I hope this title is not misleading, as I in no way want this article to appear as if I regret having my beautiful baby boy. I just quickly found out that there were a few surprises to parenthood. I hope you can learn something from my experiences and be a little better prepared when your new little one comes.
Tidbit 1: Babies go through a lot of diapers at first. You might have heard this before, but that doesn't mean you won't be surprised by the amount of diapers they go through. Expect an average of 10-15 diapers a day at first-no kidding. The good news is that as their bodies gradually develop they need fewer and fewer diapers. Another related surprise is the price of diapers. The average price of diapers is around $10 for 30 diapers. You can do the math; it adds up quickly.
Tidbit 2: Some babies are born with long fingernails and can scratch themselves right away before they learn to use those appendages properly. I can't tell you how helpless I felt to see my baby boy scratching his baby face with those tiny hands.
You might think the easy solution is to cut the fingernails. While this is true, most find it very difficult to take fingernail clippers to their infants (I sure did and I even had the special made-for-babies finger nail clippers). I'd heard too many horror stories about parents inadvertently clipping off the end of their tiny baby's finger while trying to clip the nails (shudder).
You might try buying baby clothes that have hand covers on them. Or just buy your baby some cute little mitts - adorable and useful. As a side note, normally baby onesies only partially cover the arms of your baby and don't cover the hands at all. When buying baby onesies, mitts are highly recommended.
Another solution to the fingernail dilemma is simply biting your baby's fingernails. When I first received this advice, I was extremely skeptical. Who wants to bite their baby's fingernails? However, after the baby gloves kept flying off I decided to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this works. Using your teeth, it is much easier to determine where your baby's fingernail ends and his skin begins. This is the main advantage of biting your baby's fingernails over clipping them. If you do decide to use fingernail clippers, please use extreme caution.
Tidbit 3: Breastfeeding hurts. . . a lot. Breastfeeding hurts at first even if your baby is latching on correctly. It hurts about twice as much if your baby doesn't latch correctly, maybe three times as much. Be sure to ask for a lactation specialist while at the hospital, if available, to make sure your baby is latching properly. If your hospital doesn't provide a lactation specialist, the nurses work great too.
An unpleasant surprise with breastfeeding is that the pain does not only come from the source you might think. While it is true that the area where the baby latches on becomes extremely sore (we're talking cracked and bleeding in some cases), you'll also feel severe cramping as the baby feeds. Most mothers don't expect this cramping to occur.
The good news about breastfeeding, besides the health and economical benefets, is that after 1-2 weeks the cramping subsides, and after 3-6 weeks breastfeeding becomes much less painful in the latch-on area (as long as you don't allow yourself to become a pacifier). This means only feed your newborns when they are hungry and not when they are just looking for something to do.
Your newborn will bring you more joy than you can imagine. Sure, you'll have a few surprises along the way, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Perhaps your biggest surprise will be how much you enjoy having a baby.
Kimberlie is a mother, author, and baby clothes guru. Come find out all about baby onesies at her blog: http://www.babyonesies1.com