Deena Cortese says motherhood is 'def harder than I expected'

The Jersey Shore star welcomed her first child in January.

Deena Cortese says motherhood is 'def harder than I expected'

Jersey Shore's Deena Cortese and her husband Chris Buckner welcomed their first child, Christopher James (or CJ, for short), on January 5.

Cortese, who just turned 32, has been loving life as a new mom but admits that in some ways she wasn't fully prepared for how challenging it can be. She recently shared some family photos on Instagram, noting in the caption "Having a baby is like falling in love again. Both with your husband and your child."

But when a fan pointed out that eventually, lack of sleep during those first few months can have new parents feeling less than loving toward one another, Cortese clarified that it's not all love and rainbows in her house, either. There have been plenty of sleepless nights and feelings of frustration.

"I'm def starting to learn how to function on no sleep," she wrote in the comments section. " CJ has been getting better at night but it's still been a struggle .. been almost 4 weeks and we're just starting to get into a decent routine .. motherhood is def harder then I expected and I never understood ppl telling me while pregnant to get sleep now lol bc while pregnant I thought I wasn't getting good sleep 🤣 but it's all so worth it .. he's my little side kick.. we got this 💪🏼 ❤️"

You absolutely do, Deena, but if you get too tired mama, don't hesitate to call in some support

New parents lose about 44 days of sleep during the first year of parenthood. Experts estimate we lose an average of two hours of sleep per night for the first five months, and then one hour per night until our baby is two.

Sleep deprivation is somewhat inevitable when you bring a new baby into your life, but mamas are still human. We do need sleep. Going on too little sleep for too long puts us at risk for accidents, mental health issues, and poor performance at work.

Research also suggests that while today's dads do a lot, mamas are still the ones who lose the most sleep in heterosexual couplings. So, if you're too tired mama, it may be time for dad to tap in (or time to get a baby sitter, even just for a few hours).

It does get easier

According to a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics, babies' sleep habits rapidly improved in the first months of life, so the sleep deprivation you're experiencing at four weeks postpartum likely won't be as bad by the time your baby is four months old. By baby's first birthday, 85% of parents say they consistently get uninterrupted nights of sleep. That doesn't mean they won't be waking you up at all, but six or seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is a lot better than just two or three.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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