The minute the pregnancy test turned positive, I was on the hunt for information. I signed up for the What to Expect and Bump apps and started frequenting the BabyCenter discussion forums. I saved every pamphlet my OBGYN gave me and attended all the recommended classes (Intro to Breastfeeding parts one and two). I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
Naturally that all went out the window the minute my son was born. When I held that tiny newborn in my arms, I realized how little I actually knew about parenting.
Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way (when you’re a mom, is there any other way to learn)? Though I had been given lots of well-meaning advice, there were 12 things no one warned me about babies:
They get jaundice.
I had no idea jaundice was a thing until a nurse came into my room the day after my son was born and told me they needed to keep him in the nursery because his bilirubin (bili-what?) levels were low. They kept him for hours while I cried in my hospital bed. They even said he might not be able to come home with us the next day.
Naturally, as a first-time mom, I assumed this was the end of the world. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t and we got to take him home the next day. Moral of the story? Try not to freak out at everything the nurses and doctors say. Most of the time it’s just “wait and see” and things have a way of working themselves out.
They get gas.
I thought gas was something people got when they ate too many late-night appetizers at Denny’s. Nope. Babies get it too. And it wreaks havoc on them (and you). I had no idea my son had gas until he kept screaming nonstop, night after night. Finally I pushed the doctor for an answer and he gave me a prescription for Zantac. Problem solved.
Bottom line: babies are fussy and they cry a lot, but you know your baby best. If something doesn’t feel right, go to the pediatrician.
They sleep really loudly.
My son slept in a bassinet next to our bed for the first two months. The first few nights he was up crying so I didn’t really get to hear him sleep. The fourth or fifth night, I woke with a start because I thought a semi had entered our room. Nope. Just my son sleeping. It was so loud I videotaped him and showed it to the pediatrician. His response? “Totally normal. I recommend hanging on to that for blackmail later.”
This is another reason why you may want to move your baby to a crib sooner rather than later.
They wake up as soon as you turn the shower on.
And not a minute sooner. In the early days, I didn’t shower much. But when I did, I swear I would turn the water on and – WAHH! It’s like he knew I was trying to get a few minutes to myself and he didn’t want me to have them. I remember rushing through the shower and barely washing my hair. Now? I take my time. He can wait.
Low iron is a thing.
I was shocked when my doctor called me and told me my son’s blood tests showed he had low iron. The kid was nine months and I thought I had been through most of the surprises. Naturally I freaked out and started obsessing over his iron levels. Then I learned that low iron in babies is actually a common thing and there are supplements you can get to give them an added boost. I worried for nothing. Per usual.
They’ll hate your home cooked veggies, but gobble up the canned ones.
The first time I made my son homemade carrots, you would have thought I was trying to force him to eat his own poop. Seriously. I even posted a picture below to prove it. But the minute I offered him Beechnut Sweet Carrots, he went wild for the stuff. Go figure.
Drool rashes exist. And they’re miserable.
At eight months, my son developed a drool rash that took over his face. This thing was an enigma. It would start to go away and just when it was nearly gone, it would return with a vengeance. We tried everything – but at the end of the day, nothing really helped. Apparently it’s related to teething and it’ll go away someday. Hopefully. Otherwise those high school graduation pictures are going to look very interesting…
They can have four teeth come in at a time. And you’ll wonder if you’ll ever survive.
Four teeth. Four teeth. It’s like a prison sentence for parents. Last week my son had four of his top teeth come in and it was hell. He was up all night and nothing soothed him except for Tylenol. He’s finally turned a corner. Until those molars pop through…
They poop more when they’re teething.
To continue the teething theme, no one told me that my son would poop seven or eight times a day when he was teething. It was like toxic waste 24/7. My husband and I just plugged up our noses and declared we didn’t need our sense of smell after all.
The only toy they want to play with is the TV remote.
Forget watching TV with my son around. The minute he sees the TV remote, he lunges for it like a bear released from a cage. And if you take it away? God help you. We tried to substitute the Wii remote and that worked for a while, but then he got hip to our games. Now he throws the Wii remote aside with disgust, as if to say, Really, Mom? Can’t come up with anything better than that?
Trying to change them is like wrangling an octopus.
I hate when it’s time to change my son’s diaper or get him ready for bed. He knows I hate it too. Know how I know? Because the second I start to take off his diaper, he arches his back, stretches out his feet and tries to fly off the changing pad. Changing him on the floor is worse because he’s lower to the ground and has more room to fling his body in the opposite direction. Now I’ve resorted to giving him wipes, a spare diaper, a comb, Desitin bottle, anything to keep him occupied. When that doesn’t work, I hold him upright, strap on the diaper and hope for the best.
They’re really freaking strong.
One time my son picked up a five-pound weight. I was amazed, impressed and a little terrified. Clearly I underestimated his strength. He’s also taken on kitchen stools and his own high chair. And the plastic lion on his Jumparoo? May he rest in peace.
Anything else to add? Leave a comment below!