What I Wish I'd Known About Preparing for a Newborn - Baby Chick
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What I Wish I’d Known About Preparing for a Newborn

We prepare for many aspects of pregnancy and delivery. But some of us forget to prepare for having a newborn! Here's one mom's experience.

Updated March 28, 2024 Opinion

So much of the time we’re pregnant goes into planning for labor, postpartum life, and the baby. We tend to focus on cute outfits, diapers, and bathtub accessories. But there are some things that I wish I’d known to prepare for having a newborn.

14 Things I Wish I’d Known About Preparing for a Newborn

1. Recovery can be harder than you realize.

I planned on having a natural birth center birth with my first. Things did not go that way. I ended up in the hospital with tearing and blood loss. I was unprepared for the pain of tearing and how much recovery I would need before feeling better.

2. Sleep deprivation sucks, but you’ll adjust.

Nothing can really prepare you for the sleep deprivation you’ll have, especially with your first baby. Getting woken up every few hours every day for months took getting used to.

3. You may not be able to put them down.

Both of my babies wanted to be held all of the time. They say to drink water while breastfeeding, but that’s hard to do when a baby falls asleep on you and you don’t want to get up. Drink water all other times of day, though!

4. Having more prepared meals helps.

I wish I’d taken the time to prepare more postpartum freezer meals. The meals we had were a great help, but we could have used more. Also, breastfeeding makes you super hungry, and you may want to eat after the 3 a.m. feedings. It’s okay if you do. You’ll feel better.

5. Your emotions will be heightened.

After you have a baby, you will be so much more emotional than before. I was never an overly emotional person. It took a lot to make me cry, but I cry so much easier now after having kids and not just in the newborn stage. I don’t think it ever really goes away. Having a baby is life-changing. You will never be the same.

6. Rocking a baby is great, but it can be hard to stay awake.

Newborns need to be held and rocked to help them calm down. I wish I had known how hard it would be to stay awake. You need to make sure you are in a safe place if you start nodding off.

7. You’re going to sweat while sleeping.

I wish I’d researched the postpartum period more before I had a newborn. One of the things I had no idea about was how much you sweat in those days after you give birth. These postpartum night sweats are normal and due to your hormones shifting back.1 You will be up at night not only for the feedings but also for changing your gross clothes.

8. The love for your newborn is like nothing you have ever experienced.

There is no way to prepare for this one. You really don’t know how much you can love someone else until you have a baby. This love is new, all-consuming, and incredible. The only way to get this is to experience it.

9. How much I would appreciate my husband on a new level.

My husband was a great guy before, but took things to a new level when we had kids. Never before had he taken care of me as he did after our first child. He stepped up and ensured I had everything I needed to recover and get through the postpartum stage.

10. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t leave the house.

When I had my first, getting out of the house and going to playdates were at the top of my mind. Getting out can be great, but it’s super hard to do that with a newborn. If you don’t get out of the house, it’s okay. Even when they’re a little older, your babies will be just fine if you don’t leave the house as often as you plan.

11. What cluster feeding is.

I had no idea what cluster feeding was before my first baby. I didn’t know she could breastfeed for hours while awake and asleep. Newborns eat a lot. My second even cluster fed on the day he was born. I wish I’d known this beforehand because it was a lot to be tied down that long to breastfeed.

12. You don’t know what kind of mom you will be until you’re in it.

Going into parenthood, you have ideas about what kind of mom you will be. But you really have no idea how you’ll handle different situations until you’re in them.

13. You will go into survival mode for a while.

Something cool about having a newborn is that you will tap into survival mode for a while. You cannot understand this mode until you’re in it. We don’t have a reason to dig into survival instincts much otherwise.

14. Every baby is different.

Just because one newborn did something doesn’t mean another will do it. With each new baby, you need to adjust.

There are some things you just can’t prepare for with a newborn. But everything will be fine if you go into it with an open mind. Researching the postpartum period is one of the things I wish I’d done, but the rest I was happy to learn along the way. Motherhood is an exhausting and incredible journey.

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Kristen N. Winiarski spends much of her days battling her kids' hangry moods with bacon and Cookie Monster impressions. She also encourages dance parties as P.E. whenever possible. Kristen started… Read more

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