10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I had a Baby


  1. Cherish every minute you have in the hospital. You will experience a whirlwind of emotions during the first 48-72 hours after your baby arrives, and it is easy to lose sight of how special those first few days are. There is a sense of security that comes in knowing that there are doctors and nurses on call to care for you and your baby. If you can handle it emotionally, allow the nurses to keep your baby in the nursery at night and only bring him/her to you for feeding. There will be plenty of time to do these things on your own once you leave the hospital.
  2. Breastfeeding does not always come naturally. You were probably asked countless times during your pregnancy if you were going to breastfeed. You bought the pump, you got the Boppy, and you are set to go….or are you? More new moms than not report having some difficulty in the first few days with breastfeeding. Your baby may have trouble latching on or you may not be producing enough milk. Try and be patient. Make sure to speak to a lactation consultant and don’t think for a minute that you are the only one who is experiencing this. Also, have realistic expectations. If after some time you feel that breastfeeding is not working for you, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep it up.
  3. Limit the number of visitors. People are well-intentioned. Those who are close to you want to share in your happiness and come see your little bundle of joy. Try and keep the amount of visitors to a minimum. New motherhood is overwhelming and the feeling can be heightened when you have a house full of visitors.
  4. If you have a vaginal delivery, you may bleed for up to thirty days after. Combine this with breastfeeding and it all adds to you feeling like your body will never be your own again. Hang in there—it will.
  5. Go on a date with your spouse. If you are lucky enough to have someone available to watch your baby, arrange a date night with your partner within the first two weeks after your baby arrives. You need time alone to reflect on the massive change that has just occurred and to remember that you were a couple before you were a family. The longer you wait to do this, the harder it will be to leave the baby.
  6. Men are not multi-taskers. While you may have figured out before the baby comes that your husband is at his best when he is focused on a single task, it will be highlighted after the baby arrives. While as a mother you will find the ability to change a diaper, make a bottle and write thanks you notes, seemingly all at the same time, generally speaking dads can only do one thing at a time. This is a common source of stress between new parents. Moms feel like they are doing everything and dads feel like they are trying but can’t do anything right. Try and keep in mind that this is the nature of most men and not just your husband. He is trying—be as patient as you can—and look for what he is doing right instead of trying to make him do things exactly the way you would do them.
  7. Ask for as much help as you can. Even if it is not in your nature to reach out and ask for help—this is the time to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends to come over, even just for an hour, so you can take a nap. If you donot have family that lives close by, speak to friends and ask if they know anyone who they trust as a sitter or a nanny.
  8. You may love your baby but not love being a mom. There is an expectation that you should immediately love your new role as a mom. This is often not the case. Having a baby often results in a feeling of loss of control. During the first few weeks after your baby arrives, you give and give to your baby without even receiving a simple smile in return. Motherhood is not a glamorous job, and you may find that you do not love your new role during this time. Do not feel guilty if this is the case…this is a common feeling… and it is not permanent!
  9. It immediately is all about the baby. For nine months, you lived in the special club of pregnant women. It was all about you. People constantly asked how you were feeling. People who did not even know you saw you, glanced at your belly and smiled. Strangers asked “when are you do” as if they are planning on camping out at the hospital to wait for your bundle of joy. The minute the baby arrives, it is all about the baby. “How is she sleeping?” “How big is he now?” The words “How cute” are uttered to describe your newborn and not your belly. While you are as overjoyed as the rest of the world about your baby, it feels strange to go, overnight, from receiving so much attention to receiving so little. Make sure to surround yourself with other new moms (like at Big City Moms luncheons and events) so there are people who can relate to how YOU are feeling… not just how your baby is feeling.
  10. People say the stupidest things. It is amazing how insensitive some people can be without even realizing it. This is made even worse by the post pregnancy hormone storm that you may experience. People may comment on how big your breasts are as if that is some sort of complement. For some reason, complete strangers feel compelled to tell you how you should or should not do certain things. For second time moms, if your second child is the same sex as your first, people will inevitably ask when you are going to try for the opposite sex. Stupid! Try and keep in mind that generally people are well intentioned and trying to be helpful. That said, always remember that you are your own expert in your child and just like all moms who came before you, you will figure out this journey with and without the help of others.