There are some things you just can’t read in a book to prepare you for having your first child! I have a Bachelor’s in Nursing and thought I would know exactly what to do in every situation! Boy was I wrong. Did I expect to not get any sleep? Yes. Did I know it would be super hard and my life would change? Of course. However there were still tons of random little things I did not know.
1. Breastfeeding is hard.
I had heard this before and thought to myself, how hard could it really be? Pfft. Puppies and kittens just latch onto their momma a second after being born with no problem! It was so hard I almost gave up. Ben wouldn’t latch on and it seemed that he just would not suck. I almost had an anxiety attack the night we left the hospital because I was so worried he wasn’t getting enough milk and would get dangerously dehydrated! As a new mom I would always jump to the worst possible conclusion. The first couple of days before your milk comes in you only produce thick drops of fluid called colostrum. That is all they need as since their stomach is the size of a marble. As long as your newborn is wetting their diaper at least 6 times a day and having regular bowel movements, they are probably getting enough. I wish I would have reminded myself of this information before freaking out so much! Just try not to give up. Get a lactation consultant! I had to call one in three times at the hospital and I still wasn’t getting it. Eventually your baby will understand that this is their food source and will catch on!
2. Prep those nips.
Haha. But seriously, if you are planning on breastfeeding, every time you take a shower, scrub them with wash cloth to toughen them up. I was never once sore from breastfeeding. This was especially helpful since Ben wouldn’t even latch on correctly for awhile and it could have been a painful, bloody situation.
3. There are so many SIDS rules.
It wasn’t up until a couple of months before my due date that I found out babies should not have any loose blankets, toys or bumper pads in their cribs. When we put Ben to sleep we put him in some footed pajamas and swaddle him. The Ergo swaddler was especially helpful for the first month of his life. It’s like a baby strait jacket which is great since it makes them feel like they are back in the womb. We did this for the first two months and then he didn’t like having his arms trapped anymore.
Now we use swaddles like the Halo sleep sack so his arms can be free. You are also not supposed to let your baby fall asleep in the swing or car seat, apparently that is a SIDS risk as well. It’s really hard.. almost impossible to stick to these rules myself!
4. You will constantly worry about SIDS, especially for the first month.
I remember being in the hospital and not being able to go to sleep because I was constantly opening my eyes to check to see if he was breathing. It gets better over time. When we finally decided to move him into his own room, we purchased an AngelCare baby monitor. This thing is amazing! It has a motion detector and will beep if it detects no breathing movement. This has allowed me to sleep soundly and without worry.
5. There are so many baby products to choose from.
It is confusing and overwhelming! Especially when it came to picking a stroller. Honestly all he did for the first couple months was eat, sleep, and poop! As long as you have the supplies you need for those activities to happen (breast pump, pump supplies or formula, diapers, pajamas, swaddles, a nice place to sleep…) There will always be amazon.com to deliver whatever you need to your door! Sometimes you won’t even know what you need until that day comes when you need it. I will say that I wish I had gotten a travel system for my stroller way
sooner. A newborn really needs to be in a car seat or bassinet attachment when they are in a stroller since they don’t have the head support yet to be comfortable. I did not know this!
6. You are not supposed to jog with a baby in a jogging stroller until 6 months old.
Apparently if they don’t have enough head and neck control, going jogging with them is similar to shaking them and giving them shaken baby syndrome!
7. No sunscreen until they are 6 months old.
Pediatricians say not to use this on them under 6 months. You are supposed to keep them out of the sun and in shade. I guess their skin is too sensitive to handle it before then?
8. Cloth swim diapers are so much better than swimmers!
When you can finally take your baby into the pool, don’t bother with the swimmers! Chances are you will only use a couple of them and then they will outgrow the rest. Plus it is a pain in the butt to mess with them. Cloth swim diapers are reusable and you don’t have to bother with swim trunk or bottoms on top of them.
9. You barely need any newborn sized clothes.
Unless your baby is a preemie, they will most likely outgrow the newborn size anywhere from 2 weeks to a month! Ben wore most of his newborn outfits once or twice and we didn’t even have that much in that size.
10. You don’t need to bathe them everyday.
It’s better to bathe them 3 times a week max as a newborn since their skin is so dry. We found in the first month he would get cradle cap if we washed his hair too much. (Flaky skin coming off their head) As long as you are cleaning them well when you do diaper changes and around the face neck area, they really don’t need a bath every day. Also, there is some nasty crap that gets caught in their skin folds like their neck and arm pits so make sure you get in there good!
Well, there you go. That is just a sample of some things that I had no idea about before having a baby!