10 Things Nobody Told Me About Having a Newborn


10 surprising things absolutely nobody told me about having a newborn baby!


Before Lincoln turned our party of two into a family of three, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I’d been told about the 3am feedings and not showering until 2pm (or let’s be real – not at all) but no matter how many parents I talked to, nor how many books I read, I found out there were at least 10 things I never knew about having a newborn until I experienced them myself, which I will happily share with you! And don’t be scared. Wait ’til you get to number one. (Also those are Lincoln’s feet. I could just eat them up, I could.)


10. Get ready to do some laundry

Buy stock in P&G now because you will be doing a ton of laundry in the first couple of weeks. I repeat, a TON of laundry! From mattress pads and fitted crib sheets, to blankets, onsies, and changing table covers, I had no idea one little person could produce so much laundry. That being said, now that we’ve learned to ahem, aim it DOWN, our laundry has gone down significantly, but between the three of us I still do at least one load a day. (I use Dreft detergent and Purex no-dye, fragrance-free  softener.)

9. You will sweat at night. So much.

I thought the AC was busted the first night I woke up completely soaked in sweat after getting home from the hospital. Then I tore the covers off and realized the bedroom was cool and crisp as a cucumber. The same thing happened the next night…and the next night…until my friend finally asked me – have you had the night sweats yet? Um, YES! Why didn’t anyone tell me about night sweats?! So bizarre. Just plan on adding your PJs into your daily load of laundry.

8. Hormones are a bitch

There I said it. Of course I read all about Postpartum Depression and the baby blues before Lincoln came, but I was not at all prepared for how unbelievably crazy the sudden drop in hormones made me feel after he was born. I cried (read: lost it) when Ben nearly had to go out of town for 3 days when Lincoln was a week and half old. I cried while watching a news segment about premature babies. I cried when Ben suggested we upgrade our Costco membership (not kidding.) While I don’t think I had PPD or the baby blues, there is absolutely no denying that my emotions were out of control for at least a week post-birth. Thankfully I started feeling like my normal self after two (long) weeks!

7. Forgetfulness (especially at night!)

Blame the wacky sleep schedule, but nobody told me how forgetful I’d become post-baby! A few weekends ago Ben and I were driving out to a nearby lake to take a walk with Lincoln, and I forgot the stroller. Ben feeds Lincoln in the early morning, yet just last night I found myself feeding him when he walked in with the bottle. What?! Just make lists and forgive yourself when you feel like you should be committed.

6. Experiencing uncertainty

I have always been a quick decision maker. I hate dawdling and just want to make a choice and move on. Now that Lincoln is here I have become the most uncertain person about everything! I am so scared that I’ll make a decision that will negatively affect him. Hopefully this is a phase, but I kind of doubt it…

5. Learn to love cold food

A hot meal? What’s that? I’m only kind of kidding, but be prepared for your meals to be interrupted by diaper changes, nap rescues, nighttime fussiness…and laundry. It could take you awhile to get back to that yummy hot meal you planned on eating hours ago.

4. Girlfriends are gold

I never knew I’d rely so much on my girlfriends who are also moms for advice during the first uncertain couple of weeks after having a baby. Make sure you get those girls on speed dial!

3. Battling back pain

Do yourself a favor and schedule a massage for 2 or 3 weeks post-baby BEFORE you give birth. Between nursing and pumping (which kills your back,) hunching over the diaper changing table, and constantly stooping to coo at your sweet baby, your back will be taking a beating. Ben’s been great at giving me rubs, but I can’t wait to get a legit massage!

2. Online shopping is a gift

During those first weeks when it’s not always easy to get out of the house, online shopping will become your best friend. From swaddle blankets and a hands-free pumping bra, I have ordered a ton of stuff online lately and seriously, with shipping these days, I feel like my items have all arrived 2 days later no matter which shipping option I picked. Go Amazon.

1. It is ALL worth it!

It’s cliche, but so true. I’d eat cold hot dogs, walk as a hunch back, and do 100 loads of laundry a day just to have Lincoln in our lives. 1-9 is nothing compared to the unconditional love I feel every second I look into his face, and the joy his smile and funny faces bring to my heart. I sometimes think it will literally explode inside of my chest. Of course people told me this all throughout my pregnancy, but I couldn’t fathom this love existed until I actually experienced it myself. Motherhood is hard, but it rules!

So what say you, fellow parents? What surprised you about having a newborn baby?

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  1. Losing Lindy 08.27.2013

    I have just started to get hot meals again, and V is 6. Once Lincoln can start feeding himself, you need to pull out his food early enough for it to cool, and for your to cut it. I do this for V, and don’t know why I didn’t do it before.

  2. Gina, book dragon 08.27.2013

    loved your post, Lincoln’s feet are kissable!

    My youngest is 24 now so I’ve lost a lot of the first year memories.

    #10. Man, you have to be fast with the cover-up, I think the air turned on the faucet. . .adding one more washcloth/cloth diaper/rag to the laundry every change.

    #8 Yes. Yes they are. As someone who suffered from PPD, I know your two weeks were VERY long indeed. Just be glad they ended and be ready for them after the next one.

    #1. Totally! :D

  3. Emily 08.27.2013

    My daughter was born on July 24th and you are spot on with this post! The hormones, crying, night sweats, online shopping, second guessing everything… I’m so glad I’m not alone!! :) I knew newborns were hard, but this is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, it is so worth it. I can just stare at my daughter for hours :) I’m so in love. Congrats!!

  4. Oh my gosh, your little man is so adorable!! Those feet! I’m so glad you shared this list! I definitely had no idea about any of these things!

  5. Mallory 08.27.2013

    My hormones are what surprised me the most. After I had my first one, I felt so overwhelmed and would cry about anything. It took me about 2 months before I finally felt somewhat normal. I was under the impression that after I had my baby that everything was going to be sunshine and roses…not so much! But, I must say after my 2nd baby was born it was totally different. I was already well adjusted to life with kids so it was no big deal!

    • Donna 08.27.2013

      I completely agree,Mallory! Those hormones are tough and scary! I had them from when my daughter was about 6 weeks to 3 months. It’s hormones, the reality that your whole life will never be the same, adjusting to what it feels like to NEVER feel truly relaxed, not having ONE CLUE of what you’re doing 98% of the time and then the guilt from feeling ANY sadness when you’re soooo lucky to have a healthy baby all rolled into one! I think if all women just admitted we ALL have that “No, I REALLY can’t do this” moment at least once, then no one would feel bad or scared by it!:)

  6. char eats greens 08.27.2013

    I definitely became more forgetful after baby than before, which I always thought was the opposite!! I would also say, learn to swallow food without even chewing. If before baby Char had a glimpse at after baby Char, she would think, ‘how the hell is she eating without choking?!’ I legit don’t even chew my food sometimes because I know that I gotta get to baby! hahah

  7. Donna 08.27.2013

    Great post! My daughter is a year & a half and I STILL say DAILY ” this is the s$&@ they don’t tell you!” Here’s 2 more for the newborn stage- 1- they start to smile when they’re 6 weeks, but is also the peak for them crying. I had no clue until an aweful night of her crying and found the 6- week crying spell is so normal (yep- no one tells ya that one!)
    2- your hair falls out…A LOT! Mine did for months…and now I think the new hair that grew back is even MORE ” humidity prone!!”

    • Jess 08.27.2013

      Yea, no one told me about my hair falling out and so I was shocked and grossed out! :) But yes, it does fall out and it has taken almost 8 months for it to stop. Now I have a bunch of short baby hairs that look a little silly. Can’t wait for them to grow! But…it is all worth it :)

      • YEP!! I have the short baby hairs too, Jess!!! Hahahahahaha…it almost looks like 1990 fluffed bangs all over again;)

  8. Annnnd this is why I am going to wait a few more years to have babies. I am totally planning on having kids and know that all of the craziness will be worth it but I still need a few more years of married life with just me and the hub. <3

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.27.2013

      That’s why Ben and I waited 5 years! It’s all worth it, but yes, this is a crazy time!

      • morgan 08.27.2013

        All of the above (and more) was why we waited a long time too. We were together 9+ years, and married for 4 before our little girl was born. And you’re right. It is SO worth the wait. But really, no one tells you HOW HARD it all is. Just existing is hard, not to mention trying to get anything done. Like eating. Congrats on your beautiful baby boy!

  9. Madison 08.27.2013

    This is a very informative post and I am so grateful that you did this! I am not yet a parent and learned alot from this. :)

  10. Lindsey 08.27.2013

    LOVE this post! I have many girlfriends with kids that have told me the same things. I know it will be the biggest change ever but still agree it will all be 110% work it :)

  11. Dena 08.27.2013

    #6 – NOT a phase. I’ll leave it at that :)

  12. Amy 08.27.2013

    I totally cried the day my daughter’s social security card arrived in the mail! I’ve never been one to cry…about much of anything…but motherhood has made me such a sap! I think it’s probably a good change!

    No one could have prepared me for the level of vulnerability you feel becoming a parent. Honestly, the whole heart beating out of your chest thing because you’re so overwhelmed by love and care for the little one? I don’t know how people have more than one…I’m not sure my heart could handle it!


  13. Lisa 08.27.2013

    This might be TMI, but I had no idea how long I would have the post-delivery bleeding. I pictured sitting by the pool this summer while my baby napped during the day. HA, I haven’t been in a bathing suit all summer.As soon as I think it’s over, it’s not.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a small sacrifice. I love being a mother, and it’s been wonderful spending our days together, but they definitely don’t include a swimsuit.

    At the risk of sharing too much, I feel like mothers should be warned about this. I had no idea. That being said, it’s been so wonderful watching my little one grow and change. It gets better every day!

    • Vanessa 08.27.2013

      Totally true!! No one told me about this one!

  14. Joanna 08.27.2013

    I had the worst night sweats with my first. So gross. I would add to this list (and I know you’re not there yet) weaning-induced depression. Seriously. I didn’t even know it was a thing, and this is my third! And it’s not the “oh I’m so sad I won’t have this bonding experience anymore” depression–I’m counting the days that I will have complete freedom from my boob-attached babe. It’s the crazy hormone-induced depression. Not long after he started solids I found myself crying all day long. I never had the baby blues, but this is a bitch. Just a heads up. I don’t think it’s talked about often.

    • Joanna 08.27.2013

      Hair loss is another big one. Mine started at about four months after my son was born. Gobs and gobs of hair. I would clean my brush daily post-baby, and it would look like I hadn’t cleaned it in weeks (pre-baby). Fortunately that only lasted a few months. I was really freaked out for a while though.

  15. Sara 08.27.2013

    I laughed at all of these because they are so true…especially the crazy emotions. I NEVER cry, but for the first few weeks after my daughter was born I cried at everything…and then I would cry because I was crying! :)

    I also never new I could sit and stare and something so much…all those times I should have been sleeping, but I just wanted to see her and make sure she was ok. That never stops.

    I just sent my baby to kindergarten this week.

  16. Katie 08.27.2013

    The hormones are ridiculous! I made the mistake of watching “I’m Having Their Baby” just a few days after having my daughter. Big mistake! The ugly cry came out for sure! The hormones have settled down thankfully, but 14 months later I’m still eating cold food half the time :)

  17. Becky 08.27.2013

    This is weird, but I never knew how much I would think about, talk about, worry about POOP! You have to keep track of how often they poop, make sure they are pooping enough! Then, they sometimes get constipated so you think about trying to get them to poop. It goes on and on and on!

  18. Meredith 08.27.2013

    Our midwives told us this, but I didn’t believe them until my little man actually arrived – Nap when he naps. Took a little while for me to realize that pushing myself to try to clean and do laundry while he napped when I was so EXHAUSTED did no one any good. I didn’t nap during his afternoon nap every day, but a few times a week or on the days we’d had a particularly long night or challenging morning. I’m not and have never been a napper, but those naps in the first 3 months when I was home with him were life savers.

  19. Julie 08.27.2013

    The biggest thing(s) I learned from a newborn? The second one is easier. Naps are highly underrated (even when newborn grows into an 8 year old going on 40.) Babies are very resilient and it won’t kill them (or you) to let the laundry go for a day or let them amuse themselves (that’s what kissable baby feet are for, after all). Most everything marketed for babies is simply that — marketing. When you decide how much stuff you really DON’T need, find a good consignment store (Me and Mommy-to-Be is great [WDM and Ankeny]). Most of the inventory they carry is in excellent shape, used very little and dirt cheap.

    You’re doing great! Now go take a nap…

  20. Molly 08.27.2013

    i agree with ALL of this!!! especially #10. it is worth it. SO worth it! i get crazy hormones and cry like a crazy person. our third was born right before our oldest started third grade last year. i lost it. it think she thought i was going nuts:) we laughed about it just the other day.

  21. Yes, yes, yes! I can relate all too well! Those awful night sweats… They’re a joy, aren’t they? You’re doing great, Mama!

  22. Cari 08.27.2013

    Great list! I’m expecting my second in about seven weeks, and I forgot about some of those things (night sweats–ack!). These are good reminders. One thing that surprised me is that my son didn’t really sleep as much as most newborns (he’s what the books called a “wakeful baby”) and he didn’t like sleeping in his bassinet or crib as much as he liked sleeping in someone’s arms. Talk about not getting anything done (eating, showering, etc.)!

    Really no one can prepare you for the experience of becoming a parent, and I completely agree with No. 1–it is all worth it!

  23. Adrianne 08.27.2013

    Breastfeeding can be the most unnatural, natural thing you’ve ever done. It took six weeks (and many tears – mine) of trying to get my daughter to latch properly before we finally got it, but then one day it just clicked. Exclusively pumping is a b**ch. And whoever said that the second is easier wasn’t kidding. I can make quick decisions again, bf’ing is going a million times better, my confidence is back. So much better this time around!

  24. Aura 08.27.2013

    I have an 11 week old, and I totally agree with everything. I couldn’t believe how long those first 2 weeks were. Everyone kept saying I’d feel better (emotionally), she would sleep more, and I’d develop more of a routine after these magical 2 weeks. All that happens eventually, but at the time, all I could do was cry at the thought that I’d never make it. I’m happy to say we’ve gotten into our groove, and you really do fall more in love with them every. single. day.

  25. aaaand my ovaries just shrieked with delight at that photo of lincoln’s feet. there needs to be a surgeon general’s warning above those!

  26. Monica 08.27.2013

    Sooooo spot on !!! I so miss the baby days now that my kiddos are all grown up. Enjoy these precious days- they go by in the blink of an eye. And thank you for sharing your little precious baby with us :)

  27. Heather 08.27.2013

    Dreft? I think I used 1 box/bottle of that and then washed everything with our regular detergent.

    I did not take into consideration all the clothes of mine I’d have to wash from being spit on.

    Try to cuddle more and worry less and recline to save your back.

  28. Marissa 08.27.2013

    Nights sweats ARE the worst. I completely forgot about them (and SO SO many other things) between #1 and #2. The best piece of advice I ever got about babies was from my other and it’s that NOTHING lasts long. Every stretch of sleeplessness, teething, rashes, wanting that bottle, then the other bottle, then loving this toy, then a new toy. Just don’t sweat anything and don’t turn your life upside down for every new problem, because in a couple of weeks, they’ll be a whole new person again and all the weird eccentricities usually disappear as quickly as they appeared.

  29. Danielle 08.27.2013

    My baby is almost 3 months old and I agree with all of these! Also, I have learned to never take a long, hot shower for granted. 15 minutes of peace and quiet. Showers were the highlight of my day the first few weeks. Sad, but true!

  30. Thank you for this honest and timely (for me) list! My little one is due in November so it is super helpful to get real answers about what to expect :-)

  31. A breast pump is worth its weight in gold. I wish someone would have told me this. If you’re planning on having more than one child think of it as a long term investment. I was a newlywed, still in college, and dirt poor when I had my first. We bought a cheap pump that didn’t even last four months. What we spent on cheap pumps over the course of my first two kiddos, we could have purchased a great pump. With my last we finally got a Medela pump and go and it made a world of difference. I was actually able to pump enough to go one a week long vacation when my little guy was 9 months old and maintain my supply while I was gone. Worth it!

  32. Liz 08.27.2013

    Great post!

  33. Andie 08.27.2013

    The uncertainty does not end. My little guy just turned 2 on Friday and sometimes I’m still unsure if what I am doing is right. It’s all part of the learning curve!

    With that being said- don’t let others tell you what is best for Lincoln. You are his mom and you will know best. :)

    You are doing great! He’s so cute!!! (and you look great)

    something I learned: you don’t need 1/2 of the crap you register for. LOL

  34. Ashley Breese 08.27.2013

    This is my 3rd. 2nd day back to work today :( and I had completely forgotten about night sweats until the 4th night waking up soaked. So yes the memory thing is also present. Lincoln is so adorable, love his smile and great job catching it on film. Still trying to catch my little girls!

  35. Jennie 08.27.2013

    I’ve got a newborn too! One month on Saturday. I agree with the copious amounts of laundry. Also, I knew newborns would go through a ton of diapers, but really I had no idea. Change him and then two seconds later he’s making a funny face..refilling. Definitely recommend asking for diapers and wipes on your registry!

  36. Jaime D. 08.27.2013

    Omg – love this! I have a 5 month old and this list is SPOT ON. I can especially relate to #8 (I was an absolute MESS the first two weeks), #2 (online shopping = Godsend) and #1(could not even begin to imagine how much love I was going to have for my daughter). Thanks for sharing this!

  37. shannon 08.27.2013

    Even tho mine or 22,20 and 16. What you have said is so true. I remember crying alot after my second was born. 23 months apart for my 2 boys. It was hard but they are so different but best friends. And my daughter well she is a hoot. Soo worth every tear, sleepless night and aching back. Just one more thing. ENJOY EVERYTHING! Write down things he does, of course take lots of pictures. When mine were young we did not have cell phones to take a quick picture so save every memory. It sure goes by in a blink. Before you know it he will be graduating from high school. By the way he is adorable!

  38. Andrea 08.27.2013

    everything is soooooo true!!!

  39. Sara 08.27.2013

    These are all so true! The hormones were the worst! I seriously was a loose cannon and I knew I was being irrational…but there wasn’t a dang thing I could do about it. There were moments where I kid you not, I saw true fear in my husbands eyes. :)

    I was also surprised by how gassy babies could be and how loud their poops could be! Hee hee.

    It’s all so, so worth it though.

  40. Alison 08.27.2013

    I would add just straight up ‘crazy’ in addition to night time forgetfulness! We caught each other sitting up and rocking/shhhh-ing an invisible baby, imagining she was in bed with us (when she never co-slept) and also handing each other bottles to feed a waiting baby when she was still in her crib fast asleep.

    Scary! :)

    • Jamie 08.27.2013

      Yes! Mine is just over a year and I still wake up sometimes trying to ‘keep the baby from falling off the bed,’ and we never did the co-sleeping. I’m not sure if the dog appreciates the attention that time of night, either…

  41. Wow I am so glad I read blogs because I am learning so much about having babies! I did tear up a bit at the end when you said it’s all worth it…thanks for including that! ;)

    Can’t wait to have my own little one that will turn my world upside down! :)

  42. Jayme 08.27.2013

    You made me laugh out loud! So, so, so true… and for me it was learning how to put myself second… and all that i THOUGHT I had to get done. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d give ANYTHING to go back and see any of the four as a newborn again (and their feet! AWESOME picture) Such precious and fleeting moments… and just like you said, all at the same time when hormones are raging ;) thanks so much for sharing!

  43. You make it look so easy and you look so good! You’re a pro at this mom stuff. I have an 11 year old (just wait for the tweens!) and a crazy 16 month old. You never stop feeling uncertain and the mommy guilt never seems to go away but being a mom is awesome. Even if you do need to give yourself a high-five at the end of the day in the form of an evening glass of wine :)

  44. Kelly 08.27.2013

    I would add that soon after you have your first child, you realize you didn’t need half of what you registered for. Dreft is good for about a month and then you realize you can wash everyone’s clothes in a “Free and Clear” type of detergent and that makes life a lot easier to not do so many separate loads…and it’s cheaper. And, as much as we all want to protect our children and shower them with love and attention, allow your child to grow up, too. Jumping up at every noise they make to soothe them, tiptoeing around them while they’re sleeping next to your bed, rocking them to sleep every night for the first year, etc. all make it a bit more difficult for them to be good sleepers down the road (been there, done that!). I’m just saying enjoy them, snuggle them, etc. but don’t allow your attachment/emotions to hold them back from having the chance to soothe themselves / put themselves to sleep when they are ready and capable to do so. In my humble opinion, it’s good for both parents and baby…and for the babysitter/grandparents!

  45. Kari S. 08.27.2013

    Great post!!

  46. kelsey williams 08.27.2013

    Those night sweats are the absolute worst.

  47. Erin 08.27.2013

    I had a little guy the same day as you ( and in Des Moines too :)) .

    I totally agree with all of these! I had no clue about the night sweats!

    Also, I never knew you could be so tired that you could fall asleep while pumping.

    I can’t get over staring at our little guy and all the cute things he does already either :)

  48. These are such great tips! I’m only 24, and am nowhere near ready to have a baby, but I feel like these tips have been very enlightening! And OMG…Lincoln’s feet!!!!! They are SO adorable!

  49. Emily S 08.27.2013

    About the post-natal massage: I recommend side lying like they do for pre-natal massages. I got one when my 2nd baby was a few weeks old, and got a blocked duct from lying on my boobs (even with a pillow underneath you!) Just something to consider :)

  50. Katie 08.27.2013

    Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. Even if you think he doesn’t dig it. He will. And this website is gold for sleeping help: http://www.troublesometots.com/ Once I started following the recommended number of naps everyone was happier.

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