The biggest truth: you’ll never forget those first 24 hours. Here’s what really happens.
1. You’ll bypass that pristine nursery and explode into the living room
Even with the expensive rocker waiting, odds are you’ll set up camp on the couch where babygeddon can unfold. It’ll be a sea of boppys, laundry, bouncers, pacifiers, and half-eaten snacks for the next few weeks—and all that chaos is just cozier on the couch.
2. You’ll require a steady supply of ice water with a straw
Perhaps it’s because you just labored for 20 hours without a break—or perhaps it’s because breastfeeding has left you dry as a bone. Either way, you’re going to crave ice water—gallons of it—with a long straw and handle to boot so as to not disturb that sleeping baby.
3. You’ll question every weird noise your newborn makes
Whoever coined the phrase “slept like a baby” probably didn’t have one. Lots of newborns grunt, snort and hiccup the day away as extra fluid clears out of their lungs and they breathe through their super tiny noses. (That said, if you think baby’s having trouble breathing, call your ped.)
4. You’ll wonder if all newborns sleep this much
It’s totally normal for new babes to snooze up to 18 hours a day—which can feel like an eternity after nine months of waiting to make eye contact with your little. Try to not completely ignore the advice to sleep when baby sleeps—you’ll need it for nights in the weeks ahead.
5. You’ll change (and question) more diapers than you ever thought possible.
Whoever’s logging dirty and wet diapers has their job cut out for them—some newborns go through 10 diapers a day. As the color changes (from brown to green to yellow and back—it happens) you’ll be super tempted to send pics to your pediatrician. Do it if it makes you feel better—you won’t be the first.
6. You’ll feel an exhaustion you didn’t know existed
Without a revolving door of doctors and nurses to keep you alert and the adrenaline high of delivery, the fact that you haven’t slept more than 45 minutes or so since you went into labor a few days ago may finally hit you like a ton of bricks.
7. You’ll realize delivery really rocks the body
Now that the pain meds have worn off and you’re possibly waddling around with an icepack and pad, bringing a squirt bottle to the bathroom, and popping a stool softener (that’s all for a run of the mill delivery) it’ll become apparent just how intense labor is on the body—and why women are superheroes.
8. You might cry
Out of love, out of fear, out of pain, out of hormones—shedding some tears, especially now that you’re in the privacy of your own home, is par for the course. If you’re so down you can’t manage to eat, sleep, or take care of baby (all signs of postpartum depression) talk with your doctor.
9. You’ll just sit
For the first time (in maybe forever) you’ll sit still, stop multitasking, ignore the buzz of your phone, and do nothing but stare at baby in your arms. Welcome to motherhood.