Becoming a parent is a beautiful thing; but there’s plenty unexpected bits about babies that can blindside you – or at least leave you a little surprised.
1. Newborns Aren’t Always Cute
So your bundle of joy isn’t exactly a picture? Give him a break; he’s spent a fair bit of time smooshed up in the birth canal – in a few days he’ll smooth out, and be just as dashing as you’ve been expecting.
2. You Gotta Work For That Smile
Babies usually only flash you a grin (or smirk) around 6 weeks, and even then you may wait ages between smiles. Try not to take it personally – they’ll soon be old enough to tell youwhat they think of your parenting.
3. That Soft Spot May Freak You Out
The opening in the skull – also known as the fontanelle – definitely needs some gentle handling, but you can still touch, caress, and comb over it without fear of breaking something important.
4. Don’t Always Assume They’re Not Getting Enough Food
Newborns cry, lose weight, and like to nurse – a lot. In most cases, these things – even in combo – do not mean your kid is starving. He’s just being a baby. Literally. Leave the weight-checking to the midwives, and use wet/dirty nappies as a gauge that your guzzler is getting enough.
5. Scaly Skin is Totally Normal
The expression “smooth as a baby’s behind” is a tad misleading; your little one’s skin may peel and flake thanks to no more moisturising amniotic fluid and vernix. Miscellaneous pink bumps, nappy rashes, and even baby acne can also develop. Steer clear of using fragranced products on babs, load up on barrier bum cream, and try not to bathe him more than a couple times a week in the early months as water further dehydrates the skin.
6. Crying Is Communication
Your baby’s cries are designed to drive you bonkers; it’s an evolutionary protective mechanism that ensures his needs get met – promptly. Try not to perceive his wails as judgements on your success as a mum; he just hasn’t got the vocab to tell you stuff in any other way!
7. You’ll Sleep Again…Eventually
Another saying steeped in fallacy is “sleeping like a baby”. Your newborn might wake up a seeming ridiculous amount of times each night, and this could go on for what feels like a hellish eternity. Nothing is wrong. Baby is simply acting on survival instinct – which is a good thing. Once he is physiologically able to go for longer between feeds, things will settle (until something developmental throws everything out of whack again). Just don’t bank on proper sleep for the next couple years…the irony is that once your child is sleeping without Mummy or Daddy’s cuddles, you’ll look back on those long hours and miss them like crazy.