It’s true when they say having a baby is a life-changing experience. From late-night feedings to establishing a routine, having a baby makes everything different. Plus, there are the unknowns and the endless learning moments as you go along. Of course, all of the uncertainties make it all worth it because, in the end, you have a child to love.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go in this alone. Many moms share the same experiences that you may face. So, speaking from experience, here are tens things I wish I knew before having a baby.
1. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Is Real
You’ve most likely heard of postpartum depression (PPD). It’s common, and 1 in 7 women experience it during their first year after birth. Being a new mom can be difficult — especially in the first few weeks postpartum. You could be flooded with intense emotions and not realize that you’re experiencing PPD or postpartum anxiety.
However, being aware ahead of time will help you mitigate those negative feelings. Of course, it’s not your fault. You’re also not alone. That’s why it’s critical to seek professional help as soon as you feel like something is off.
2. Birth and Recovery Is Not Quite What You Expect
Expect the unexpected when the time comes to have your baby. Some moms have dreamy deliveries and would do it all over again. Others, not so much. It’s crucial not to get too attached to your delivery plans and be open to whatever you have to do.
Being prepared for all birthing scenarios — and knowing that you’re not fully in control of how your baby is born will take loads of pressure off — especially if it doesn’t go according to plan.
During recovery, witch hazel and frozen pads are your friends. You’ll be sore and might even have hemorrhoids — which are tissues of blood vessels in the lower rectum that become swollen after giving birth. Witch hazel and a high-fiber diet will ease the discomfort.
3. Breastfeeding Takes Patience and Practice
If you plan to breastfeed, be aware that it can be tough. Some moms feel guilt when their milk doesn’t fully let down. Yet, when you’re in the hospital, your baby only needs a few teaspoons of milk to feel full.
It’s also crucial to recognize and understand that supplementing doesn’t make you less of a mom. It makes you more of one because you’re on the lookout for your baby’s well-being.
Just know that breastfeeding is great for your baby. However, it might not be best for you. So, do what’s best and consider working with a lactation consultant if you find it challenging to solve your breastfeeding problems.
4. Accept All the Help You Can Get
You might be used to doing everything on your own, but you’ll most likely need to adjust to how you normally do things. So, you’re going to need all the help you can get. No matter how many baby books you’ve read or baby gadgets you bought, things happen.
So, when you’re feeling the pressure, and someone you trust offers to watch the baby — let them. That way, you can take a nap, a hot bath or have time to get out of the house. You’ll want to do anything you can to make you feel calm and like a normal person again.
5. It’s Okay Not to Love Every Waking Minute of Having a Baby
Try not to feel guilty when you’re not in a constant state of bliss and love once you have the baby at home. Many parents go through this phase. But, guess what? It’s a lot of hard work, so that doesn’t make you a bad parent.
After the baby comes, you’ll notice that not every minute is joyful. Just know that you aren’t alone if you feel this way. You’re still a good parent, and that’s all that matters.
6. You’ll Find Your Normal Again
After being a new mom for a while, you’ll start to wonder if things will ever be back to normal again. Of course, your life won’t be back to the way it was before. However, you will succumb to a new normal — and there will come a day where everything feels right again. Just remember, though, that moment may not happen as quickly as you might expect.
7. Trust Your Significant Other
The hard part is that you know every detail about your baby, and trusting your spouse can feel difficult. However, it’s good to have someone else share the load. You’ll need to have a break at some point.
Although they might not help the same way you do something, it doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is wrong. Start sharing the responsibility as soon as possible, so both of you can learn together.
8. Everything Comes in Phases
Take to heart that nothing is permanent when it comes to struggles. Whether it’s clinginess, sleep difficulties or feeding troubles, remember to give it time, and things will change. Those phases can feel like they last forever, but one thing is for sure, they will soon pass.
9. Connect With Other Moms
The sooner you connect with other moms, the more quickly you’ll start to enjoy your new role. Meeting friends might be harder than you expect. However, it’s always good to join a moms’ group and relate to one another with challenging experiences.
10. Take Time for Self-Care
Try to make time for yourself. Self-care is so important, and you’ll need to be easy on yourself when times get frustrating. One thing that helps is taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you and your baby are learning.
Plus, if you get the opportunity, try and do one thing each day to get out of the house. Once you feel comfortable leaving with the baby, it’ll do good for both of you to get fresh air.
Becoming a New Mother
Being a new mom certainly takes time, patience and acceptance. There will be numerous ups and downs, but the important thing is enjoying that rollercoaster. Before you know it, your little one won’t be so little anymore. So, enjoy the tiny moments, let your baby’s laughter fill you with love and embrace all that may come your way.