The 6 Biggest New-Mom Surprises of Baby's First Year
Anyone who's brought home a newborn will tell you: it changes everything.
With the help of seasoned mom friends, an infinite selection of parenting books, and, of course, the internet, the good news is you'll be prepared for a lot of it. But no matter how much research you commit yourself to doing and how ready you feel to face parenthood head-on, having a baby will blindside you in the ways you least expect.
Here are six of the most surprising things about Motherhood: Year 1. Don't say we didn't warn you!
1. Getting out of the house will take forever.
Prebaby, you could say you were "just running out the door" and mean that you'd be at your destination in 10 minutes. Now, you'll always want to build in an extra 15-20 into your departure time. No matter how organized you think you are, you'll forget your cell phone, have to change a last-minute dirty diaper (after strapping Junior into the car seat, of course), realize you're missing a beloved lovey . . . trust us, it's just not as easy.
2. Your priorities will shift.
You may have a vision of yourself being a brilliantly well-balanced new mom. You'll hit the gym on your way into the office, have a monthly girls' night out on the schedule, fly through your unread emails while your baby's napping. In reality, having an infant sends your priorities into a tailspin.
If you'd rather spend a lazy weekend afternoon napping with your baby than checking items off your to-do list, that's A-OK. Cut yourself some slack!
3. Your weight may go up, then down, then up again.
If you're breastfeeding during your first year of motherhood, there's a dirty little secret that the doctors and lactation consultants don't tell you. While one of the nice perks of nursing a baby is all the extra calories you burn, once he or she is weaned, you'll have to hit the gym to accomplish the same thing.
So be prepared — the baby weight might vanish quickly, but it could creep back when you least expect it!
4. Your period may stay at bay — for a while.
Dejpending on how long you breastfeed for and how your body reacts to pregnancy and childbirth, you may stop getting your period altogether (for up to a year or more!) or find that when it returns, your cycle is completely different than it was prebaby.
5. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you probably don't.
People talk a lot about sleep training, but sleep regression? Not so much. Many new moms are surprised to learn that a young baby who sleeps through the night won't continue to do so forever. Each developmental stage is likely to be accompanied by a change in your baby's sleep patterns.
When little ones are learning to crawl, walk, and talk, all that processing can be a lot for a little brain (and body!) to take. It's likely to keep them up at night, but you shouldn't panic. These phases start and resolve themselves (sometimes on their own, sometimes with a little help) when you least expect them to.
6. Your baby's appearance will change.
Hey, blondie! What happened to that blue-eyed, brown-haired baby I brought home from the hospital? Don't be surprised if everything from your infants' hair and eye color to facial features and height and weight percentiles change — multiple times — in the course of his or her first year.