The journey I’ve been taken on as a new mom has been long and tedious at some points. It’s also been incredibly rewarding and life-changing. If you’re a new mom or about to become one, this list of things I didn’t know about new mom life might help you be a little more, prepared than I was!
How long my baby’s fingernails would be
I had no idea that baby fingernails grow at such a fast pace and that they can actually hurt you with their nails. No one told me that I would have to trim them almost every other day. And that it’s scary to trim a baby’s nails… you’re so paranoid about possibly hurting them or snipping their skin because their nails are so tiny and hard to reach. My daughter is three months old and I’m still afraid to trim her nails sometimes.
How quickly they go through clothes on a daily basis
As a new mom, I didn’t know that baby poop stains almost immediately. If your baby poops, you have to get the clothing item into the washing machine almost as soon as possible or the poop will stain permanently. It’s absolutely hardcore and I wasn’t ready for it. Definitely, have some baby-safe stain fighter on hand! Something like Dreft, or a generic equivalent.
I bought my daughter so many pretty outfits and she had a lot of hand-me-downs from her cousin that I feel bad about ruining. I’ll have to look up some DIY about how to remove poop stains from baby clothes. I heard that leaving them out in the sun can work wonders but I haven’t tried it myself. I’ll have to get on that!
How quickly babies grow
Everyone tells you that babies grow super fast.
It’s not that I didn’t believe them, but I’ve never seen it myself. As someone who never necessarily wanted children, I didn’t notice how quickly babies around me grew. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I bought her way too many outfits not knowing that she would only get to wear half of them before she outgrew the size. It makes me sad!
Looking back, I would not have bought her so many things. I was warned about this one, but I never believed people when they said babies grow so quickly their first year of life. Whenever we get around to having our next child, I will not buy nearly as many things for them. I feel like it’s a race to get my daughter to wear as many things as possible so that I won’t have wasted so much money. I’m constantly trying to photograph her in the cute things that I got for her before she grows out of them.
To regain some of my wasted cash, I’ve been selling the things she hasn’t used much or at all on Poshmark. I’ve managed to recoup around $200 so far, selling the stuff she never really got around to wearing.
How rewarding it would be when she genuinely smiled at me for the first time
Being a new mom is a wonderful, life-changing experience, but it’s also heartbreakingly challenging at times. You might feel at times like your baby dislikes you: they cry throughout the night and nothing you do seems to work. But once they smile at you – like, a real, genuine smile, – that can make all the negative feelings evaporate.
So many times within the first month or so of my daughter’s life, I felt so stressed out. I thought I would never connect with her at some points and I was worried that she didn’t like me at all. I tried to remind myself that she’s just new to all of this and probably scared. I stuck it out, taking it day by day (so hard, because my husband was away [military]) and we got through it together and now her and I have an incredible bond.
When she smiled at me socially for the first time, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. I can’t explain to you how rewarding it was to see her looking at me with such a look of joy and happiness and then to see her looking at me the same way on subsequent days, recognizing me and being genuinely happy to see me.
At the time of writing this, she’s three months old and she smiles and talks her way through the day when she’s in a good mood. When I walk into her room to get her out of her crib, she smiles excitedly and coos. It’s such a marked difference from her first month of life. If you’re a new mom going through a rough time right now, just know that it will get better and that your baby does love you, wants to see you, and is comforted by you.
Some of the “newborn must haves” are not necessarily must-have’s for your baby
Every baby is different. I thought that I would be so prepared for my baby by watching YouTube videos and stocking up on recommended items before she was born. This is something that I’ve heard people mention before as well. Every baby is different, every mom is different, and every new mom and baby will have different needs and things that work for them.
But again, I took it with a grain of salt. I figured that I could have everything I needed before my daughter was born so that I wouldn’t have to run out to the store after she was here. This was important to me because my husband was going to be away for quite a while after our daughter was born. I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
Also, none of my close friends have had children yet, so I didn’t have anyone personally that I could ask about modern newborn necessities. Some of the “unnecessary” purchases I made, I do not regret making, but some of them I do. I don’t regret stocking up on diapers, wipes, bottles, bibs, and clothes. And even though I rarely or never used them, I don’t regret grabbing diaper rash cream, a nose Frieda, and infant Tylenol. I wouldn’t have wanted to be caught in the middle of the night needing those items and not having them. Don’t think that you have to have every new gadget or piece of gear, though! You really don’t need most of them.
Babies don’t have to sleep in their cribs for quite some time (or at all)
When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things that I bought was her crib. I was so excited about it, but I had no idea that babies don’t really need them. She’s in her crib now, but for the first three months of life, she was in a bassinet beside my bed. I understand now that this is fairly common knowledge for people who know things about babies – but I did not. I was not interested in babies whatsoever.
And I thought, “Well, babies sleep in cribs, right? Her entire nursery set sat unused until she was three months old. If I would’ve known that she didn’t need all of that at first, I would’ve put that off. Financially, that would’ve been better for our family. I love the crib that I have! It converts into a toddler bed. So, I’m OK with having made the purchase. But I wouldn’t have put the financial strain on myself to get everything set up “perfectly”, looking back.
How, even if you swear you’ll never become “that mom”. The one always posting pictures of her baby… You probably will become her! And that’s ok.
I was never a fan of babies before all of this. I think that I assumed that moms who post pictures of their babies all the time had lost their sense of self-identity. Is their baby all they have to define themselves? Scary.
I was wrong, though. Moms just love their babies and want to share their cuteness with friends and family! I quickly became “that mom” and I don’t regret it. A lot of people who follow me genuinely want to see pictures of her. It’s a good way to for them to keep up with her and me because I don’t see a lot of those people too often. When I stop posting pictures of her, they ask for them.
Now, I realize that features like “Unfollow” on Facebook exist for a reason. People can opt-in to see photos of my child. Or they can opt-out of the baby spam by unfollowing me. Before I had my child, there were plenty of parents to be friends with. I didn’t necessarily want to see pictures of their kids every single day, however. By choosing to see less of their posts I saw some of these pictures but not all of them.
Once you become a parent, there’s just no way that you can restrain yourself from sharing your kid’s pictures. Your entire world revolves around them! Even if you work full-time or own your own business, they become your everyday life and what you want to post about. Becoming “that mom” has been amazing. My long-distance friends can keep up with her growth and progress. And I love having the pictures to look back on!
Pregnancy hormones are real and they persist after childbirth
When I was pregnant, I often got upset about nothing. The tiniest things would cause me to feel anxious.
A sink full of dishes that I couldn’t get to?
Work assignment I’m falling behind on?
Clogged garbage disposal?
I would flip out if something went wrong or if I felt out of control of the situation.
That feeling has persisted throughout the fourth trimester. I still feel hopeless when everything doesn’t fall together perfectly. I realize that this is ridiculous. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling this way in the moment. (cue girl shrugging emoji) Just know that if you’re still experiencing crazy ups and downs after giving birth, it’s normal! If you suspect even a little that it may be postpartum depression, make an appointment to see your doc, though. That stuff is no joke!
Do you have anything else to add to this post? I’d love to hear it! Comment below with whatever it is you didn’t know before becoming a new mom.