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6 Things That Can Surprise First-Time Parents

Photo: Courtesy of Charles Eugene

New parenthood is full of surprises – some are obvious and some completely blindside us.
So we polled thousands of new parents and asked them what their “I should have known this” moments were. Here are the top six.


Amy Morrison

Founder, Pregnant Chicken

1. Your belly doesn’t shrink immediately after birth

This is super obvious to some people but I took pre-pregnancy jeans in my hospital bag thinking I was going to deflate like a party balloon after giving birth. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

It takes about a month for your uterus to shrink back down to its pre-pregnancy size, meaning that it’s totally normal to look pregnant for weeks, or months after your baby has moved out.

2. Babies don’t just fall asleep when they’re tired

I mean, they can but typically babies don’t just drift off to dreamland whenever they’re feeling sleepy. This can lead to an overtired baby, which, surprisingly, can be even harder to lull to sleep.

Keep an eye out for signs of your baby becoming tired so that you can help them get to sleep before they become overstimulated, overstressed, and overtired. Pulling on the ears, rubbing eyes, becoming fussy or less engaged are all signs that it’s time for a snooze. Movies and tv tend to oversimplify this tricky dance so it can surprise many new parents, or worse, make them think they are doing something wrong.

3. There are different nipple sizes for bottles

Nipples on bottles come in different sizes to accommodate babies of different ages.

You’ll want to check with the particular brand you use (since babies can be picky and the brand that works for one most definitely may not work for another) but generally, a size one nipple will be smaller and suitable for younger babies and the sizes will increase for older babes. Your best bet is to start small and work up to find the size that your baby likes.

4. Make sure it’s not ‘pointing up’ when diapering a baby boy

“Hose to the toes!”

If your baby boy’s penis is pointed upward in his diaper, that’s exactly the direction his pee will go and these leaks tend to escape a diaper. If you notice that the front of his belly or waist is often wet this might be the culprit.

It’s also not a bad idea to cover up his nether regions when removing his diaper for a change to prevent him from peeing in your face, or his own (yes, this is a thing that happens).

5. You might get intense shakes or shivers after giving birth

After you have your baby, there is a huge amount of adrenaline coursing through your body along with other crazy hormonal shifts. Your body often responds to this with intense shaking, shivering, and even teeth chattering.

It typically lasts 5-10 minutes so many hospitals will place heavy, warm blankets on you to help the shaking subside.

6. Newborns can be really noisy when they sleep

“Sleep like a baby”, right?

I had no idea that babies could snort, fart, grunt and gurgle their way through every sleep. It’s totally normal but slightly disturbing that someone so little can make so much noise.
How many of these did you know?

Many of these are a ‘no kidding’ for some people but, depending on your previous baby exposure, a few of these can be a real eye-opener. Frankly, the only thing that isn’t a surprise is that it happens to all of us.

If you want to find the whole You Should Know Series, check out @pregnantchicken on lnstagram.

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