neutral nursery in white and beige

15 Things That Happen When You’re a New Parent

I’ve already talked – er, at great length, actually – about how, once you have a baby, everyone starts calling you “mummy” regardless of whether or not you gave birth to them. (And why no, I’m NOT over it yet, why do you ask?)

That’s not the only adjustment you have to make as a new parent, though: here are 15 other random things that happen in those precious first weeks…

jellycat toys

Your phone battery dies by midday…

… because you’ve been up since 3am, and you have to do something to keep yourself awake, right?

Your body rocks constantly, even when you’re not holding the baby

You can spot a new parent by the constant swaying motion as they stand talking to someone, or sit on the couch. Last week I caught myself gently rocking my salad, as if trying to send it off to sleep: I really wish I was joking about this…

You want to high-five the parents of the other small babies you see being wheeled around the supermarket, but settle for a sympathetic smile instead.

Because they too know what 3am feels like when you’re desperately trying to soothe a screaming baby, and everyone else in the world is fast asleep, the absolute GITS.

(I literally almost hugged a random woman in the supermarket this week, just because she, too, was wheeling a tiny baby around in car seat/pram. AWKWARD.)

You become totally adept at doing everything with just one hand.

I typed this post one-handed. On my phone. Feeling pretty damn accomplished right now, not gonna lie.

You start to reevaluate what “clean enough” really means to you

Like, this sweater I’m wearing has a patch of spit-up on the shoulder, but it’s only a SMALL patch, and the sweater’s roughly the same shade as the spit-up, so we’re cool, right? RIGHT?

Maternity leggings start to seem like a totally legitimate wardrobe choice – even when then baby’s 2 months old.

And even if they weren’t…

When you go into a clothes store or website, you go straight to the kid’s section, rather than the ladies

Well, there’s no point buying new clothes for yourself when you still look 3 months pregnant, and baby clothes are just SO CUTE, right?

And catch yourself staring creepily at other people’s kids

I’m not planning to snatch him, I swear, I was just wondering where your baby got his little bear hat? Like, is that the Mothercare one, or the H&M kids version?

A quick trip to a coffee shop now counts as a “day out”.

Sainsbury’s cafe has never sounded so good…

You consider opening a local chapter of Jellycats Anonymous.

I can stop buying Jellycats anytime I want. No, really, I can. Well, OK, maybe just one more. For the BABY, you understand. THEY’RE FOR THE BABY.

15 things that happen when you're a new parent

6am now seems like a pretty reasonable time to be getting up, tbh.

Before the baby arrived, I didn’t even know there WAS a 6 o’clock in the am, seriously, GET OUT?! These days, if I’m getting up at 6am, I feel like I’m THE QUEEN or something. Honestly, even 5am sounds pretty damn sweet to me right now…

You start smashing your step target without even trying…

… purely by pacing around rocking the baby and ferrying him back and forth to the changing table in the nursery. Yesterday I decided to get my Fitbit out of retirement, and I logged 11,000 steps and only 5 hours sleep – almost all of it “restless”. On the subject of sleep, meanwhile…

You have a whole new appreciation for sleep

I mean, I might not be getting much of it, but the sleep I DO get now is UH-MAZING, seriously. No more lying awake worrying about some random comment I made in 1998 and have never really gotten over (Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s still haunted by the stupid things they did /said in their youth? No?), these days I’m straight off to sleep the second my eyes close, and that sleep is DEE-LICIOUS. Oh yes.

You become an overnight expert on poop

You could go on Mastermind with ‘Poop and it’s many colours” as your specialist subject. You would probably win.

When the baby isn’t with you, you look at photos of him instead.

Sometimes when I leave Max with Terry so I can go to bed early, I just lie awake watching videos of him on my phone. (Videos of Max, I mean, not Terry. Sorry, Terry.) There’s a video of him laughing (It’s in my Instagram highlights, actually, filed under ‘Max’) that I must have watched at least 200 times now – about five of them while I was writing this post. It. Never. Gets. Old.

Any you’d like to add?

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  • Alice


    “Your body rocks constantly, even when you’re not holding the baby
    You can spot a new parent by the constant swaying motion as they stand talking to someone, or sit on the couch. Last week I caught myself gently rocking my salad, as if trying to send it off to sleep: I really wish I was joking about this…”

    I didn’t think I rocked my baby that much (she feeds to sleep rather than being rocked) – but now she is 17 months she has started rocking her toys “to sleep”, it’s so cute………

    March 9, 2018
  • Kristian


    All. So. True.

    Thank you for bringing levity to my day. Also, some perspective, becasue my 14 month old decided 5:30 was a great wake up call, and I was bitter till remembering those newborn days.

    March 9, 2018
  • Michelle


    You can also spot the old parents standing and rocking, as I keep catching myself doing just that while waiting in line at the store, or just yesterday waiting in line to hop on the train after work. I am beginning to think that I will never break out of that habit. My kids are 18 and 21…

    March 9, 2018
    • Brenda


      OMG I was going to say exactly the same thing!!! Mine are 15 and 17!!!!! It really doesn’t end does it?

      March 9, 2018
      • Emma


        hahaha…I’m 27, and my mum STILL rocks when she hugs me!

        March 10, 2018
  • Chiarina


    Lol lol lol. I laughed all through reading this from how TRUE all the points were. I think I scored a 14 only because I never came across Jellycats, but it was pacifiers for me, because it took me a while to give up hope and accept that my kids just DID. NOT. WANT. ONE. My partner teases me about my pacifier collection to this day (the kids are 5 and 2).

    March 9, 2018
  • Myra Boyle


    And when he is able to speak, you will turn round to check every time a child says “mummy”. The universal parent reaction lol

    March 9, 2018
  • YES to all of these!!
    I also “hear” her crying now all the time and run through to the monitor or wherever she is only to see she is still sound asleep. It’s at its worst when my husband is watching football.
    I also pick, like a monkey… maternal grooming and bonding I’m sure. I pick at her ears, her nose, any fluff, tiniest spots… I can’t help myself!!! I have to properly fight the urge when she’s asleep on me because the minute I start poking at her, it will wake her up!!!

    March 9, 2018
  • I’m yet to join the realms of parenthood, but just wanted to say, you are definitely not the only person who is haunted by random things you said or did in the past – on nights I’m struggling to get to sleep I regularly find myself remembering things that bothered me years ago, and then just CANNOT STOP thinking about it, to the point where I’m mentally acting out the conversation again and wondering if it would have been different if I’d said something else! Then whe Dan notices I’m still awake and asks what I’m worried about, I feel too embarrassed to say, ‘Oh, I was just thinking about that guy that was really rude to me about how much rocket was in his salad when I was working in that restaurant a billion years ago….’ so I just say ‘oh, just work’!!

    March 10, 2018
  • Looool! I thought I was the only one looking at photos of my baby! I guess we all behave the same.

    Thanks for sharing.

    March 10, 2018
  • D Johnson


    All of this is SO true! I can add worries to this conversation. First is the “It’s been quiet for 5 minutes. What’s WRONG?” Second, you start scanning every environment like a Future Crime Scene Expert for hazards that can be knocked over, chewed on, poked at, into, or with. Etc. Strangers can quickly seem creepy. The environment, the unemployment statistics, seem to leap out like attacking wolves, whereas before it was “Oh, I’d just find another job.” or “Hazmat will clean that up.” I’m not sure how crazy this sounds; I can be careless with MYSELF- but the whole great big (potentially) bad world better not mess with my cub.

    March 10, 2018
  • Selina


    I still find myself rocking my trolley in the supermarket. My kids are 22 and 18.

    March 11, 2018
  • Scrolling through your post made me Nostalgic. It’s really joyous and one of a kind experience what motherhood brings.

    March 12, 2018
  • Jackie


    Point 13 – you are not alone! I still dredge up all sorts of things from the past and obsess over them when I should be sleeping! But you are so right about sleep in those newborn days – my little boys is 3 now but I still remember when I could fall asleep immediately as my head hit the pillow!

    March 12, 2018
  • Lucie


    Sooooo very true! Definitely spot on.

    My 2nd is now 9 months old (and has plenty of clothes his brother wore before him), and I finally decided to stop buying kids’ stuff and start buying some things for myself because my normal clothes still don’t fit, but it feels like such a waste buying stuff I will only be wearing for a short time and in which I don’t feel even remotely like myself anyway…

    This second postpartum period made me realize how incredibly hard it is to buy nice clothes when nothing in any shop fits and if it fits over the hips, it slides from the belly or is too tight over the breasts… I definitely love my kids but this part of being “not myself” is hard.

    PS.: Both my boys have Jellycat rabbits to sleep with 😉

    March 12, 2018