We have nine months to prepare as we watch our belly grow and feel kicks and movements. But somehow, when babies arrive, we can feel totally clueless (at least the first time around) about the little things newborns do. Maybe you've been around enough babies to know what is coming, or maybe you are changing a diaper for the first time in your life and have no idea where the velcro straps go. We've been there.
We asked #TeamMotherly to share what were the things they didn't know about newborns they wished someone had told them, and we received more than 2,000 responses. Here are some of them:
1. "How your birth plan and postpartum might not be the Disney Fairytale that society makes it out to be, and that it's okay to have all the emotions. There will be people who make you feel bad if you express anything other than 100% happiness." —Lindy A.
2. "That the work is endless, and that sometimes it might take a while for your partner to 'get it' and share the load almost equally, but it'll be amazing when she or he does, and it'll be amazing to see them be as close to the baby as you are." — Michali K.
3. "They gag on mucus right after birth and they pause in between breaths, both of which are terrifying. 😩" —Christen A.
4. "The first night home is the worst." —Kentuckysunshine
5. "Take lots and lots of pictures of yourself with the baby! You'll have 100 photos of baby and dad but not with yourself!!" - Kiran Z.
6. "That it is okay to bottle feed. My oldest was intolerant and had to be switched from breastfeeding to expensive formula at 5 weeks old. I felt like somehow I failed even though he cried hours less and finally gained weight."—FredaMae C.
7. "Anxiety! They said to look out for depression but anxiety was never discussed. I was blindsided."—Ann Ross E.
8. "You will think your newborn is adorable and only gets cuter... But when you look back on those candid newborn photos you will see what everyone else saw, a wrinkly pink alien baby 😂" —Farren R.
9. "That it's okay to have an 'easy' baby! Not every baby is super fussy and a bad sleeper! My son was practically sleeping through the night at 3 weeks old and I was freaking out thinking something is wrong because everyone told me to expect sleepless nights, lots of tears and trouble with breastfeeding but that isn't the case for everyone." —Lexi P.
10. "The importance of skin to skin and the golden hour for those lucky enough to keep their babies with them after they're born ❤️" —Laura T.
11. "So so so much laundry! You'll be amazed at how many loads of tiny tiny clothes, blankets, burp cloths, etc you'll wash!"—Valerie C.
12. "I'm telling you, you can't 'spoil' a baby with cuddles. No matter how many people tell you that you will. Cuddle them, they're only small for a short time ❤️❤️" —Zoe L.
13. "That it is okay to restrict the amount of visitors at the hospital and the first few weeks at home. It's okay to be selfish and want that time to spend as a new family and bonding and getting used to the new baby! My husband and I were so overwhelmed with visitors. I was learning to breastfeed, had just been cut open and had a new baby! Those first few days as so special for the new parents!" —Heather S.
14. "That clipping their tiny nails would be a traumatic event."— Shannon A.
15. "All. The. Poop. Like up the back, out the sides, all over the sheets, in the hair kind of poop and how many onesies would be ruined." —Renee N.
16. "Until you get adjusted to your new life, you will probably cry just as much as they do." —Sarah S.
17. "That you're going to look/feel like a zombie the first 12 weeks until you get used to it. 😬" —Elyse C.
18. "They go through so many changes and will likely have a peak fussiness period around 5-7 weeks but just keep going it get better at 8 weeks. ❤️" —Jera L.
19. "'Success' must be redefined to be realistic. Everyday ask yourself two questions: Is the baby alive and well? Are you alive and well? If you can answer yes to both of those questions... BOOM, SUPER SUCCESSFUL PARENTING STREAK ACTIVATED! The dishes in the sink, laundry in the dryer, and general mess will always be there. Stop letting tasks determine your worth, ladies! Crushing it no matter what the backseat of your car looks like or if you've got some pile of wrinkly sheets on a couch somewhere!" —Melissa S.
20. "A lot, but the weird noises they make, and the quivering, the weird skin rashes like cradle cap or baby acne... I spent the first 6 weeks thinking my child was seizing and developing diseases all to find it's all normal newborn stuff." —Autumn G.
21. "Getting to shower IS your 'break'. The sleep while the baby sleep advice is silly, how feeling out of control emotionally is normal. I could go on and on." —Robin L.
22. "I wish someone taught me how to be assertive towards people who criticized me in that first year; I wish someone had told me how to believe in myself and trust my heart and guts as a new mom. I wish someone had told me that I was courageous strong and that no matter what unfolded to always remember that I am good and will always be good enough for her." —Chele Y.
23. "How afraid you are of holding or even touching your tiny human! I would just stare at my son and think what am I supposed to do with this fragile little creature like why was I allowed to take him home from the hospital?" —Sarah P.
24. "How easily and quickly postpartum depression can sneak up on you with your firstborn. I was able to recognize the signs the second time around and my heart is with every Momma that has ever had to go through it .💜" —Lekeitha W.
25. "It's okay to not feel this unconditional love the first time you see them. It takes time for some people. (But it does eventually happen!) I felt very ashamed of these feelings until I started talking to other moms about it." —Daylen H.
26. "It's okay to ask for help! It's normal to be stressed out. And it's not always possible to 'sleep when the baby sleeps.'" —Britanii H.
27. "How truly gassy they are. My little one would wake up crying in pain due to gas troubles. I felt sooo bad for him!" —Ashlee S.
28. "How lonely it can feel staying home with a tiny baby. Friends and family seem to disappear once you are home from the hospital." —Catrina B.
29. "It's normal for their soft spot to pulse." —Shea H.
30. "Just go topless with lots of nipple cream, get your water and Gatorade, some good shows, and be prepared to sit on a comfy chair all day and night!! Once I knew this was normal, life was so much easier than 'waiting' to get up every five minutes." —Lauren F.
31. "The fourth trimester, how much this little person needs all your time, witching hour." —Janice B.
32. "Wearing them is sanity-saving, and they love it (usually)." —Bridget N.
33. "They don't need A LOT OF STUFF! Most of it is waste of money and just a hype." —Caren A.
34. "That your friends and family will express so much excitement before baby but offer no real help after baby arrives. I didn't fully prepare to do it alone, but that's the way it turned out to be. I wish I'd hired a doula for birth and postpartum." —Dusty S.
35. "The people that bring you food and meals and stay for 20 minutes so you can have a decent shower are the best people ever!" —Georgia E.
36. "That the first week is the hardest! Breastfeeding is hard!" —LaTrease N.
37. "That the whole 'newborns nurse eight times a day, every 3 hours' doesn't apply to all newborns, and that you'll have to schedule your life around feedings for a long while." —Michali K.
38. "How much they want to nurse especially when they are building your supply. So many hours. Nipples were so raw. Also how THIRSTY I'd be and unmotivated to cook." —Rachel K.
39. "I didn't know how hard breastfeeding would be, physically and mentally. Those first 6 weeks it's a full-time job if your baby nurses often and it's really draining. Once you're past that hard stage though it's the best thing ever and so worth it." —Shanielea M.
40. "That they lose that 'newborn' look in just a few weeks. If i have another, I'll say no to the constant visitors and really take those first few weeks in because it was over too fast!" —Megan H.
41. "Forget the normal baby shower gifts someone else will cover that. Get the new mom MAID SERVICE, help her prepare crockpot meals, or even stop by and help do laundry. The daily chores is what I struggled with most in those early months." —Lauren C.
42. "You don't have to enjoy every moment. It's hard!" —Emily G.
43. "How to change your newborn son without getting peed on. After a few weeks in a friend was over and she showed me. I was so thankful!!" —Natalie W.
44. "How helpful the swaddle is! Once we used it correctly sleeping happened way more often." —Rebecca C.
45. "Not necessarily about newborns, but how totally amazing your mommy instinct is once it kicks in. Cant explain it but you'll feel it in your gut when something is wrong and sometimes it will help guide the tough parenting choices. Trust it!" —Jessica H.
46. "They grow up so quickly, and you'll miss the newborn phase. They did tell me, I didn't listen!" —Sarah L.
47."How much of your day is taken up by winding the baby! Used to take so long to get a burp!"— Indy C.
48. "They're a lot easier than toddlers." —Rachel H.
49. "I wish I knew more about safety measure for newborns. I found today that I used to do a few things in a wrong manner. Some mistakes could have been deadly. Thank God my kids are safe and healthy 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼" —Majida A.
50. "How much of your time is consumed by one little person." —Tosha G.
51. "The witching hour! That period of a few hours every night when they'll most likely want to nurse/eat all the time and just generally be inconsolable. We didn't learn about that until a few weeks into parenthood. 😅" —Tara Q.
52. "That literally everybody around you, from your family and friends, is giving you non requested advices on how to breastfeed, what you should be eating, how to hold or not hold the baby and how to make him sleep. But that at the end of the day the baby is yours and you know him better than anybody else, so just do as you feel like!" — Elisa B.
53. "It's pretty hard to break them! I was so nervous with our baby when she was first born, but they aren't as fragile as they seem and there was no reason to be SO paranoid!" —Dominique M.
54. "Babies can get acid reflux, making sleep very difficult and almost non-existent for baby and parents!" —Alyssa G.
55. "Don't [be mad at] your partner for not doing it your way (albeit the correct, highly-researched way 🤣) by kid #3 you won't care that they mismatched the outfits or gave your kid mashed peas for three meals in a row." — Alexis M.
56. "Yes, they sleep a lot, but it's not always at night. And for some babies, it's never, ever, ever anywhere but someone's arms. I never realized how much time I would spend just holding a sleeping baby and sitting." —Jillian E.
57. "That newborns and babies cry and scream for no apparent reason and it will feel like someone is flushing your intestines out and cutting your heart up with a scalpel and everyone just gives you 'that's The way the cookie crumbles with a baby', but no one tells you how much it hurts your new mothers heart... 😓" —Anita H.
58. "Take turns with your SO (if available/an option) at night so you can get rest. Even if you breastfeed, have your SO burp, change the diaper, and put baby back to bed so you can get more rest." —Jenna S.
59. "You'll be SO tired and yet your heart will be so so full." —Jenna S.
60. "How loud they are when they sleep!" —Mallory D.
61. "They normally don't want to sleep in a bassinet or crib! They want to be snuggled 💜" —Olive M.
62. "That it's okay if you don't bond with your baby immediately. It doesn't mean you are a terrible mother or that you don't love your baby. Some things take time. We had a traumatic delivery and it took me a couple of hours to really fall in love and I know friends where it's taken much longer but it wasn't for want of trying. We now all love our babies fiercely but it took time for some of us. ❤️" —Marissa J.
63. "How noisy they are! The grunting, snuffling, heavy breathing, crying and how their breathing is not regular just to scare the heck out of you at 2am when they decide to hold their breath. 😳" —Vicky B.
64. "The growth spurts, sleep regressions... currently six weeks and she didn't sleep at all last night! And how much coffee I would drink in a day." —Angela H.
65. "They are very in tune with your lifestyle even starting in the womb!" —Niccole A.
66. "That everything is always an experiment! I can't tell you how many things I ordered at 3am to try them out to see what worked best for our baby. Also, that you will need Amazon Prime because you're not leaving the house as quickly as you used to before." —Emily P.
67. "Never understood 'I love you so much it hurts' until I had my babies. It's a love that can't be explained but with that love is a worry I will never worry for anything or anyone the way i worry about my kids. You hear people say all this but you have to have kids to truly feel it." —Amanda M.
68. "Just that it's over way too quickly, so cherish every moment even the stressful ones because they will soon be in school before you know it and then that's it, it's gone... my baby is now an adult and I would love to be able to do it all again." —Ceriann F.
69. "That the newborn phase goes way too fast. 🥰" —Rachel