Chronicles of a New Mum: Tiny Baby, Big Surprises.
Newborns are really, really noisy. And I’m not referring to the crying. Babies are loud little sleepers. They grunt, snore, squeal, sigh, and nose whistle (yes, that’s a thing… at least for my little one). Whoever came up with the expression "sleep like a baby" clearly has not hung out with a sleeping baby. Newborns breathe out of their noses, not their mouths. So when things get stuffy, it can cause all sorts of sound effects. We put a humidifier in the room to help ease her congestion, but I’ve also had to resort to using a crazy contraption called a NoseFrida that’s a nasal aspirator (a.k.a. snot sucker) which helps clear out her stuffy nose in the mornings.
Newborns get acne. This one really threw me for a loop... At around one month old, my little gal's perfect, soft baby face suddenly was covered in red bumps. (Flashback to terrible junior high memories.) Apparently baby acne is really common and usually clears up pretty quickly. My pediatrician said to just wash her face a couple times a day with warm water and pat it dry. After a few weeks, her skin was back to normal. Tip: Do not Google "baby acne" and look at images.
Newborns flail their arms and legs. Babies are born with a startle reflex that causes involuntary arm and leg movement; often waking them from a nice, sound snooze (which is exactly what you don't want after you've spent an hour rocking them to sleep). Swaddling helps minimize the startle by keeping them tucked in nice and snug. Small problem... my daughter despises being swaddled, so we had a short run with that tried and true trick. At around six weeks, we decided to test out a sleep sack (which is like a wearable sleeping back that lets them have their arms free). She's much happier.
Newborns have projectile poop. This is not an exaggeration. Be vigilant during diaper changes because anything is possible and no person or adorable nursery is safe. You always want to have your new diaper ready when you take the old one off. Due to the consistency of newborn poop (yep, you'll get really familiar with that!), there's major potential to propel. If I'm not changing a diaper, chances are I'm doing laundry thanks to an epic diaper blowout. I've learned the hard way never to go out without an extra outfit (or two) in the diaper bag.
Aside from the strange stuff, there are lots of good surprises too -- first smiles, cute coos, and longer stretches of night sleep (which is a very pleasant surprise). But you probably won’t be that surprised by how fiercely you love the tiny human that fuels all your crazy 2AM Google searches.