You've read all the parenting books, you have the nursery prepped and your hospital bag is waiting by the door. But before you bring that little bundle of joy home with you, there are a few things you should know about newborns.
1. They're not as cold as you think they are
Imagine someone wrapping you in a hat, scarf and large fleece blanket when you're already comfortably warm. Many people assume (for reasons unknown) their babies are freezing even in temperature-controlled homes. Sure, you want your baby to be comfortable, but don't overthink it. If you're not freezing, your newborn probably isn't either.
2. The "connection" might not be immediate
There may be no such thing as love at first sight - even with your own child. Many parents experience an immediate bond with their newborns, but some must develop it over time. After all, loving a needy, hungry, poopy, screaming baby isn't always as easy as it looks on TV.
3. There's no shortage of advice
Got a question about diapering, breast-feeding, sleeping, diaper brands, strollers, schedules ... or anything at all? There will be no shortage of experts around you telling you exactly what to do for your child. Feel free to take this advice - or throw it out with your next dirty diaper.
4. Weird things happen in the diaper
Speaking of diapers, those things can really freak you out. For example, did you know that a newborn's first bowel movement will be meconium - poop resulting from what your baby has ingested from amniotic fluid - and is black, tarry and sticky. Additionally, if you have a baby girl, it's possible to find blood in her diaper. All those hormones that have been surging through your body could cause your baby girl to have a mini menstrual period.
5. You're going to think a lot about poop
Is it happening often enough? Is it happening too often? Is it supposed to be that color? Does the baby look constipated? Get ready, because "No. 2" might soon become your No. 1 priority. Your baby's bowel movements are a good indication of his or her health, so don't be surprised when you become a little poop-obsessed.
6. They're slipperier than you think
Even when perfectly prepped, your baby's first bath might feel like a test of nerves. When wet and soapy, that smooth baby skin may as well be a loose football on a snowy field. Don't overthink it, but don't be afraid to call for backup, either. Four hands are better than two when you're scrubbing down a miniature human.
7. There's no end to the guilt
Whether you choose formula over breast milk, take your baby to day care, hire a nanny or let her taste ice cream, chances are you're going to feel guilty for it. Being a parent comes with a lot of guilt - even if you're acing the job. You'll second-guess yourself and you'll feel guilty about your decisions. That's parenthood.
8. You might think they need Clearasil
Speaking of smooth skin, your baby's might not be. In fact, baby acne is a common phenomenon because your newborn's new little pores are getting a crash course in our human world of dirt, debris and toxins. Just try not to pop your baby's zit if you enjoy the sound of him not screaming.
9. It might seem like they're balding
You never thought your baby would resemble George Costanza, but there he (or she!) is, losing patches of hair like he's a 40-something man. Even if your baby is born with a full head of hair, it's typical for newborns to lose some in the first few months of life, often most noticeably a thinned area in the back where they rub their heads against the bassinet.
10.Everyone will need multiple costume changes
Sure, between spit-ups and blowouts, you've been warned that your washer and dryer will be working overtime to clean onesies and blankets once you come home from the hospital. What you might not realize is that you, too, will be changing your outfit (if you can call those sweats or PJs an "outfit") multiple times per day. Between breast milk that leaks, night sweats and, of course, spit-up and blowouts that wind up on you, you may never reach the end of the laundry pile.
11. They're going to grow out of all that expensive baby gear
From highchairs to swings to monitors to strollers, you've spend your child's college tuition on the latest baby gear. Guess what? You probably won't use it for long. Instead of buying into the hype (literally) choose items that will grow with your baby - like the Strolly, a stroller that becomes a bike and grows along with your child.