10 Things I Never Knew About Having A Baby
Before having a baby, I had my own thoughts and opinions on what motherhood was like. But after going through pregnancy and actually having my own baby, I realized how much my previous ideas differed from reality. Here are 10 things I never knew about having a baby.
My baby’s needs are so much more important than my own.
This was something I started feeling strongly about before my son was born. If I had extra money to shop with, and I needed clothes and other things, my first priority was finding things to buy for my son. I know that, as a mom, there are things I need and I’m not suggesting that other mothers neglect their own needs. I’m just saying this is something that I never thought much about until my son entered the picture. No matter what it is, my baby’s needs will always be before mine.
Sleep becomes a luxury.
While pregnant, especially when it’s the first time, you hear a lot of “get your sleep now while you can, because you won’t sleep much after the baby is born”. I honestly didn’t believe it. When my son was born, regardless of being utterly worn out, I still couldn’t sleep that night. I was just too excited. I spent a couple of days at the hospital, and when my husband brought our baby and me home, I was so exhausted that my husband so sweetly took over so I could rest. That was actually the beginning of a very long season of not sleeping. To this day, I still have to squeeze in naps whenever I can.
One piece of advice that’s frequently given is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Since you have to be awake when the baby’s awake, this is a good rule of thumb.
Seeing the world from a new, fresh perspective.
It has been such an awesome experience for me to see things as my son sees them. Of course, I’m not literally seeing through his eyes, but watching him grow and learn things that seem so small and very basic. I watched my son, as an infant, studying his fingers and how he could move them. He became fascinated with his feet, and even the hair on his head. Everything is new to a baby, and I enjoy so much seeing him learn. From different sounds and textures to baths and clothes… just everything. I know that he also doesn’t understand things like financial worries, which I’m glad for. I think a lot of children know more than they should about stuff they can’t do anything about anyway, so no need to stay awake at night worrying and wondering how mom and dad are going to make ends meet.
I realize how valuable life is, and how it’s not to be taken for granted. Seeing how a child is eager to learn and explore, not fearing the world but wanting to understand it, has opened my eyes to a greater perspective on life and the simple ways of enjoying it.
Respect for other mothers.
Until my son was born, I never understood what a mother experiences in having a baby. When you’re pregnant, especially if you have friends and family nearby, it’s like you’re expected to “share” your baby with everyone pretty much the moment your baby is born. Loved ones show up, baby gets passed around, photos are taken, etc. In my case, my husband and I pre-planned to *not* have anyone waiting for us, or there after I gave birth. It was wonderful to just sit in a quiet room with my husband, holding our baby and talking. I wouldn’t trade that for anything and that’s our plan for any future babies, too.
But more than that, I realized how important it is to respect mothers for all they went through to bring their babies into the world and give them their space, their special time with their infants. There were people who got very offended because I didn’t throw a party or invite anyone over after bringing my son home. It annoyed me that most people weren’t showing respect for the fact that I was a brand new mom and fresh out of the hospital myself, after the most tiring experience of my life. Definitely the most amazing, but so very exhausting. I did allow a visit with a few close family members at the hospital the day after my son was born (we had to stay for 2 days), but nothing immediately after returning home.
There were also people I didn’t even know, but who knew my husband, that wanted to see our baby. People that didn’t know me only acknowledged that my son was my husband’s – and no recognition that I gave birth to him. I understood a few things, and I stick by my feelings to this day. A woman who has a baby doesn’t do it just so everyone else can “see and hold the new baby”. I think it’s great if it’s wanted. If you’re a new mom and you want to show your baby off and have a party or what not, then I support that. What I’m talking about though is when people invite themselves over and think they have a free pass to your baby just because of their relation to you. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, whoever, often think they have special rights to *their* ( fill in the blank ). My whole point here is just that a baby’s mother should definitely be respected for who she is and for all she’s done. Nobody else carried my son for 9 months or went through the painful labor and delivery to bring him into this world. The same goes for every other mother out there.
Babies have to learn who and what you are.
After watching numerous baby videos during my pregnancy with my son, I was under the impression that the moment a baby is born, there’s an immediate attachment where the baby knows exactly who mommy is and a bond is instantly created. This isn’t the case. Now, I’ll admit, in situations where the doctor puts the baby on the mother’s chest immediately, and there’s a lot of skin to skin contact and/breastfeeding, an attachment begins. Something I realized though was how, while at the hospital for a couple of days, several different nurses held my son and he didn’t seem to know who his mommy was. Any woman at that point could have been his mommy, so it seemed, by his response.
Over time, however (and especially doing the skin to skin contact frequently) babies understand just who their mommy and daddy are, so don’t worry about it.
Breastfeeding isn’t what I thought it would be.
Before my son was born, I thought I had it all figured out. I *knew* that when he was born, I’d nurse. Breastfeeding would be a breeze, for sure. It might be easy for some new moms, but honestly, it just wasn’t easy for me. I never nursed my son, although I will say he didn’t go without his momma’s milk. I breastfed via bottles from using a breast pump, which I’m soo thankful for. I didn’t know about breast pumps and bottle feeding babies breastmilk in that way, but that’s definitely an awesome invention. There was something about nursing that I couldn’t get the hang of. Besides that, it bothered me to think that if I had times where I just needed to rest, or had a headache, etc., I’d still have to nurse him. In those situations, my husband was able to bottle feed him my milk, and it all worked out so well. I also didn’t know how long it took just to get the milk. It’s like, 20-30 minutes every couple of hours to get enough milk to exclusively breastfeed. I had no idea that would be the case. It’s like having a part time job in itself, just by being a mom who breastfeeds. I believe it’s worth it though, definitely worth it!
Baby clothes that are comfortable and convenient are best.
This was a very important lesson learned, and fortunately it wasn’t too costly of one. I think a lot of new moms that shop while pregnant are super excited about finding cute clothes for the new baby. I think also that convenience and comfort of the clothes are overshadowed often times by the appearance of the clothes. For example, I picked out some really cute outfits that had buttons in various areas, including the back. When my son was born, I learned fast how important comfort is for the baby. Some of the buttons on the clothes were hard and I decided not to put them on my baby. Another thing I noticed were designs on clothes that were embroidered on. I felt the inside of the clothes and instantly noticed how scratchy the material was, and opted out of putting them on my baby as well. I began to inspect everything I put on my baby, to be sure it was comfortable for him.
And then there’s the issue of convenience. When taking into consideration the numerous diaper changes every day, it quickly dawned on me that I don’t want to spend much time removing/unfastening clothes each time I change a diaper. Onesies are great. So are the wearable blankets (even the thin ones for Summer nights). I don’t suggest anyone invest in a baby’s wardrobe that’s full of fancy clothes that aren’t comfy for the baby, which is of utmost importance, and of course second to that is convenience for the parents.
Not all babies are the same.
Every baby has his or her own unique personality, and it’s not immediately clear what that personality is. After my son was a few months old, his personality started to become more understandable. Now, when I watch the videos I filmed back when he was first born, I can see the little expressions he had that I didn’t recognize at the time, but see how he still makes them and how they’re linked to different personality traits.
Some babies enjoy being held, some don’t. Some babies are more clingy, while others are more independent. Some are more outgoing, some are shy. One thing that’s for sure, every baby is wonderful and precious.
Milestones are so much fun.
From the tiny things to the big ones, watching your baby grow and develop is a lot of fun. That first “coo” and baby babble, the first real bath, the first smile, first giggle, first tooth, crawling, the list goes on and on. All of these moments are exciting. I highly recommend keeping a baby diary and writing down all of the memorable moments. Definitely take lots of photos!
A new kind of love.
More than anything, I never knew until my son was born just how much love I could have for someone. I’m very sensitive when it comes to topics about babies and children. They are so precious, little gifts from God. But I never knew until having one of my own just how true the expression “There’s nothing like a mother’s love” really is.
It’s one thing to be in love with your spouse, or to love those in your life. But it’s an entirely different kind of love when you look at your baby and know he/she is a part of you, and has a special place in your heart and soul. Seeing how sweet and innocent your baby is and knowing that you are to love, protect, and guide is such an honorable responsibility. I love my baby. I love being a mom. ^_^