There is so much to know before baby arrives and I definitely didn’t know it all!

Before my newborn baby arrived I feel like I did a fair amount of preparation to make sure I was ready for him. I mean after all you are bringing a human into the world, I wanted to be ready(little did I know, I’d never be ready)!

Despite all of my book reading, class taking and researching. There are a few things(okay, that’s generous) I had no idea about and I wanted to share them with you. So, let’s begin!

15 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Newborn Baby Arrived

before baby arrives

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1. Babies don’t just go to sleep when they’re tired –

This is something that wasn’t even on my radar. When I went to all the classes and read all the books sleep was something I, naively, never thought I’d have to work at.

I mean I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of it from what everyone was telling me. But what I didn’t understand is that babies don’t just go to sleep when they’re tired.

Mind you there are exceptions  that I’ve read about on social media. I’ve seen posts about babies that would just go to sleep as soon as their parents put them down, but that was not the case for me.

What helped me:

The Baby Center became a good resource for me and all my sleep questions. We had to learn how often he should be sleeping and how often he should be awake.

After doing some research I found out he was awake A LOT more than he should have been and that is why he was fussing. After much trial and error we figured out how to hold and rock him to get him to go to sleep.

So, just know that newborns need a whole lot of sleep and they may not just naturally fall to sleep because they’re tired. You have to figure out what they need…swaddling, rocking, shushing. But, I know you’ll figure it out. I mean if I can, you can!

2. I would be scared to be left alone- 

I’m very thankful that Aaron was able to take a week off after our sweet boy arrived. What I didn’t think was how quickly that week would go by!

The firs three days were spent in the hospital since my labor was 30 hours long!! So, when we got home he had 4 days left with us.

That time was an absolute blur of joy and confusion. The morning Aaron was due back to work was one of the most challenging days.

I was absolultely TERRIFIED to be left alone with Foster. Aaron had been such a huge help to me. I was still healing, so he had been bringing me whatever I needed, changing Foster’s diapers, taking care of Hunley, our dog, and helping me keep up with the whole nursing timing situation (how long he was on each breast).

I was faced with the fact that my rock was leaving and it was just going to be me to do it all. I know it sounds silly now but it wasn’t at the time.

First nap on our first day alone together and I was terrified  to move because I didn’t want to wake him. 

What helped me:

But, good news..we made it! And actually it helped build my confidence knowing that I could keep me, Foster and Hunley alive and happy (for the most part).

3. I would have hot/sweat flashes- 

Folks, for the first couple weeks and maybe even more (I don’t remember timing at this point). I had all kinds of hot flashes. More like flood flashes.

I would wake up absolutely drenched!! I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with my hormones and how many bags of fluids they pumped into me while I was in labor.

Regardless, I was not expecting it. I never had them during my pregnancy, so it was a new and unexpected experience to say the least.

What helped me:

So, if it happens or happened to you don’t be freaked out. Just change your pjs(and maybe sheets) and get back to bed!

4. When to start sleep training- 

I’m pretty sure I did everything wrong as for as the whole sleep thing goes. He pretty much slept on me the first 6 months of his life. I knew it probably wasn’t the best but it worked…until it didn’t.

He started getting restless and uncomfortable and I had no idea what to do. Then we had to go back to square one and figure out how we could get our baby some sleep.

What helped me:

This is when I found Secrets of The Baby Whisperer out of desperation. This changed everything and helped me keep my sanity! Through this book I learned that sleep training can start as early as you want it to. I just didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to do so.

I think if we would have started Foster a little earlier our journey wouldn’t have been so rocky. But hey, you live and learn and I’m a firm believe that everything happens for a reason, so no regrets.

Plus, I really liked holding him all the time. So, you do you boo boo, but know that sleep training (fyi sleep training doesn’t have to mean crying it out) can pretty much start as early as you want it to.

Related: How We Finally Got Our Baby to Sleep!

5. How often babies nurse- 

Ya’ll this is a HUGE one! I decided I wanted to breastfeed Foster and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey. I had heard all of the scary and painful stories about making this decision. Regardless, I still felt like it was something I wanted to try. Well, they were right it is scary and very painful!!

I remember my first attempt at nursing Foster was pitiful. I had tried to prepare myself for this moment, but it’s totally different when you actually have your baby latched to you or attempting to latch to you.

It was so hard and I quickly felt like a failure. After much more pain and practicing we finally got the breastfeeding thing down. It’s definitely a work in progress. Even now at almost 10 months I feel like I’m still learning about breastfeeding. But, what I didn’t know is how often he would be eating!

He literally ate about every hour to hour and a half. Mind you that it took him about thirty minutes to an hour to nurse. So, if you’re doing the math in your head you can figure out that I pretty much never left the rocking chair for the first few months.

What helped me:

Thank God one of my sweet friends let me use her Breast Friend. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this thing saved my life!!! I was struggling hard to keep Foster on my boob while trying to hold his body in a comfortable position for him.

All while it still hurt to sit in certain positions because of labor. My back and arms were sore from holding him in the same position for hours on end. Plus since my hands were both occupied I couldn’t really move or do anything else.

Sheer excitement! I was nursing and I had both hands free!! 

Then enters the glorious Breast Friend. The first time I used it I remember being able to take a deep breath because my son was nursing while I could still have a hand free. I could eat, Google all of the new questions I was having in my head, scratch my nose. I’m not joking when I say that this thing was a game changer.

Frequent feedings continued for a while but the Breast Friend really helped give me more maneuverability.

These Breastfeeding Must Haves were also a huge help!!

Related: How Dads Can Help with Breastfeeding

6. How protective I would be- 

Before having a baby I was not a germ person. My comfort level with cooties was pretty high up there since I was a teacher before having my son. Of course I would wash my hands and such but never really thought much about germs. Other than they would just strengthen your immune system, right?! Wrong!!

That all changed the second Foster arrived. I remember the first time someone wanted to hold him in the hospital and my mind went spiraling with all of the germs they could have on them and then pass onto my newborn baby.

It definitely doesn’t just stop at germs…I was nervous about where the nurses were taking him, for other people to hold him, for my dog to get near him. I’ve since eased up a bit, but the mama bear in me has officially arrived to stay and I’m proud of that.

As parents we are their earthly protectors and you bet your booty I am going to protect my son.

What helped me:

I immediately became OCD about hand sanitizer. When we got home I quickly stocked up on the pocket sized sanitizer. They were the perfect size to literally put in ever spot in our home. Plus they smell really good and I’m big on smells.

7. How sore I was going to be- 

Having a baby is an absolute miracle in every single way, but it definitely does leave you with some battle wounds. Personally, I had a second degree tear, hemorrhoids from all the pushing(sexy, right) and sore nipples from all the breast feeding.

What helped me:

To help relieve pain from the roids I used Preparation H and Tucks Pads. They were lifesavers! If you have ever had them you know you just want them to go away. I won’t go into anymore detail but it’s just not fun and these things helped a ton.

For some nipple relief I used Earth Mama Angel Baby. It’s all natural and safe for your baby.  I applied it literally after every feeding and it was a huge help! Before using it I had several blisters developing and dryness going on. After finding it I quickly healed and didn’t have anymore problems. That’s a huge deal!

So, just make sure you are prepared for the healing process. Having the right tools makes a world of difference.

8. What size baby clothes to buy- 

Before I had a baby I didn’t think about what season it would be when he was born I just looked at size. So, in December we bought some winter newborn clothes(brilliant). Well, Foster was born in April, so he didn’t get to wear many of them. We learned that when buying clothes for babies you have to think about the season they’ll be born in and the size at that time. I know it seems simple now but it just didn’t occur to me at the time. Lesson learned.

What will help me (next time):

Plus, I’ve always heard that your baby will probably be around the same size as you and the dad were when you were born, so that could be helpful when buying clothes as well. When all else fails just keep the receipts so you can return them if they are too small.

9. How easy it would be to compare- 

Comparison is the thief of joy! Sounds simple but it’s so deeply true. If you start the comparison game it will eat you alive. It’s so easy to start too.

It usually happens unknowingly. I would find myself slipping into comparison often about sleep. Other moms would proudly post about their babies sleeping a full night in their crib. Meanwhile my son is waking up every two hours and sleeping in whatever would work for the night.

I had a hard time not relating that to how I was doing as a mother.

What helped me:

I still have to daily shut those thoughts down. They are from the enemy and I just don’t have room for that and neither do you. So, when you feel comparison coming on quickly think of things you are thankful for in your life and then move on. Comparison is not a healthy place to stay.

Related: Encouraging Quotes for Moms

10. It takes time to heal, so be patient with yourself- 

I have the need to feel like I’ve accomplished a lot during the day. I’m a to-do list girl. Crossing things off my list is one of my favorite things.

Well, after having a newborn I had to realize that I needed an attitude shift. My body had just been through a traumatic event and I couldn’t get anything done except for keeping my son alive and that’s a pretty big thing!

What helped me:

Be sure to be patient with yourself and give you the same grace you would give someone else. It takes time to heal. I feel like I healed a lot faster after I was able to accept that things are different and I need to be nice to myself.

(never spam mail, moms honor)

11. I would Google everything- 

As soon as Foster was born Aaron(see, it’s not just me) and I were on hyper drive about everything going on with our son. In the hospital it was okay because we were surrounded by experts. But, when we got home we were freaking out about so many little things…

Was his breathing normal, when should we bathe him, how should we bathe him, is he too hot, is he too cold and the list goes on and on and on.

We sought comfort from Google to tell us that everything was going to be okay. I’m here to say…don’t do that. I’m pretty sure Google will never give you the answer you want. Instead it’ll tell you the worse case scenario every time! So back away from the internet and trust your gut (this is one I’m still learning).

What helped me:

I was such a pro/addict to Google I wrote this about it.

12. What people meant when they said…you’re going to be tired(with a creepy smile on their face)!-

This used to annoy the stuff out of me when well meaning people would immediately tell you to “sleep now while you can” whenever they found out we were expecting.

As if there was some magical sleep bank I could log the extra hours in to use later. I feel like it was a scare tactic.

Please know that I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m just saying it as a friend telling another friend so they’ll know what to expect. I feel like if you go into something knowing what to expect it makes reality a lot less harsh once it happens.

What helped me:

You’re going to be very tired at first. BUT, I have good news…you will sleep again but it might not feel like it for a while. It’s hard to see past a moment when you’re in it.

So, if friends and family offer to help…let them. The best thing anyone did for us is stay with Foster for a couple hours so we could sleep. I remember waking up feeling like a new woman! Remember sleep is a need not just a want.

13. The first night may be tough- 

Our first night was very difficult and it in absolutely no way set the tone for the following nights. Night two was totally different from night one.

I think the first night was extra challenging because we were both already so tired from the hospital stay, we were both scared and we both so badly wanted to do a good job and have the answers. Add in there that I got very sick the first night home and you have a challenging first night.

Aaron took this our first night home. I was sick in the bedroom and he was taking care of Foster. 

What helped me:

Just know that if your first night was hard there is hope for tomorrow. I can almost guarantee you it will be better! You gain confidence with each passing day.

14. Let People Help You-

I tried to prepare with frozen meals before our son arrived, but we pretty quickly went through those. My mom brought us some food which was a HUGE help! We were also brought meals by a few friends and family.

Side note…never turn down a meal in attempts to try not to inconvenience someone. They’re offering, let them help because you’ll need it. But, after all this was done we needed to go to the grocery for ourselves and this now seemed like an incredibly daunting task.

What helped me:

Wal-Mart Free Grocery Pick Up(this is my referral link and you’ll get $10 off your first purchase if you’ve never use them before)!!! They rode up on their white horse and saved the day! Online shopping is the best. It allows you to keep baby safe at home and saves yourself a ton of stress by eliminating going out in public.

15. They may not like the car seat-

Oh, the car seat. My son has NEVER been a fan of the car seat even to this day. I remember when he was a couple months old and I thought it would be such a sweet idea to go visit Aaron at work.

Well, he works about thirty-ish minutes away. I’m here to tell you that Foster absolutely lost it the whole way there and on the way home. Add traffic to that little scenario when we were on the way home and you have one frazzled mama.

What helped me:

Despite him not liking the car seat I still attempted it. I’ve tried to keep toys with me and pass some back a little at a time, I’ve tried singing and now that he’s older I’ve tried teething crackers.

All of these worked for a while but then he has always caught onto my distractions. I’m still hanging to the hope that one day something will click and he won’t mind his car seat anymore. Here’s to hoping!

I spared you from a crying pic because who wants to see a crying baby?! He’s so tiny!   

There you have it, the 15 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before My Baby Was Born. Each baby and mom are different, so I realize some of these may not apply to you.

But, I also know that I can’t be the only one. I’m a firm believe that knowledge is power. Now at least you have a little extra insight to things I wish I would have known and hopefully it’ll help you too!

I know I will continue to learn more and more about how to be the best mom for Foster and we plan to make Everyday Above Dirt a  Good Day in the process!! Go get em’!