A baby bump can prompt even the most introverted of strangers to offer unsolicited advice — much of it less than helpful, like “cherish every moment” and “you’ll never sleep again.” Here, we’re giving you the scoop on the things you really need to know.
- Your due date should be called a rough estimate. Only a small amount of women actually deliver on their due date. Some babies are ready to join the world early, while others take their sweet time.
- Newborn poop doesn’t look like poop. Your baby’s first bowel movement will be a sticky, tar-like substance — and that’s a good thing. This substance, known as meconium, is jam-packed with everything your baby ingested while in utero, from amniotic fluid to skin cells.
- Breastfeeding is hard. Yes, it is natural and most moms and babies are able to have a successful breastfeeding relationship, but it often takes time and lots of practice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Swaddling a real baby is harder than swaddling the doll in your birthing class. But it’s a key calming technique for most babies, so keep at it. As with all things baby related, it will get easier.
- You will need an extra 30 minutes to leave the house. Tiny humans require a ridiculous amount of cargo, and packing it all up can feel like an overwhelming task in the early months. For an easier exit, keep the diaper bag stocked and ready to go.
- Newborns are noisy sleepers. Grunts, snorts and yelps are all par for the course when baby is snoozing.
- Never leave home without hand sanitizer. And don’t be shy about offering it up to everyone who wants to hold your baby. Your tiny tyke hasn’t had a chance to build up an immune system yet, so keeping germs at bay is crucial.
- Sometimes babies cry for no reason. If you’ve fed, changed and swaddled your little one and the fussing just won’t stop, don’t despair. You may not always know exactly what your newborn needs, but the effort isn’t wasted — your baby still feels the love. And if you’re ever at the end of your rope, it’s perfectly fine to set your baby down in the crib and walk away for a few moments.
- Always bring an extra outfit. Diaper blowouts are real, and they never seem to happen at home.
- Changing hormones and sleep deprivation are no joke. Your moods will likely be all over the place in the first few months. Ask for help, try to take some time for yourself, and talk to your doctor if you’re feeling depressed or anxious.
Do You Have a Pediatrician Yet? Don't wait any longer. Ochsner pediatricians provide free prenatal consults so you can meet with the doctor before baby arrives. And they're accepting new patients now!