Life is about to radically change, I know. A good night sleep will be a thing of the past, got it. Fed is best, yup, well aware. As a pregnant mom, you probably know what to expect, right? No doubt, you've been hit with baby info from just about every angle including your mom, sister, midwife, doctor, blogs, TV shows and random women in the street. But wait. There are 8 things about newborns you weren't warned about!
Whilst the well-known facts get repeated and regurgitated until they are etched into every prenatal mind, there are particular bits of newborn information you just don't hear about. These slip under the radar and catch new moms off-guard, often prompting anxious research on Google. To save you some worry, here's a list of 8 things about newborns you weren't warned about.
8 Things About Newborns You Weren't Warned About
He will look like a wrinkly old alien
When you first hold your darling angel, be prepared to say hello to a tiny alien crossed with a 90-year-old man. Yes, your brain will be saturated with oxytocin, the hormone that causes you to gaze misty-eyed at your little miracle, but objectively speaking he will look, erm… unconventional.
In the movies, newborns are typically played by adorable three-month-old babies. In real life, he will likely emerge from your birth canal looking wrinkly, bruised and sporting a cone shaped head. Don't worry! A couple of months later and he'll start fitting his skin and looking truly beautiful.
You'll become a walking sick blanket
You know how dogs pee to mark their territory? Perhaps that's what newborns are doing when they constantly sick-up all over your top, pants, jacket, face, hair… everywhere.
New babies often bring up lots of milk. Sometimes, it seems their whole feed. Don't worry, it's their stomachs getting used to digesting. Of course, if you think there may be a problem, always consult your caregivers, but do be aware that some spit up is a typical experience when feeding.
Her first poop will come from Mordor
Picture Lord Of The Rings. Can you remember the Orcs (the baddies) from Mordor? Imagine one of them sneezing into a diaper. Are you seeing a blob of dark black, sticky tar? Well, this is what your darling's first few poops will look like and it’s called meconium.
Edward Scissor Nails
His adorable eency weency fingernails will be the cutest thing you've ever seen. However, thinner than paper, you'll soon discover that he has five little razor blades on each hand. These ninja weapons will be used to scratch and draw blood both from his own face and yours. (How does something so sweet inflict actual bodily harm?) Thank goodness for baby no-scratch mittens!
Sneaky stretch marks reveal themselves
You may have been disciplined, rubbing your belly twice a day with lotions and potions to prevent stretch marks. If so, well done. You'll likely have prevented numerous white lines.
Hang on though! Before you celebrate reaching full term stretch mark-free, be warned, some sneaky ones may reveal themselves only after your baby is out and your taught skin loosens.
Skin like a zombie
You may expect your baby to have radiant, golden skin like the ones in the diaper ads. Try not to be too disappointed when your newborn develops dry, patchy, flaky skin and a solid crust of yellow cradle cap on her head. It's common for newborns to develop various rashes and skin blemishes. Their skin has been submerged in amniotic fluid for nine months and now it needs to adjust to air, blankets, and clothes etc.
Naturally, follow your intuition. If it doesn't seem right or you are unsure about a rash, then discuss it with your caregivers. Just don't panic if your newborn doesn't have that “baby-soft” skin you heard about.
It may not feel like love at first sight
Upon first cradling your baby in your arms, you will likely have a range of mixed emotions. This is especially true if it's your first. What you feel will be highly personal and unique. You may feel love at first sight. If so, savor this wonderful experience. Many of us, however, feel a mixture of more confusing and sometimes unsettling emotions.
When I first held my baby, my rational head told me that I ought to love this person and have an instant bond. I didn't. In fact, the tiny human in my arms felt like a stranger. I'd never met them before, not face to face. I couldn't quite get my head round the fact that I was a mother. Yes, I was 29 but I still felt like a child myself. It was surreal, reconciling my ideas of how I “should” feel with how I actually did.
If possible, don't go into childbirth with too many expectations about how you'll feel. As a new mom, you'll probably be surprised by the emotions that come up for you. They may be blissful, and they may be uncomfortable.
You may not want to put him down
During those precious postpartum weeks, you might not want to put your baby down. He's literally been a part of you for nine months and so it's very natural to want to hold and cuddle him, almost continuously! Life, however, continues and it's not always easy to do things with a baby in your arms. A great solution is a baby sling or carrier. If you want to know how to pick one, I've written a whole guide on the topic. Thankfully, it only takes a couple of days before you and dad become baby carrying pros and get your hands back.
What Surprised You About Your Baby?
Those first few weeks are generally pretty wild. You may strike it lucky with a chilled baby; alternatively, you'll get a screamer. (I've experienced both.) Either way, if you are ready for newborn antics that you aren't typically warned about, then you can take these in your stride. Hopefully, this will make it a little easier.
Good luck, mamma. You can do it!