’t normal, I will go get a check up if I were you!

just me 1 year ago

if you plan on nursing it helps to toughen up your nipples starting now by rubbing them a few times with your towel after a shower or bath. If they are sensitive now, it will help with that also. I never had cracked nipples or any other problems.

Trish 1 year ago

Mamalove, she was seeking an intelligent answer to a very good question, “Why do we have kids?” People who give vague responses aren’t really using their brain, which can grate the nerves of smart thinking women like Loopyloo. “Love like no other”, “amazing part of your life” are so overdone and generic it makes people go, uh, that’s it? Those two things can be used to describe a relationship with anyone, not just your kids.

Leanna 1 year ago

Great post! I think often times motherhood is so glamorized and it is important that as women we understand it is not all rainbows and butterflies. Not even close…check out my blog http://www.harmonioushouseholds.com/blog/ for more tips on how to deal with the ups and downs of being a parent.

Grandma 2 years ago

I love this! Its all so right on. My son and his wonderful wife just had their first (a beautiful little girl). Being the mother-in-law I do not give advice unless asked. They are doing a beautiful job. Anyway, none of the advice I was given as a new mom ever did anything except make me feel like I was doing everything wrong. And all the things doctors and the “experts” recommended then are out of date and nearly opposite now. Young moms need support, and mostly to be told they are being wonderful moms. And last weekend I stayed the night and took care of my adorable grandbaby through the night so the new parents could sleep through the night. A simple thing for me, but a glorious full night of sleep for them.

Courtney 2 years ago

I agree my son has slept through the night only wakes up once or twice during the night since day on..what reason do people have to lie about their babies sleep? It doesn’t make sense because the only people that the baby’s sleep bothers is you the parents…no need to lie..

Paige 2 years ago

I want to have a kid so bad. My doctor told me the sooner the better… I just don’t know what I’m getting myself into. I don’t know if I should just jump in feet first or what???

Jennifer Carlson 2 years ago

What did you expect from a blog entitled/from “Scary Mommy”? Stop trying to sensor everyone. After you’ve been through the trenches of motherhood, you have a right to share your experiences as openly and honestly as you wish and correct me if I’m wrong, but nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to read this article.

Jennifer Carlson 2 years ago

You are right, kids will be different, but I don’t think she wasn’t attempting to scare anybody. At any rate…scroll to the top of this page does it not read: “Scary Mommy”? That should be a tip off that moms are going to be talking about stuff that some people might find scary or intimidating, lol.

Mel 2 years ago

Love the post. Great advice. Just had my third beautiful bAby girl and this is so true :)

courtney 2 years ago

There is only one thing I would like to comment on, breastfeeding Shouldn’t hurt. My hospital has a lactation consultant and she said breastfeeding should never hurt. If it does there may be a problem with the babies latch or something and you seek professional help or advice as soon as you can

Callam Froot 2 years ago

Let me just add this, based on the whole “kids are gross” concepts.

If babies don’t start life with smelly runny poop and puking than they will never develop a good strong immune system. Vaccinations give adults the same symptoms, smelly runny poop, and puking. To become immune to something the body must be exposed to it before it can develop an antigen or anti-bodies.

When baby poop is starts to firm up a bit, like mashed potato mixed with half a tub of butter, than regardless of the smell your babies immune system is ok, and any puking or runny poo is a diet thing, you can decrease the smell by feeding babies more potato, increase the smell by feeding them more full fat milk, decrease the smell by feeding them breast milk, increase the smell by feeding them fruit and veg older than 1 hour,decrease the smell by avoiding egg and fish increase the smell by feading them choclate, sweets and anything with e numbers in such as fizzy drinks, decrase the smell by feeding them fresh BBQ meat that has been killed within the hour, increase the smell by feeding them any item of processed food, decrease the smell by feading them only home churned butter and home baked bread.

This way you know what you feed the baby is all natural, you know what comes out is all natural, so their should be less of a problem with nappy rash feeding babies this kind of diet.

Obviousley you cant just give a newborn freshly killd meat newborns should start with breast milk and mash potato only. Speaking of Breast milk, you can use Breast milk for cooking with.

Callam Froot 2 years ago

speaking of pooping, I read some wear on the net few years back an article article about a female weight lifter who was pregnant, who’s water broke and she pooped in her pants and gave birth to her son in her pants all while on taking part in some weight lifting competition on tv.

I suspect if any baby is born head first in to a world of shity pants they would probably be severely disabled. This Ladies son ended up with Low Functioning Autism and Angel-man Syndrome apparently, so that would mean the child is 8 and still in diapers. This happened in like 2006

Linda 2 years ago

Don’t listen to all this crap about “I hope you were just having a bad day” or “I certainly hope your tune changes” We all have those days as mothers even the self righteous people here. It’s OK and I promise when you have your baby especially your first you will get your answers. Yes, it’s hard sometimes but you won’t realize it until after the fact…God has this way of making you fall head over heels in love with that baby so nothing he/she does is that big of an issue. You will naturally love having that baby, the good, bad and the ugly, none of it will really matter. Good luck and congratulations.

Just why 2 years ago

Pre k sounds crazy. I’m currently pregnant and I think all kids are different. Why scare people?

Just why 2 years ago

Lies…

Just why 2 years ago

Lol. Whatever…

Amber 2 years ago

I really hope you were just having a bad day.. being so close to having a baby and talking like this is a little disheartening. I hope your delivery went great and your baby is a 3 month old bucket of sunshine. Everything about my pregnancy, delivery, and my baby, who is now 11 months old, has been seamless. It’s not all awful, some of us are blessed. I just hope you were one, because by the sound of it, you apparently need it.

Wanj 2 years ago

In MY opinion: :) You get married because you want to spend the rest of your life with your best friend and because it’s even better when God blesses that marriage when you get married. Children are the fruit of that marriage, a gift from God. weirdly, when I was single I used to think that when I get married, I will decide when I want to have a child. I got married and two years down the line decided we were ready for a child…not so simple we realized. it’s all God’s doing at the end of the day because, how many people do you know who want and desire to have children but they can’t? and not because there’s something wrong with them necessarily, it just happens. why we have kids? they are fruit of our marriages. My little gumdrop has brought my husby and I closer than we’ve ever been before and I pray that even when he’s a teenager and he has siblings that this will not change, it’ll be even better :) it’s hillarious when I read the experiences here. it’s funny, painful and so true at the same time. I’m glad I stumbled on this blog during my pregnancy days because I learnt so much. not everything applied to me of course, you just take what works for you and the rest discard. it helped to know stuff because I never learnt that in Lamaze, but the real experiences here helped me be prepared for anything. we are all so different and that’s what makes it so interesting 😉 easy does it :)

Baby mom 2 years ago

I loved the sex with my man

Mamalove 2 years ago

I certainly hope your tune has changed. “Why bother having kids”? No one forced you to have a child. And it IS a love like no other, and they ARE a truly amazing part of your life. I hope you now understand that and that you understand that those ‘vague’ answers that people gave you are the truth.

estela 2 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this. My husband and I are planning on having our first baby together and I’m not going to lye we are both very nervous about the decision on how having a baby will change our lives. But we are also very excited about it too. Thank you for telling it like it is.

Danielle 2 years ago

i loved this blog!! it was very helpful! made me laugh & the ending got me choked up. Thank you<3

Chris Tatum 2 years ago

Especially number 7! You tend to think everybody else must know better than you – they don't.

Linda De La Cruz 2 years ago

I loved this! I laughed and cried because it’s all so true! Being a first time mother had it’s toll on me, but now with baby number two, I know what to expect lol. This was a great post I really enjoyed reading this!:D

Mary 2 years ago

Touche. My son slept through the night since birth, waking up once to eat at 3 am, and immediately fell back asleep at the breast. It DOES happen. But then, there are exceptions to every rule.

Christina 2 years ago

I love this post. Thank you so much for being honest and letting us know what’s to come. I’m 39 weeks and freaking out a little bit

cloudberry13 2 years ago

Welp, I’m 9 weeks and that just made me cry for about 30 minutes. Oh boy…

Faailo Areta 2 years ago

So true.

Kay 2 years ago

Hit it right on the nose! Wish I had this three years ago!

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Jo Turner 2 years ago

Spot on!

Sally England 2 years ago

Lovely and so true!

Caroline Butterfield 2 years ago

Great advice!!!

Trendy Tummy Maternity 2 years ago

Love your post.This gives great advice for new moms.

Hallie Elizabeth Sams 2 years ago

hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahaha no.

diyana 2 years ago

I’m a new first-time mum and this post is fantastic! I am also just starting to blog about my experiences…follow my stories at http://www.wollywrites.wordpress.com

Lisa Palmer Haug 2 years ago

The moment a child is born, a Mother is born, she never existed before. Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.
Only upon becoming a mother will you fully understand your own and a newly found love and respect for her is born. Motherhood is the toughest job you'll ever love. If Motherhood was easy Father's would do it!! Monnie, Michael's greatest gift is you. xxoo

Monica Beers Baker 2 years ago

Wow I wish I'd read this sooner.

tan 2 years ago

I don’t know why you bothered writing all that negative mess when there were obviously so many women who agreed with the authors’ points. You just couldn’t help trying to attack could you? That says a lot about your personality.Good luck to your children. SMH.

loopylu 2 years ago

Just to add to my previous post, I disagree that most of the things you read are all angels and butterflies. All I ever hear is how awful pregnancy, birth and babies are. Nobody ever really gives me a straight answer to why we bother having kids. They usually just answer with some vague ‘oh my kids are my life and you don’t know love until you have them’. Well, compared to the article above, that is not a very clear answer. If all I have to look forward to is sleepless nights, my marriage deteriorating, my body ruined and badly behaved kids….. what is the point?? We are a pretty overpopulated world as it is. Ridiculous. Hmph!

loopylu 2 years ago

I am due to give birth this week so reading articles like this is helpful to a degree. However, it does make me wonder why we bother having children? Why become a mother? It sounds pretty awful. Oh well, too late for me to turn back now!

James 2 years ago

Is this baby a boy or girl?
Really cute. I just want to know the gender.

Katie Leigh 2 years ago

It's so good to get an honest perspective. I think new moms can often feel very alone and start to doubt themselves and their new roles. They feel like if they share these feelings then they will be "unfit mothers." It's a whole new world and you will never fully understand until you experience it.

Marisela Baskins 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story and advice! A lot of people have the intention of breast feeding but don’t realize how hard it really is! Often times moms give up. Thanks for sharing!

Meris.

Rebeca 2 years ago

Very true, I love this!! I have two boys and a girl and it really is true what you say happens with baby #1. Another thing I wish I knew before having my first – they won’t sleep the night til they start pre-k :-( With my second – acid reflux had me changing my baby’s clothes more often than his diaper. With my last child – just because she slept the night for 8 months straight doesn’tmean itll stay that way :-\

Dana 2 years ago

One thing about breastfeeding and babies sleeping: you are not going to want the baby sleeping through the night at first if you want your milk to continue to come in. The worst thing you can do is “train” them to sleep eight hours straight. They need to be eating about every two to three hours, and preferably on demand.

Be ready to do that. And there’s nothing wrong with keeping the baby’s crib in your room so you can get to them faster. I won’t even get into the cosleeping debate here–there are several ways you can have baby sleep near you that don’t involve you being able to roll over on them. You’re not going to feel like making whoopie with kiddo’s Daddy for the first several weeks anyway (and you’ll be banned from it by your doctor for the first six weeks), so there isn’t going to be anything for baby to see or hear that would traumatize them for life.

Unless your S.O. snores like a foghorn, I dunno…

Dana 2 years ago

Until someone winds up having a negative experience and then feeling like crap because all the stories they read are unicorns and butterflies and they’re sure they did something wrong to “deserve” such a let-down.

I hate to be a downer but I hate Pollyannas. At least if I know the negative stuff can happen, I don’t have to feel guilty that I messed up somehow. I find that people who focus too hard on being positive, and who judge others for being negative, are impossible to relate to. I always feel like they look down on me, which I’m sure is not the effect they would say they intended.

Dana 2 years ago

I don’t know when this was written but in case anyone else comes along who thinks like this:

PMS and postpartum depression are like little ant hill versus Mount Everest. The difference between the two will vary from woman to woman but it’s pretty much like that. And NO, you CAN’T just distance yourself intellectually from what is happening and “handle it.” It feels like *normal* to you. That’s the scary part.

There’s always that one person who thinks they’ve read all the manuals and have all the answers. And from what I can tell they’re the ones who freak out the hardest when life deviates way off from their little plan. Watch out for that. You don’t control life, it controls you and all you can do is TRY to choose how to respond.

Tanya 2 years ago

I wish I had read this 4 years ago when I had my son. I was absolutely clueless when I came home from the hospital.

Tamara 2 years ago

Notice how she said they dont ALWAYS sleep. Yet both of you quoted at which weeks your babies began sleeping. So what did they do before that? Exactly. Dont take things so literally. Relax and put a grain of salt on it. It’s not like this is a medical journal spewing medical facts. What did your babies do before 8 weeks? Oh yea, they didnt sleep.

Incredibly written article.

Olivia Evans 2 years ago

This is an excellent article!

Amy 2 years ago

Wait, did I write this? You did say that I wasn’t going to remember much from when my kid was born…I seriously could have written this. I was 41 when my kiddo was born, and I was all kinds of prepared (in my own mind only) – until I got him home from the hospital and wondered what the hell I thought I was doing thinking I could take care of a BABY. Holy crap, that was hell for about 8 weeks until I realized that the breast-feeding Nazis weren’t going to come looking for me and no one was going to hate me (including my child) if I decided to take care of my own mental health rather than trying (and failing pretty spectacularly) to breastfeed my kid into a lifetime of therapy because his mother was a total post-partum blob of depressive disorder. The thing that saved my life was someone cluing me into the idea that no new mom really knows what she’s doing, that they’re all making it up as they go, every single day and just hoping that it’s ok. Those moms who are all confident and happy-looking? They’re either already on their 2nd child or they’re just way better at hiding their total bewilderment and uncertainty than you are. Believe it. On the other hand, my kiddo is 2 now, and despite the food allergies, the rashy eczema, tantrums, the poop (oh, God, the poop), the whining, and the toys covering every inch of my once-neat home, I love that little tornado on two feet with every single atom of my being and cannot imagine living in this world without his beautiful little face lighting up my life every day. So, it’s all good now!

Lory Lazare 2 years ago

love this

Mabel 2 years ago

I found this blog via someone else’s post and got sucked in. I don’t even have kids–want them, but it’s almost too late. Maybe I found it for a reason. Not to read this and not want them, but to prepare?
One can only hope.

PS–used to have a bf with a small child whom I helped raise for 4-1/2 years, so I’ve wiped butts, planned meals, argued over bedtimes, hosed off mud and dog poop, and cleaned the puke bed (ugh). Kids are gross, LOL.

Carley Alexander 2 years ago

So, so good!

Whitney 2 years ago

Really true!I relied the most on my nursing wears that i got from morph maternity.Specially when i am at work,pumping just got a lot more easier.

baby stuff 2 years ago

It’s an remarkable post designed for all the online users; they will take benefit from it I am sure.

Naannelle 2 years ago

Am glad that u said it as it is am 14 weeks pregnant and have no idea whatsoever what to expect.ur article says it all .God bless u for sharing

Christine Vitanovitz 2 years ago

This was a brilliant read <3 And so true!

scared 2 years ago

I have been thinking about trying to get pregnant. This is a good article but it makes me reconsider. It all sounds pretty horrible.

Julie 2 years ago

God it must be amazing to be as perfect and wonderful as you. Your child is so lucky to have the perfect mother already who knows everything. Sorry that the rest of us are not meeting your standards. I found quite a few things (some included in this list) surprising about motherhood, as I do most things I do for the first time, must be nice to be so prepared for the unexpected that this does not occur to you. If you already know everything why are you bothering with parenting blogs?

enola 2 years ago

Jodi am on #four, give birth to big babies, 10pounders no drugs, naturally, so I tell people I can’t tell you what is labor pains so don’t asked me cause you may think am lying and get your feeling hurt.

Jennifer 2 years ago

Soooo true it almost made me cry! I just found out I’m 7 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and I’m still as nervous as I was with the first!

Maddy 2 years ago

True about the sleep. None of our friends believe us when we tell them what a great sleeper our bub is. We did teach her to resettle in the early days and she’s been great ever since. Slept through from 12 weeks and has only woken once since (due to hunger) she’s now 7 months old. We’ve never been sleep deprived – I wish this for every new parent!

Maddy 2 years ago

I wish someone told me bout day 4, it hit like a mack truck.Pregnancy was no picnic either. MiIk coming in was also so delightful!! That alone could put me off having another baby. One great thing of all the pain, sickness and neverending tears was having our happy, beautiful, relaxed baby girl.

Kate 2 years ago

Although some of the things you mention have truth to them the negative slant you take on them is kinda like life. Is the glass half full or half empty.

I wish more people would get joy in sharing what’s possibly instead of “misery loving company”.

I had a beautiful pain free (still super intense) home water birth, I got to cuddle with my baby right away. She sleeps well, she’s super calm etc. there were some learning with breasts reding but like everything in life it passed.

I’m about the possibilities in life and would just like to offer expecting moms a different possibility.

Lina 2 years ago

I’m so glad I read this! I’m having my first baby soon and I find that so much of the info is either very clinical or overly “rosy”, like absolutely every part of having a baby is *magical*. I’m very happy I came across this compassionate and honest article.

Nicole 2 years ago

Such a wonderful article! So glad to have this advice as I go through my first pregnancy. Thank you!

Roz 2 years ago

That’s a pretty harsh response. Congratulations if you’re so super-prepared that you think the list is negative. Having had two children (now 2 and 3) I would have really appreciated reading this beforehand. We didn’t know anyone with children, didn’t have family nearby and were very much left to figure everything out ourselves. It was incredibly tough with our first – with a birth that was the polar-opposite of our planned birth, post-natal depression, lack of bonding and horrendously painful breastfeeding. I felt a total failure as a person, as a mother and as a wife. Having read something like this might have helped me to be less hard and critical on myself. Don’t be so quick to judge others.

Melanie Saxe 2 years ago

As an expectant mother, I am tired of articles like this one, attempting to shed light on the birth, labor, and aftermath, only to focus on the negative side of things. The author ends with a paragraph she should have begun the article with, and expanded on. The last paragraph is truly what expectant moms should hear, because unlike the author, some of us actually do pay attention to the books, classes, and advice from only people we trust.

1. Angels singing definitely isn’t an expectation of mine. But seriously, common sense tells me I might be just a little more than cranky after giving birth, and that there will be plenty of medical procedures still going on.
2. I’ve had surgery and been in the hospital before, but I can see how someone who’s never been wouldn’t understand that pushing a baby out of the vagina might follow with painful bathroom visits.
3. Isn’t everything in life? And do we have to be warned over and over again about the difficulties of every single step along the journey? For some, breastfeeding comes easy. For others it doesn’t.
4. Um…..i don’t mind crying, and as an adult woman of 32, I’ve learned how to distinguish between negative hormonal thoughts and fact. And for the record, I’m allowed to feel down as long as it takes to get back up again, without seeking “help” or taking a pill.
5. If at all possible, learn how to be assertive. Tell friends and family you can’t entertain visitors. I’m 7 months pregnant, I’ve already written an email asking for privacy for at least 2 weeks after the baby is born, limited visitors, and no overnighters.
6. Again, if you thought life or people (babies) are one size fits all, I feel sorry for you.
7. Better yet, don’t have people like this in your life.
8. Duh.
9. Again, it’s time to learn how to be assertive.
10. Smart one.
11. You should have started you article with the last paragraph.

Liz Davey 2 years ago

I agree with Jodi I have 4 and although there are a few hair pulling moments my first year with number 1 left me wondering does it get any better than this. It was awesome and not because I have someone else in doing it all, as frankly I wouldn’t want my mum looking after our fish. Just because I had waited for a while to have them seen what kind of work it would be and new what I was in for, but no mine didn’t sleep and my sister is always asking what I do wrong as hers sleep great apparently!!

Jan 2 years ago

#1 to know is babies grow up and become teenagers. No one ever says, “I can’t wait to have a teenager.”

Mrs. Tucker 3 years ago

Any day now I will become a grandmother for the first time, yet I remember, clear as day, all you speak of here. I’ll send my sweet DIL over. She’ll love this site.

Well done!

Melissa 3 years ago

The only thing I worried about my whole pregnancy was pooping when I have the baby. I don’t know why I focused on that part but I did. I ended up peeing up the doctor’s arm and throwing up on the nurse. Oh well, I”m sure they’ve seen worse lol

Carolynn @mylittlebitoflife.com 3 years ago

linked to this post! Thanks!

Cherie 3 years ago

Really great article. Thank you.

CindyF 3 years ago

Love the piece of advice..my LO for SURE has not read tge books!! Lmao

Sarah 3 years ago

ahhh day 4….the point where my mother came into mine and my son’s room at 5 am, where I was quietly sobbing as he was up and crying again, and wheeled his bassinet into her room so I could get a few hours of sleep.

Now he’ll be 6 in one week :)

Colleen 3 years ago

i remember day 4….oh man was it rough

Nicola 3 years ago

We had something similar on the fourth day (our first night home) – our poor little boy was screaming blue murder. After a trip back to the hospital at 4am for some advice and formula he finally settled down and slept!

A lactation consultant is a must if you struggle with breast feeding – it doesn’t necessarily come easily or naturally. For me, my problem is I don’t produce enough milk – but there are ways of dealing with it!

Jodi Ann 3 years ago

I completely agree!! I Have three boys. The first slept through for 8+ hours at 6 weeks, the second at 8 weeks, and the third at 5. It happens! And trust me when I say, we’re not all lying :) I still get showers (even with the first!) and I even had all three without any drugs simply because I didn’t find it that painful. Yes, I know poeple might hate me right now, or think I’m “stretching the truth”, and think what you will, but I’ve had a pretty great time (with a very few intermitent rough times in between, no it’s not always fun and games!) over the past 5 years. Parenthood is what you make it, and I think it’s been pretty great so far and cannot wait to see what the future holds :)

Nina 3 years ago

Yes! Love every one of these. And what is it about that fourth day. So true. The first two days are all rainbows and unicorns. Then it’s tears.

Tracey 3 years ago

LOL, that’s WHY they kick you out that day! haha!

Regina 3 years ago

Good advice! I remember when #1 came home, we sat down and wondered what they hell do we do now.

We learned as we went and read a lot and searched online a lot of the answers.

Another tip I would add, is that just because you read the book, doesn’t mean the baby did too, so there the kid may not follow the book :)

Lindsey 3 years ago

Love Allison’s work, love this post, laughed out loud and wiped away tears. That’s pretty much my standard reaction to Allison’s writing. xox

tracy@sellabitmum 3 years ago

Love seeing Allison here! xo

Allison Slater Tate 3 years ago

I actually did mean “sleeping through the night.” Somehow I guess I did not make that clear. YES, some babies are sleepers! But a true newborn sleeper-through-the-nighter is so rare (I had one, I hear you… he was #2), and even my sleeper went through some pretty big sleep disruptions around 9 months old. I wasn’t trying to make anyone anxious. And as your note says… my point was we have different definitions of sleeping through the night, and they rarely all work out for us! :)

Linda 3 years ago

Love it.
Agree with it all except #6.
YES I did have sleepers. I have 5 kids. One was never a good sleeper (my last and only boy) but the rest, from 8 weeks slept 11+ hours. I think saying that parents who say this are lying is going to add nothing but anxiety to those who get a sleeper. Its hard enough as it is to control fears when your child does it the first few times, let alone to be told on an ‘honest’ blog that anyone who claims this is lying. The only lie would be that the parent is actually getting a full night, because we still wake up every few hours and the breasts still SCREAM each night for the first few days!!! But Bubs is blissfully snoring..
NB I class a sleeper as a bubs who does 6+ hours in a stretch, when you are also sleeping!! (the issue with my son was he started his big sleep far too early in the day…..sigh)

Jen 3 years ago

MY birthday is December 22! Ironically, there was so much drama surrounding Christmas with families/stepdaughters baby momma that my fiance and I were happy not to have to deal with it, but having my baby in NICU was PAINFUL. Thank you for the support ladies…

Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom 3 years ago

I love #6 about babies not sleeping. And that people are lying if they say their babies are sleeping!

Everything seemed so true to my own experience. :)

Ericka 3 years ago

I absolutely LOVE this article!!! It’s like u read exactly what I feel and think! I truly wish I would have read this ARTICLE before having my little one this last May. Thank u sooooooo much for telling it how it is and NOT sugar coding it.

Beth 3 years ago

OMG, yes the bathroom. I was induced and had things shoved in holes I did not want things shoved in. That coupled with the fact that I then got an epidural, followed by a spinal block for my eventual c-section, I peed all over the floor. I was so embarrassed that while my husband napped with our son, I was in there on my hands and kneed wiping it up.

Fantastic list that I hopefully remember if a second comes along.

Hana 3 years ago

So true to all 10. Also, I wish someone should have told me how much blood there was going to be postpartum, to happily accept the stool softener, and that frozen maxi pads are a blessing.

Forevertart1008 3 years ago

I pregnant with my first child, and this made me amazingly happy. It’s nice to hear something honest, and thank you for taking the time to write this.
Tannith

Nicole(Whole Strides) 3 years ago

Five is so true. I ended up making tea and snacks for people while one-handed nursing and holding a baby only days post-partum. It was ridiculous. I don’t think that wearing dirty pajamas would have helped, as the people who showed up didn’t ask what I was wearing before stopping by, but YES. So maybe it also helps to have a forceful partner who is like, no, you’re not coming to visit us just yet unless you’re bringing us food. LOL.

Susan 3 years ago

On night #2 at home (so night #4 of life), I sobbed for 3 hours, in between feedings, rocking that crying newborn. I handed my newborn to my husband who had a fever of 103 and stood on our deck for fifteen minutes, still sobbing, and then took my 2nd shower since having the baby.

Turns out, baby was hysterically crying because my colostrum wasn’t enough for my hungry baby and night #5 went much better because I was clearly producing more a milk-like substance. And my husband’s fever broke and he was able to help more.

I can laugh now. But at the time, holy hell, the guilt of “starving my child.” This time around, back-up formula is already in the house and I’m not due for 4 more weeks.

Liz 3 years ago

OMG #5 is the absolute truth!!!!

Gemma 3 years ago

I love this, it’s so true!

Jennifer 3 years ago

It can be so overwhelming for a while. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, BUT it does get better. That beautiful blessing you’ve been given will make you such a better (and happier) person. I can’t imagine life without my kids!

Ladydeelg 3 years ago

This is a freakin great list. everyone should read it before having kids. I especially agree with the last one, i look at pics now, and i can’t remember him being that little. everything was a blur. and breastfeeding was SUPER hard, i had a great support system, thankfully whihc is why i stuck with it! thanks Scary Mommy for setting the facts straight!

Kacie 3 years ago

Its true. motherhood isn’t puppies and unicorns, but its still an amazing thing. even after 4, I still have my mommy breakdown moments.

Soni 3 years ago

Oh my gosh I love this post SO MUCH!! It is all, absolutely true. This should be required reading for anyone who is currently or may someday be pregnant. Nobody told me any of these things either and I wound up with pretty severe post-partum depression because I thought for sure I was failing, because I couldn’t breast feed my daughter. Guess what – 15 years later she is just fine!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Rebeccah 3 years ago

Great post – real and kind, strikes exactly the right balance between advice and TLC.

Rebeccah 3 years ago

Amen sister.

Rebeccah 3 years ago

It will get better. Baby will be fine. YOU will be fine. People love you and will help you. You don’t have to be a superhero. Talk to your ob/gyn if you are worried – I can promise you that you are not alone.

Amanda 3 years ago

#7 for sure….but from my husband. He has three children already, and likes to think that he’s a far superior parent than I am. And likes to let me know it. But I know I am a good mom. :)

onSanity 3 years ago

I’ve read so many articles attempting to do this, but this one is spot on. thanks!

Paige 3 years ago

My girl was six weeks early, born Dec 22nd (three years ago, but still). Spending Christmas in the hospital with a newborn you can’t hold? Not fun at all. Hugs to you mama – I promise it gets better!

Paige 3 years ago

Everything about this is fabulous, but this line is beautiful: “In the end, the way you feed your baby is inconsequential compared to the way you love your baby.” Thank you for that. What a perfect way to look at it.

Paige 3 years ago

Yup, having to go home WITHOUT my baby was the worst. All the hormones and crying jags and emotional baloney but no sweet baby to cuddle makes things extra hard. And not having that happily family photo in the hospital room made me wanna hurt somebody.

Sarah 3 years ago

YES to all of the above. I’m hoping with baby #3 (due in a few weeks) I’ll be able to get it together better… but I know if I don’t, it’s all good. Having a baby is a great excuse for being a hot mess.

Desiree Eaglin 3 years ago

I love this!

Jen 3 years ago

My baby boy was born 5 weeks early via emergency c section on December 24. As I sit here with postpartum sobbing (will I EVER stop crying?) … I needed this. I’m not crazy after all… just normal.

Megan 3 years ago

I have to say that number 6 isn’t necessarily true. I got very lucky with both of my kids around 8 weeks they both slept through the night 11 hours. It scared the shit out of me because I was awake waiting for feedings. I got very lucky, but just because your kids didn’t sleep doesn’t mean that it never happens.

ErikaMarie 3 years ago

It’s lovely that your hormones crash right on the day they will likely kick you out of the hospital (around here it’s 4 days for c-sections) and if you have a premie like I did, you go home alone & have to leave your tiny little precious baby in the hospital. HARDEST THING EVER.

I wish I had allowed more photos of me in her pictures. :( She’s 2 now & I don’t have any with her really as a baby.

anna see 3 years ago

Great advice for all new moms!

Jenelle W. 3 years ago

How true that I just didn’t hear all the advice! But now, with baby #2, I’m listening and doing my damnedest to believe it all and soak it in – cuz it’s all true. The poop-covered moments and the angel chorus moments. All so f-ing true!