This post from Clever Evans made me laugh:
Top 20 List Of Things I Wish I Had Known About Newborns Before Having One
When Charlotte was first born, Neil was caught a bit off guard. I don’t think he knew quite what to expect in a newborn. He wrote this during his adjustment period. With his permission, I’m posting it here. Consider it our PSA to first-time expectant parents.
1.) A “newborn” and a “baby” are two completely separate creatures. All new parents who tell you how awesome parenthood is, this is because they now have a baby, and have forgotten what it was like having a newborn. The baby is interactive, has thoughts and emotions, plays with you, makes cute noises. A newborn does 4 things only: cries, eats, sleeps and poops. Your role right now as parents of a newborn is to give love to someone who doesn’t know you exist (remember that girl/guy from high school? Just like that) Your role is to help your newborn to survive the next 3 months to the baby stage, where you’ll then start to have fun.
2.) Babies are not very playful for the first few weeks. Again, all they do is cry, eat, sleep and poop. She’s like a little time-bomb. While she’s asleep, you’re afraid every moment she’ll wake up and cry, and when she’s awake and crying, all you want is to find some sort of technique to put her back asleep. After 3-4 weeks, she may have short periods of being awake and NOT pissed off, and this is when you can play with her. But until then, your job is to stay awake and provide food.
3.) A newborn’s eyesight is very poor, and so they will almost never look you straight in the eye, because they can’t see your eyes. It can take up to a month until the kid realizes that your face is something to be looked at, and not something to be looked away from.
4.) A baby has no short term memory. So she can be crying in the most brutal way ever, and then in 1 second, she can stop and look around all inquisitive, like she was never crying in the first place. Think the film “Memento” and you’ll get the idea.
5.) Babies’ respiratory systems are not very well developed when they’re born, so it’s quite normal to have them snort, squeak, squeal, croak, make all sorts of pig noises, sound like they’re coughing up a lung, etc. Basically, every moment they’re alive, they sound like they’re taking their dying breath, so you stop worrying about it pretty fast. This gradually improves over the first month.
6.) Your newborn’s skin will peel off for the first month or so, this is not a sign that she’s a reptile, that’s just what newborn skin does.
7.) Many people will give you the advice “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” While good advice, this only works if the baby actually sleeps. Babies can in fact cry for 14 hours straight, with only 5-10 minute sleep breaks every hour or so. May I recommend coffee.
8.) Babies should sleep on their backs for health reasons, but all books recommend that she spend at least 30 min a day on her belly (this is called “Tummy Time”), starting from day one. However, all books also say to not to put her on her belly until her umbilical cord stump falls off (usually 10 days or so). So apparently the people who wrote the part of the book recommending tummy time from her first day of life hasn’t spoken to the person who wrote the part of the book about the umbilical chord.
9.) Poo. No matter who much you think you know about it / are ready for it, you’re not.
10.) It’s recommended to use non scented soaps and detergents on your newborn and her clothing. Unscented does not mean it has no scent, it means it doesn’t have any perfume in it to hide the horrible smell of whatever the product is actually made of.
11.) You will create more garbage and recycling then you ever imagined possible.
12.) You will start off trying to be environmentally friendly, you will try and use cloth diapers, you will try and use biodegradable diapers, you will try and use biodegradable inserts and cloth diapers. But all of these plans will go out the window really quickly, you will become all about survival, and you will use disposable diapers exclusively.
13.) People will recommend to fathers “Stay above the curtain” during the birth. I thought there would be an actual curtain. There isn’t anymore.
14.) Most of the hospital staff will be awesome. But there will be one nurse who rubs you the wrong way. Do not waste energy fighting with her, that energy has much better uses, like sleep.
15.) You will dream about laying in bed, worrying that your baby is about to wake up. And when you wake up from that dream, your baby will be awake and crying.
16.) You know those in-laws you never see? Invite them over once a week to take care of the kid for 2 hours while you and your wife have a nice dinner alone.
17.) Your hair will fall out, do not fear, this is normal, it’s caused by stress.
18.) Newborns do not understand the irony of you crying at them.
19.) When walking down stairs with a baby, concentrate on the stairs first, and the baby second.
20.) Most of the time when a baby cries, it’s because they are crying, not because anything is wrong. Many parents feel that their baby crying is because they haven’t done something that the baby wants, when in fact most of the time it’s just because the baby is expressing itself through crying. As long as you’ve checked the obvious, dirty diaper, too hot / too cold, is she being held enough, have you tried jiggling her, does she have gas, etc, then don’t beat yourself up, there’s nothing wrong with her, you just have to get used to the sound of crying.
BTW, if you’re thinking “Man, this must be one of the bad kids, our child is going to be nothing like this”, please note that our pediatricians told us we actually had a pretty mellow kid compared to some. So mark my words well.
Wailing baby photo from Sodahead.com