The word normal doesn’t mean much when you’re looking after a newborn.
Things seem to change from one minute to the next.
Just as you’re settling into a routine, your baby just goes and changes everything again.
You spend your days in survival mode, trying to get through the day in one piece.
It won’t always be like this. You will find your footing, and the chaos will calm down.
Your confidence will grow, and you’ll be one of those relaxed and carefree mothers you see walking around town.
10 Things That Are Normal When You Have A Newborn
But, for now, you’re a new mama. You’re a brand new parent with a brand new baby, and both of you are just trying to figure things out.
The sleepless nights, the endless feeds, the desperate tears – all this is completely new for both of you.
It’s reassuring, though, to know you aren’t the first brand new mama in the world. Plenty have gone before.
So while this stage might feel daunting and overwhelming, at least you know others have survived it before you and it’s totally normal.
Here are 10 things that are completely normal when you have a newborn:
#1: Not Always Loving Being A Mama
You are not a bad mother if you think this. In fact, it just means you’re a perfectly normal one.
Most mothers will admit to having intense moments of doubt. For you, it will probably be at 3 am when you’re scraping baby poop from under your fingernails while trying to feed an overtired, crying baby.
Of course you’re not going to feel like you’re living your best life at that point. Why would you? You’re exhausted and all you want to do is sleep. It’s normal to long for those pre-motherhood perks – like sleep, free time and poop-free nails.
#2: Feeling Protective
You’re not a cavewoman and you don’t need to be on high alert for sabre toothed tigers, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with feeling protective of your baby.
Newborn babies are pretty helpless; they can’t defend themselves or escape from danger. There’s probably not much danger in your home, but you’re still the one in charge of protecting your baby from any harm.
If that means you wake up in the night to check whether she’s still breathing, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s normal.
#3: Being Trapped On The Sofa
Yes, you’ll be spending the next few months on the sofa. Newborn babies feed a lot. You’ll spend whole evenings trapped on the sofa by a baby who won’t stop feeding, thanks to a growth spurt.
When she does stop, it will only be because she’s asleep and so you’ll still be stuck on the sofa, but at least you’ll have your nipple back. Hooray!
Make sure your television is loaded up with binge-worthy box sets to keep you busy, and try not to look at the mess building up around you. The fourth trimester is the time for cuddling on the sofa. That’s normal. You can worry about the rest later.
#4: Feeling (And Looking) Exhausted
That beautiful baby in your arms is little more than a sleep thief. For somebody who loves sleep as much as she does, it seems particularly cruel she forbids it for all those who love her.
With a newborn, the days are exhausting, and the nights are even worse. You’ll feel a thick heavy tiredness that seeps into your bones, clogs up your brain and leaves you unable to think about anything else.
It’s tough, but it’s normal and it will get easier. Your baby will (eventually) master the art of sleep and you will master the art of finding time to sleep. Just know this: all the other new parents out there are just as sleep-deprived as you are right now.
#5: Making Mistakes
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes; that’s how we learn. This is just as true for new parents as it is for children on their first day of school.
You are a complete novice at this whole looking-after-a-baby thing and you are going to make mistakes along the way.
Babies don’t come with instruction manuals and there is a lot of conflicting advice out there, so it will take you a while to find your footing.
You’ll put nappies on back-to-front or forget to put them on at all, and there will be accidents and mistakes a-plenty.
The best thing you can do, for yourself and your baby, is not to beat yourself up over them. Just remember it’s normal, chalk it down to experience, and move on.
#6: Looking Six Months Pregnant
If it looks like your body didn’t get the memo the baby has been born, don’t worry. That’s normal too. It takes a while for things to shrink back to how they were. Your body just grew a human being and that is pretty amazing, so don’t try to rush the recovery.
You will have a deflated bump for quite some time as your uterus shrinks. There’s no rush to get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans; make the most of those elasticated waistbands while you still can.
Instead of worrying about how your body has changed, try to focus on its amazing achievements. You did something outstanding; don’t sell yourself short.
#7: Being In Survival Mode
Looking after a newborn can be really tough. Some days you will feel like you’re walking through treacle to make it though to bedtime.
You’re tired, and feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s like trying to pour from an empty cup; there’s nothing left. You’re in survival mode – just trying to keep everyone alive until the end of the day. That’s a normal day as a mama of a newborn.
Survival mode isn’t fun but it’s what gets you through when you’re exhausted and emotional and overwhelmed. You just need some sleep and a break, and until then, survival mode has your back.
#8: Forgetting Things
Did you know your body acidity changes during pregnancy and turns your brain to mush? Well, almost. Most women find they aren’t quite as sharp as they were pre-pregnancy.
The good news is this change is normal, and only temporary. The bad news is you won’t be able to remember simple words – like scissors, or sesame seeds – for at least three months. You’ll also forget names and friends’ birthdays and you’ll fail to show up to dentist appointments.
This is all thanks to sleep deprivation and the fact you’re totally focused on your baby. Everything else is simply pushed out of your brain.
#9: Feeling Emotional
Remember when you thought you were an emotional wreck during pregnancy? Ha, that has nothing on your emotional state post-baby.
The postpartum hormonal changes, combined with the pressure of motherhood and the fact you haven’t slept in 84 years means nobody knows from one minute to the next whether you’re about to burst into tears or laugh maniacally.
Neither do you. It’s normal but slightly disconcerting for those you live with. It might be worth investing in a t-shirt that says, ‘Just apologise and back away slowly. Postpartum hormones at work’.
#10: Feeling In Awe
Despite the sore nipples and the sleepless nights and the baby spit ups, you are probably spending a lot of your time in awe.
You’ll feel in awe of your baby for being the best and most amazing little person you’ve ever met. You will probably spend hours just watching her sleep – although this might have something to do with how tired you are.
And you’ll be in awe of your partner for taking such good care of you and being a natural daddy.
You’ll be in awe of your mum for going through all of this for you all those years ago.
And you’ll especially be in awe of your own body – for creating someone so perfect, and for giving birth, because that is no easy feat.