First Baby: Expectations vs. Reality

Finally! After nine agonizing – will they ever end- months of waiting, the baby is finally here! 

Time for all those adorable baby snuggles and overwhelming love.

Hate to break it to you, but those are about the only expectations about having a first baby that are a reality.

The others?

They are likely to be shattered or at least scratched.


Expectation: It’s a natural, easy bonding experience with baby.

Reality: The most painful vampire milking experience.

Yes it’s natural. Yep the body is designed to do it.

That doesn’t mean your body doesn’t do so kicking and screaming the entire time.

Breastfeeding will be filled with days of clenching your fists, biting your lip and thinking that the blood must be giving the baby extra iron. As un-fun as this sounds, it’s only temporary and then you’ve got a free and healthy way to feed your baby for the next few months.

Mom Friends

Expectation: Laughing, gossiping about your favorite shows from before you had kids and had time for TV.

Reality: A fight to the death about which parent is doing it right.

Seriously. Being a mom these days is pretty much the latest in American Gladiator battle royale.

If mums don’t compete in the number of milestones their baby reached, they’re bragging about how nothing synthetic touches the baby’s skin. They only eat organic foods shipped fresh from their personal farm in the Amazon rain forest.

Don’t forget the mom who does 7,000 “fun” activities with the baby while baking cookies. The good news is we will all realize at some point it’s better to be friends than competitors.

Being a Mom

Expectation: Play-dates every day, long walks, developmental exercises, storybook time

Reality: Hoping to leave the house sometime in the next week and going ten minutes without reading Brown Bear Brown Bear.

You have it all planned out, how you’re going to spend all your time enriching your baby. It all sounds so wonderful…and if it lasts a week it will be at your sanity.

Babies don’t have a schedule. They don’t have a sense of time, space or your personal preferences. You will be too exhausted to remember what the hell tummy time is and leaving the house is as fun as coordinating elephants in a water ballet.

Poopy Diapers

Expectation:  They’re gross and smelly.

Reality: They’re gross, smelly and at some point it will end up everywhere.

Aaah, the ever so popular diaper topic.

You only think you know diapers will be bad. Bu wait till you leave the room to put laundry away and your baby scoots their poop filled diaper all over the carpet… And then decide it’s a race track for cars.

That’s still better than noticing your sweet baby has something smeared all over their face and hands… and it’s brown.

Do I need to continue?

Household Chores

Expectation: You’ll Fall Behind a Little.

Reality: You’ll forget what color the floor was.

Between feeling exhausted and the constant demands of a newborn, cleaning will be so far on the back burner it will come about as often as your in-laws do.

Then think about the fact that the baby will start making mess, the bigger they get the messier the house will be. So are you still thinking about wiping that floor? Better have a cup of tea and put your feet up.

Getting Help

Expectation: Your significant other will help.

Reality:  Not as much as you think or hope.

Lets face it. You are a mom. It comes to you naturally, more or less! But it’s likely your significant other will take a lot longer to get the hang of the whole baby thing. He might not even hear the baby as you get up with them several times a night. He might not see the difference in the way baby cries every day.

The key is to be clear about what needs to be done and guide them through it. They may never fully get it but to get even halfway there they’re going to need your help.


Expectation: Getting up earlier than normal.

Reality: Seeing hours of the day you’ve never seen before.

Babies have the amazing habit of wanting to see 4am and not just for a few minutes, they want to see 4am become 5am. They wake up looking all cute and wanting to play.

So while you may be thinking your day will start off at pretty early 6am, the truth is it will start off much earlier than that. The bad news is that it doesn’t get much better as they get older. 6am is normal rise and shine while 7am is getting to sleep in.

Baby Stuff

Expectation: The baby needs everything

Reality:  Diapers, food, clothes

So you have a nursery filled with every piece of baby furniture and equipment known to man. Then there’s the receiving blankets that have no real purpose but you’ll get 30 of them. And burp clothes, at least 50, just in case.

Don’t forget all the cute baby outfits you’ll buy without realizing your little newborn will outgrow half of them before even putting them on. The reality is that babies need very little to get by and you don’t need most of the stuff on that baby registry.

Final Thoughts

The expectations that come with pregnancy always have that wonderful rosy tint of newborn baby love.

Whether you think snuggling in bed with your baby will be comfortable and not consist of a foot in your neck and a body sprawled across your face, or that your baby won’t find a way to hurt themselves every five minutes, finding out the reality is quite the adventure.

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