Before James was born, I felt comfortable with babies and thought I had a good understanding on how to keep them happy. I had previous baby experience with my nieces and from working in a nursery when we lived in New York. David and I did a lot of research and we attended hospital classes to prepare to be fully responsible for another human being. I knew I would never be 100% ready for a baby until I was actually doing it. Now that James is here and I’m officially living the mom life, there are a handful of things that took me by surprise. A few things that I wasn’t prepared for. Here are 5 unexpected things that I learned as a brand new mom!
Newborn photos by Tiffany McClure
1. Baby grunts
Did you know that babies frequently grunt while they’re sleeping? We had no idea and it kinda freaked us out the first few times James did it. It was loud! It sounded like we had a goat or a sandhill crane sleeping in our room. It was the strangest thing but we quickly learned (thanks, Google) that baby grunts while sleeping are common in the first few weeks as babies learn to use their digestive system. So, all you parents-to-be out there, expect some loud grunts from your tiny new human. It’s a bizarre but hilarious sight to see and sound to hear!
2. Breastfeeding can be easy
I really want to shout this one all over the internet. Breastfeeding can be easy!!! I say that because while pregnant, I heard so many horror stories (both from friends and people online) about how painful, uncomfortable, inconvenient breastfeeding was for them and that worried me. I bought lanolin cream, nursing pads, a boppy pillow, and ice/heat packs before James was born. I’ve been breastfeeding for almost 12 weeks now and I have barely needed any of that. I found that all I needed was a few nursing bras, more tank tops and burp cloths. Lots of burp cloths. I am so so fortunate that it’s gone well and that James is a good eater. I am so thankful for that. Now, I know there are plenty of other women with nursing success stories and I wish those were shared as much as the difficult stories. I want all you moms-to-be to know that breastfeeding can actually be easy. If it’s not, there are so many people and products out there to help. There is so much support in the BF world. Please don’t be fearful that breastfeeding will hurt or be a huge hassle that it prevents you from trying it. It might actually be one of your favorite things about being a mom.
3. Night sweats
Something that no one warned me about was the night sweats… waking up completely drenched in sweat during the first few weeks postpartum. I would wake up and notice the blanket was completely off, my whole body was sweating and the sheets under me were definitely more than damp. Gross. After some Googling, I found out that this was normal since my hormones were helping rid my body of excess fluids from pregnancy. I was shedding the excess water weight while sleeping. I didn’t mind the sweat so much after I realized it was helping me lose the baby weight! And it eventually stopped by about the 3rd week.
4. C-sections are way more common than I realized
I was not a happy camper when we drove away from our OB appointment at 36 weeks. We were told that James was frank breech and we’d likely need a c-section. I had spent my entire pregnancy mentally preparing for a natural childbirth and then my plan/goal was immediately taken away. I wasn’t expecting to have a c-section but because of baby’s position, we did and it was totally fine!!! After sharing James’ birth story with friends, ladies at church, strangers at Publix, etc, I constantly heard “I had a c-section, too.” I heard it way more frequently than I was expecting. Lots of babies are born out of the belly.
5. Staring at my baby became my new favorite hobby
Before James made his arrival, I knew I was going to love spending time with him but I didn’t expect to be so obsessed with his every move. I can watch him all day. Especially while he sleeps. Oh my gosh, my heart melts every night looking at him before going to bed. Multiple times a day, David and I look at each other and say “did we really make him??” and “is he really ours??” and “he’s just so cute!!”. The list goes on and on. It never gets old since he changes every day! Babies grow and change so quickly. Baby watching is officially my new favorite hobby… usually with a big cup of coffee in hand.
Here’s a recent photo of sweet baby James!