There are hundreds – probably even thousands – of lists of things that you should know before you have a new baby. You should know about back sleeping and car seat safety and how to feed your baby, but what about the hundreds of other little things there are to learn? These are things I wish someone had told me and are based entirely on my(our) experiences. These aren’t concrete facts, just things that would have been helpful to know ahead of time.
- Go ahead and learn about the “Free Wipe Diaper Swipe”. When you’re changing a dirty diaper, use the clean(ish) front flap of the diaper to take care of that first swipe of poop. Wipes aren’t all that expensive, but I’d rather save as many as possible. (Besides, you might need it to get deodorant off of your dress or clean the bathroom.) (Also? This doesn’t work as well with cloth diapers.)
- Certain brands of diapers have little yellow lines running down the center of them. They turn blue when they are wet. Sounds silly until you find yourself sniffing a diaper in the middle of the night. (And your doctor will probably ask you how many wet diapers your baby is making per day, so you’ll want to keep a tab at first.)
- Some babies love to be swaddled. Some hate it. But go ahead and learn how to make a baby burrito before (s)he arrives just in case.
- Baby girls may have vaginal discharge or even some bleeding. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS? It doesn’t happen to every little girl, but it is normal if it does. Just wipe it away and don’t freak out.
- Baby girls and baby boys might have some discharge from the nipples. Once again, it doesn’t happen with every child but it’s not abnormal if it does occur.
- Clothing sizes are a joke. For some brands, ‘6 months’ means 3-6 months. For some it means 6-9 months. And then others are just straight up wrong. (In my experience Carter’s brand seems to be most accurate.)
- Also…girl’s dresses can be used for a much wider window of time. Lydia got a size 4 bishop dress when she was 2. It was long on her(ankle length), but she can still wear it now. Some girl dresses can become adorable swing tops if you just add pants or leggings.
- Let a friend keep your baby while you run to the grocery store. You will feel like a different person after getting out for even 20 minutes. People want to help and while they may not do things exactly like you do, it’ll be okay for just a little while.
- Breastfeeding is hard. Your nipples crack and bleed, and for some people it just.doesn’t.work. Do your best to make it work, but don’t feel like a failure if you can’t.
- Enjoy the newborn-ness. Not just the sweet smell and the adorable tiny clothes and the wonderful cuddles, but also the fact that they sleep quite happily in their carseat when you need to go out. Feed him/her, strap them in, and then run your errands or go eat lunch. The window of opportunity is small, but I promise it’s easier to go out to eat with a newborn than it is with a one year old.
- Sometimes babies don’t quite have this pooping thing down pat. You may have to help them out. I’ll spare you the details, but it involves lube. Your doctor can give you detailed directions.
- No matter what you do or how you do it, some one will tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Ignore it. Do your research (if you want) and go with your gut.
Oh…and it’s not all about the baby. What about postpartum you?
- Embrace the mesh panties. When you leave the hospital, take the extras home with you.
- You will bleed for.ev.er. (Or at least it will seem like it.)
- Breastfeeding is not a form of birth control, so um…keep that in mind.
- Of course, having a baby ripped out of your groin is fairly good birth control for at least a few
- Remember yesterday when I said your girly bits will never be the same. Yeah. That.
- The baby blues might suckerpunch you. Punch back and call your health care provider if it seems like more than just a little sad day or two.
What postpartum things did you not expect?
What did you learn about newborns in those first weeks that you’d never heard before?