6 Things I Didn’t Realize About Having a Baby

January 23, 2017


6 Things I Didn't Realize About Having a Baby

Before having Augustine, I did a ton of reading on pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the early weeks. Even still, I feel like there have been a few things that have come up that I wasn’t prepared for. Or things that not a lot of other moms talk about. Today I’m sharing 6 things I didn’t realize about having a baby. Hopefully this list will help any of you pregnant ladies out, as you prepare for your new adventure in motherhood. I’d also love to hear from other moms about your own experience. Do you agree with the 6 things I listed? Do you have any of your own to add? Share with me below!

Mara and Baby Augustine

6 Things I Didn’t Realize About Having a Baby

1. Some babies don’t sleep.

Those of you with good sleepers, I envy you! When I was pregnant, I assumed that Matthew and I would have the chillest baby who loved to sleep. Everyone in our house, except for Augustine, loves to sleep- Matthew, me, and Ginger, too, of course. Ideally I would get 9 hours of sleep a night and when I was pregnant I slept 11-12 hours a night. It was heavenly! Matthew and I were both great sleepers as babies, so we assumed Augustine would be too. Wrong! As much as we try to keep him on a schedule, there are days where he only gets 9 hours of sleep a day. Babies are supposed to get about 16-17 hours in a 24 period, so you can see what a discrepancy that is. I figured Augustine would sleep a lot and then I would be able to get my work done, but I think he just doesn’t want to miss out on the fun!

2. The weight doesn’t just fall off.

Everyone says the weight will fall right off after the baby. Lies! I feel like I have 15 pounds that still haven’t gone away, despite the fact that I’m exclusively breastfeeding. You lose the majority of the weight because the baby isn’t inside anymore, but I feel like everything else just hangs on. And when you’re breastfeeding, you’re constantly hungry, and needing to take in extra calories for baby, so there’s no way you can really diet and lose the weight.

3. Breastfeeding isn’t easy.

Breastfeeding is the more natural thing in the world, but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s hard work and we had our struggles, especially in the beginning. I only feel like in the past month or so we’ve gotten into a good groove with nursing. I’d recommend meeting with a lactation consultant in the hospital to make sure you know what to do and how to deal with issues that come up- poor latch, engorgement and mastitis. Also, as easy as it sounds to pump, it’s actually a lot more work. You have parts to get ready and clean, and every time you feed with a bottle, you need to be pumping as well, so that you don’t decrease your supply. In my experience, pumping has been more work than it’s worth. I’m also lucky though that I work from home and don’t need to pump. I have so much respect for the moms that pump at work so that they can still breastfeed their babies. I’d do the same, as hard as it would be!

4. You don’t need all the gear.

Just like I think I packed more than I needed in my hospital bag, I think there’s a lot of baby things you “think” you need. We had a ton of cute clothes for Augustine but usually we end up rotating through the same few outfits. We also have a swing, a bouncer, and a playmat, but really they’re not totally necessary. Sure that stuff is great, but at the end of the day you just need food {usually that means you!}, diapers, and a few outfits.

5. Babies are surprisingly time-consuming.

You’d be surprised how fast the days go by with a little baby! I’m frequently looking at the clock and wondering where the day has gone. You spend more time than you imagine feeding, burping, changing, and rocking a baby. In the evenings I feel like it takes a good 3-4 hours to put Augustine down to sleep. Again, he’s not the best sleeper! Around 7pm Matthew and I will be like, “We should watch a movie tonight,” and then by the time he’s asleep it’s 11pm and we’re exhausted too!

6. You’ll do things differently than you said you would.

You hear you should put a baby down drowsy, naps need to be at consistent times, and co-sleeping creates bad sleep habits, but at the end of the day you’re just trying to get by and do your best. You’ll use a pacifier when you said you wouldn’t, and you’ll rock the baby to sleep because otherwise they’ll cry. You’ll do what’s best for you and your baby and, at the end of the day, that is what’s best. There are a million and one articles out there about how you should and shouldn’t parent, but I’ve learned that it’s ok to do things differently. I have no judgements for how other moms raise their babies because I know they are making their choices out of love – and a need to survive. The first few months are so rough, especially if you have a spirited little baby, and you have to be easy on yourself and trust in your new role as mother. You might not do things as you expected, but that’s perfectly okay!

6 Things I Didn't Realize About Having a Baby6 Things I Didn't Realize About Having a Baby

Mamas, was there anything you didn’t know before having a baby? Things you wish you had known?


P.S. Check out my Newborn Essentials, New Mom Essentials and Augustine’s most recent 4 Month Update

photos by Valorie Darling

  • Natali

    Oh yes! My daughter turned 8 last week but I remember the baby times with her as if it was yesterday and yes, I absolutely agree with you on all of the points which you wrote down here, they’re absolutely true and they’re something I’ve been telling to my friends which just had their new / 1st babies end of last year.


    • you’re such a good friend! I’m sure they’re so grateful for the support!

  • Totally agree with all of these, especially 2 and 5. Charlie is just a few days younger than Augustine, so it has been encouraging to read your posts and feel some solidarity! 🙂 My theory on the day flying by is that tasks that used to take 10 minutes now get interrupted so much that they take an hour, and before you know it, the day is over and it’s like, “Hmm, I only got one thing done!”

    • aw I love that Charlie and Augustine are so close in age! And I TOTALLY agree with you! It takes so much longer to get things done when you’re interrupted. I feel like I start an email and then don’t finish it until hours later. And it would have only took me 5 minutes of concentrated time!

  • While I’m not a momma, I always enjoy reading posts like this (especially when they include photos of the little cuties!). It’s always so interesting to hear about the similarities and differences between each mother’s/family’s experiences.

    • It is so interesting how everyone has a different experience!! Thanks for all your support Kristin!

  • I love reading these updates. Your honesty is so refreshing. Becoming a mom is hard and good for you for figuring out what works best for you and your family.

    • ah thanks Heidi!! I feel like we’re trying our best, and learning more every day!

  • Good to know! Thank you for sharing:P

    Shall We Sasa

    • Thanks so much for reading Sasa! Hope you had a great weekend!!

  • Regarding #2, I heard once that it takes 9 months to grow a baby and 9 months to get back to normal! I know that has been true for me so hang in there! Also, pumping is so much work but worth it if needed. I went back to work at 3 months and have been pumping ever since. You’re so fortunate to be able to stay home with your little guy and not need to pump!

    • I do feel so lucky even though I have my own work from home challenges. You’re amazing for pumping being back at work. I’d do the same, as hard as it would be. And thanks for the encouragement on #2!! I appreciate it! I know it takes time so trying to be easy on myself!

      • I feel like working from home would be SO tough – didn’t mean to discount those challenges! I’m learning there are pros and cons to everything and each woman/mom needs to do what’s best for them 🙂

  • Allegra Liu

    I agree with all of these. I don’t know if it will help Augustine but we found swaddling with the Kiddopotamus velcro closure swaddling blankets saved us with our daughter and helped her sleep through the night. We only discovered them when she was about 10 weeks old, up until then she would not sleep unless we were rocking her or she was in the swing. She was getting out of the regular swaddled baby blankets but the Velcro ones kept her secure. It sounds like you’re doing a great job being flexible and doing the best you can as you go along. Hope the sleeping schedule gets better.

    • jen

      We loved swaddles as well! The Velcro kind of just a blanket!

      • Thanks so much Jen and Allegra! Believe it or not, Augustine would still find a way to grunt out of the velcro swaddles. I think they made him more frustrated 🙁

  • jen

    Yep, spot on! I was also surprised at how ‘difficult’ breastfeeding or even bottle feeding can be! I was even more surprised with my second baby. We thought we had it down as parents but each baby is SO different!!!

  • Meghan

    I love these honest motherhood posts. I am due with my third later this week. Just know that this tough period is sooo short lived and things get so much easier as they get older. I felt the same about the extra weight with both of mine so far. My body was always so much more curvy and foreign to me while I nursed and then with both kiddos around 8 months my milk supply took a drastic dive and all my extra weight and curves disappeared right along with it. The nursing period is priceless and I was so grateful for it, but when it was through, I felt soooo much more like myself again. Hang in there, Momma. You are doing an amazing job with Augustine!

  • Carrie Colbert

    How sweet of you to share these honest observations, Mara.



  • Anika G.

    You’re such a good mama, Mara! You should be so proud of yourself for EBF after your struggles – it’s definitely not easy! In regards to #2, a few mom’s have told me that our bodies hold onto a few extra lbs while breastfeeding. As soon as they were ready to stop, the extra weight disappeared. Hopefully that’s true for both of us! 😉

  • Amanda Mercado

    Love all these basic facts and tips! We’re planning to start our family later this year so it’s all good info!

    xo, Amanda

  • Yes, yes, and yes! I couldn’t believe how surprised I was by all of these. Motherhood has been the most humbling experience…and I’m only 15.5 weeks in. I remember all the things I swore I would and would not do…and how we’re largely doing the exact opposite because our baby has different needs than we anticipated and it’s just what works for us. Breastfeeding and sleeping have been the most difficult challenges for us, and I feel like they’re so under-discussed leading up to delivery. Maybe it’s an unspoken grace of sorts, honestly. For all soon-to-be-mommies, I recommend skipping the dozen books about pregnancy and labor, and be sure to eek out some time to read about sleep realities and breastfeeding in real life. And oh my gosh, line up your village early. I can’t imagine not having other mommies to text at all hours for sanity. The sweetest words you can hear: “That sounds normal…and you’re doing great!” And you are doing great, girl! Xo

  • Jen

    #6 is my favorite! I, like you, read all of the books and tried to be prepared as possible and thought I knew exactly how everything would go. I’m a little over 2 weeks in, and all of that is out the door! Haha! She sleeps on my chest because that’s the only place she’ll sleep and I just introduced the pacifier even though I read that you shouldn’t do that until much later. There’s definitely no schedule around here, we’re just in survival mode. You do what you gotta do! Love your honesty – you’re doing great!

  • Rachel

    Wow! I agree with everything! I’m a stay at home mom with our first son who’s almost 5 months old. I still haven’t figured out the whole sleep thing and I’m so tired of reading all the different books, articles, etc! Also, on the breastfeeding and pumping- as much as I’d love to bottle feed and know the amount of ounces my son is getting, it’s just not worth the hassle with all the parts and cleaning. I am so so glad to read this because it is comforting to know another mom out there feels this way! Someone may have already shared this with you, but the best advice I’ve received so far is “everything is a phase”. I guess it makes me feel that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Surely my son won’t ALWAYS be taking naps on my lap and waking 2-4 times a night (crossing my fingers)! 🙂

  • Mary

    Yes! My newborn is now 8 weeks and I wish someone had told me about the “nipple shield” and how feeding “every 3 hours” really mean every 2hours because you count from the time you start nursing. But between diaper change, burping and everything, you barely get any break in between! And of course it’s not like the baby stays calm in between. I also didn’t feel that “instant love” it took me a couple days… but I never thought I’d find my baby cuter than my dog but this is a whole different kind of love…. it’s amazing. I guess “that” part is something that everyone tells you and it’s the truth 🤗

  • Breastfeeding IS hard! I feel like that should be shouted from the roof tops so that new moms don’t feel so discouraged. It’s such a tough time in the beginning and when you are having a hard time breastfeeding AKA the most natural thing in the world it makes everything so hard. I also completely agree with not judging. It’s hard, we have to be supportive of each other.

    Thanks for this Mara!

  • Michelle

    Hi Mara, I’m a FTM to an almost 7 week old and found your blog while pregnant. It’s been so helpful for me to follow along with your own journey as a FTM and this post was a much needed read as we are just coming off a pretty brutal 6 week growth spurt. I love your honesty and really relate to #6. There are days I feel so guilty about letting baby girl nap on me (she’s so cute to look at while doing so) or trying to stuff a paci in her mouth so that she will settle, but it is 100% about survival and making sure she is happy and healthy. I laugh thinking I should have spent my time sleeping instead of reading Bringing Up Bebe while pregnant!

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