15 Things Nobody Told You About Life With a Newborn

Being a new parent is a trial by fire...either you succeed or you get burned. Here are the 15 things no one told you about life with a newborn.


You’ve just had a new baby—congratulations! You may have been planning for impending parenthood for nearly 10 months, but starting life at home with a newborn will be full of surprises. You can have the nursery ready, a bag packed and a diaper bag filled, but no matter how much talking, reading and researching you do, the truth is that much of being a new parent is a trial by fire.

Those first few days, weeks, and even months will introduce you to one new experience after another as you get to know the new little person in your life. The good news is, you can handle it. The tricky news? You’ll never be able to guess just what “it” may be until it happens.

Here are few of the things that might come up along the way:


1. It’s all up to you. All of it. Up to you.


There will be times that you look at your partner (or the mirror), and ask, “Are we supposed to know what to do here?” Don’t worry, the answer is no. But you have to figure something out anyway, because you’re the parent.

2. If you find something that calms your baby, just go with it, no matter how weird.


Baby likes back? Baby likes long car rides at midnight? Baby likes being wiggled over your shoulder while you walk in circles for hours? Do it. Just do it.

3. Things will come out of every end of your baby, all the time.


You’ve probably been warned about poop explosions and projectile vomiting, but the true volume (and velocity) of a baby’s outgoing bodily fluids can boggle a new parent’s mind.

4. You will do whatever it takes to get some sleep


Whatever. It. Takes.

5. Self-care may fall by the wayside for a bit.


Some days, just putting on a clean shirt will feel like a victory. Don’t stress about those days, and when things calm down, go for a walk, a massage or a haircut and you’ll feel like a million bucks again.

6. It may start to feel like your baby is launching a campaign to keep you from sleeping.


She is. (Just kidding. A baby’s sleep cycle is different from our own. It will even out in time, and until it does, see number 4)

7. As soon as you get used to how things are going, everything will change.


This is true at every stage of the game, but especially with newborns. If the change is tough, like sleep resistance or crankiness, just remember that with any baby, “it’s not forever –it’s for now.”

8. Some days will feel never-ending, but boy those weeks will fly by.


There will be afternoons of clock-watching and nights that feel like the dawn will never arrive, but time plays funny tricks on a parent. Blink and your baby will be another month old.

9. Your partner may have different ideas about how to deal with the baby. It’s important to be open-minded.


The transition from being a couple to becoming a family is not always 100% smooth. Try to handle the bumps along the way with fairness and respect, or at least save the complaining for a walk with your BFF.

10. Clusterfeeding.


Have you ever watched a mother robin fly continuously to and from her nest, mouth full of worms, trying to satisfy the crying, ravenous little chicks whose hunger never ceases? Yeah, that.

11. Breastfeeding will make you ravenous.


Oh yeah, your baby may not be the only person whose hunger never seems to abate. Nursing moms need a lot more calories than usual, so keep healthy, filling snacks on hand. It takes a lot of energy to keep mamas and babies fed.

12. It may take a little while for others to adjust to having a new baby around.


Pets, friends, co-workers – it may seem like, while everybody knows you just had a baby, nobody really gets that it means your life has just drastically changed. It’s an adjustment period for all, so make sure everybody gets cut a little slack.

13. Your parenting instincts will develop pretty fast.


You will go from feeling totally lost at sea to being the captain of the ship pretty quickly – promise. Trust yourself, listen to your heart and your gut, and remember that you know your baby best.

14. Being around other parents of newborns will help keep you sane.


When you are in the trenches, it’s good to be around others who are as well. Find a mom gang, play group or just sit down next to that other new parent at the park and share experiences, ask questions, laugh, cry—be with people who won’t care that there is spit-up in your hair.

15. You will rock this thing!


Yeah, you will!

This story is part of our New Baby Guide. Check out the rest of it for more info on bringing home, planning for and surviving having a new baby.

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