50 things i didn’t know before i had a baby (that i learnt the hard way)

Looking back, perhaps I was a little naïve when it came to what having a baby was all about. I expected a perfect bump, and that much talked about glow. What I got instead was constant morning sickness and naps in my car during my lunch break.

‘Joining the Club’ aka becoming a mum was and is the best thing to ever happen to me.

Here are some of the things I didn't know before having a baby:

Michaela's 50 things I didn't know before having a baby


1. Give in to the dark side early. Put on those maternity jeans – they are so much more comfortable than your regular pair.
2. Ditto for maternity bras.
3. Whatever random things happen to your body, your mum, your doctor, and the internet will tell you that it’s ‘normal’.
4. It IS safe to eat runny eggs, as long as they have the red lion on them.
5. You need to carry your maternity notes around with you EVERYWHERE and you will be told off if you need to go to the hospital, and you don’t have them.
6. What you choose to eat and drink is no one’s business but your own. Don’t feel guilty for being hungry for weird things.
7. Being dehydrated can lead to reduced fetal movements. So drink loads of water.
8. Sometimes being pregnant is more tiring than having a newborn.
9. Strangers will stop you and ask you how you are feeling. You will literally be the centre of attention in any room.
10. Pregnancy and discharge seem to go hand in hand.
11. Morning sickness can last the entirety of your pregnancy and during labour too.
12. If you find out the gender, someone will always ask if you’re disappointed. Why? It’s not like you can get a refund!
13. In the third trimester, you’ll be told to sit on a chair in that 90’s cool kid backward style to help baby get in the right position.
14. Raspberry leaf tea.
15. It’s not that women are impatient to finally meet their baby at forty weeks, being that pregnant is quite uncomfortable!

labour and birth

16. The hormone responsible for orgasms is also the same hormone that can kick start labour. True Story.
17. Contractions and period pains aren’t that different.
18. You may sound like a mooing cow when you’re having said contractions.
19. Don’t be a martyr. If you think you need pain relief, ask for it.
20. I didn’t expect for the epidural to actually work and was pleasantly surprised when it made labour bearable.
21. But if you have an epidural, you need a catheter and it means you WILL be in hospital longer.
22. A birth plan isn’t a plan. Birth is unpredictable. THE PLANS ARE ALL A LIE!
23. Moving your hips in a figure eight can help. But not that much.
24. People always tell you to pack snacks, but who wants to eat at a time like that, honestly!?
25. Labour can be fun.
26. When you start pushing, there could be a circus in the room and you wouldn’t notice. Stop caring if you poo or not.
27. Get your partner up to date with your birthing ‘preferences’ so he can advocate for you when you’re too out of it to care.
28. Get your birthing partner equipped with what’s in the hospital bag and the location of the baby clothes. (Mine had no idea what a bodysuit was.)
29. You will have the most painful wee of your life after you have given birth.
30. They will make you take a shower afterward because it’s called ‘labour’ for a reason.
31. You will bleed more than your heaviest period for a little while. When they say you need maternity pads, they mean it! Normal sanitary towels will not cut it.

newborn baby

32. The food you packed will be needed after birth, breastfeeding is hungry work.
33. You will still have cramps after you have given birth. Especially when breastfeeding.
34. You may not need those breast-pads until day three, because your milk can take time to come in properly.
35. Boobs that are full of milk tend to look like rock hard implants.
36. Your belly will look like a deflated balloon at first.
37. No matter what way you choose to feed, something will make you feel like a failure of a mother regardless.
38. If you don’t plan on breastfeeding, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your choices. It’s your body and your baby.
39. Don’t feel stupid, you’re new to this. Let the nursery nurses show you how to do it if you need help.
40. No one sleeps in the maternity ward after they give birth, honestly, they don’t. Don’t feel guilty about waking someone if your baby cries. It happens.
41. Fold the top of the nappy down so it doesn’t rub against the umbilical cord.
41. Wind/burping is a bigger part of having a newborn than I was led to believe.
43. Feeding a newborn baby is hard!
44. You will spend more than you expected on bedside cribs, Dream Sheeps and bouncers etc. all in the name of a few more hours sleep.
45. Even if you are depressed (baby blues), in pain, or so tired you start to hallucinate, sometimes having visitors by your hospital bed is just what you need.
46. You will think your baby is beautiful even if they look a little squashed and purple.
47. Insta-love is a thing. Some people have it, some people don’t. You’re allowed to feel overwhelmed and unsure about the little person that has upheaved your whole life.
48. Nothing makes you feel more like a car seat novice than a midwife staring at you as you try and strap your baby in properly (and take an hour to do it, with multiple fails)
49. The first poo your baby does will be like black tar. It’s normal but so hard to clean!
50. If you have visitors to your house, ask them to make their own teas and coffees. You don’t need to get up and rush around after people, you need to rest and enjoy your baby.

By Michaela

Michaela's little boy

Do you have any words of advice or things that you learned the hard way?

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