20 Things I Learned From My First 4 Months of Parenthood

My daughter just turned four months old and in some ways it has been a brutal four months. In other ways, I can’t believe it has already been four amazing months.

However I describe it, I have learned several things:

1. Babies are jerks. Cute jerks, but still jerks.

2. Taking a baby out in public means EVERYONE will stop you and talk to you so, yeah, I totally know how Umbrella Attack Era Britney Spears felt.


3. We were listening to pop hits of the nineties and I bawled my eyes out to Where Have All the Cowboys Gone because the thought of my daughter having such an unhappy life was overwhelmingly awful. Pregnancy hormones have nothing on postpartum hormones.

4. It can be almost impossible to tell the difference between sleep deprivation and depression, especially when it’s probably at least a little of both.

5. I read everything I could find on baby sleep and made myself insane over it. The second I stopped reading and started responding to what she was actually doing instead of what she was supposed to be doing, it got better.

6. Weeks 3 through 5 were the worst weeks of my life. We came out the other side doing well, but I‘m terrified of having another kid and repeating that experience.

7. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love from the moment of her birth, but I do now. It is equal parts awesome and bone-deep terrifying.

8. I didn’t think I would post as much baby stuff on social media as I have. In those dark moments the narcissistic thrill of a Like can really help.

9. I will never judge anyone who doesn’t breastfeed for any reason. The mechanics of it came easily to me, but the physical demands were almost overwhelming. After crying with exhaustion and pain many times because she couldn’t possibly want to eat again (she did), I can harbor zero judgment on that subject.

10. Babies are jerks.

11. Coffee is the greatest beverage that has ever been invented. Every book I have says you can only have two cups a day while breastfeeding, except one book, which says you can have three. That book is my favorite.

12. Pre-baby if someone talked about their child doing something new, like recognizing an animal, I would sarcastically think, “Wow, future Rhodes Scholar you got there.” Turns out it’s seriously really awesome when your baby does something new. And I don’t expect anyone else to be as excited as I am.

13.  Watching this baby sleep makes me feel something I have no words to describe. Probably because sleep deprivation and mommy brain have destroyed my cognitive skills.

14. I look at her at least three times a day and think, “Holy effing shit, that’s my baby” in all the different ways a person could think that thought.

15. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is the worst advice EVER and if I could have done that/could currently do that I would.

16. Babies fart really loud and it is hilarious every time.

17. SIDS is utterly terrifying. Ive never been prone to paranoia or anxiety and generally don’t worry much, but the number of times I check that she is still breathing is ridiculous. It’s reassuring to know this is normal, but that worry took me by surprise. 

18. Around her 1 month “birthday”, she stopped nursing, looked into my eyes, and smiled. Easily the greatest moment of my life.

19. Babies will communicate exactly what they need. If you learn to listen to your baby you don’t need any other advice. This is both easier and more difficult than you think.

20. Babies are jerks

First-time parenthood is a crazy ride, full of emotion. It’s wonderful, it’s awful, it’s hilarious, it tries to pull you down into a pit of despair. It’s a ride I am so glad to have bought the ticket and taken.

Our next recos:

Babies are Hard and Toddlers are Awesome!

6 Ways Boot Camp and Motherhood Are Basically the Same Thing

Advice to Myself the Second Time Around


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20 Things I Learned From My First 4 Months of Parenthood

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  • I always say that the happy faces of fresh mothers we see on social media or in magazines cause for future mothers to suffer postnatal mental issues. They can experience the most natural feelings that every other mum does and yet feel like they are alone. Talking about motherhood in its real colours is the best way to reduce the postnatal mental problems. xx

  • I could have written this list! The 3-5 week period was probably the darkest time of my life, as much as I love my baby. And yes! Despite being an “easy baby,” she can be a jerk sometimes.

    And my baby is 3.5 months old, but I still laugh every time she farts.

  • The whole “postpartum hormones are worse than pregnancy hormones” is SO NOT TRUE. Just kidding, I cried reading this whole thing.

  • Thank you for this, and YES YES YES to all of it! My son is 7 months old and this all speaks to me and what it was to have a newborn. I almost thought I had it down and we were good and then teething started- now I am back to second guessing if he will get a sibling 😉

  • Thank you for bringing up point #4: “It can be almost impossible to tell the difference between sleep deprivation and depression, especially when it’s probably at least a little of both.” I am SO going through this with my second child, a six month old. It didn’t click until the other day when a friend who also has a baby said, “My depression seems to be tied to how much sleep I’m getting or not getting.” Sleep deprivation is cumulative, so, for me, I’m more tired now than I was during the newborn and maternity leave stage, when I was encouraged to rest; now, I’m “supposed to” function normally, even though I’ve probably logged 100+ hours of sleep debt. But it does get better–eventually. ; )

  • This totally made my day. My baby is now 2 and I can easily remember the bone deep exhaustion and craaaazy post-partum hormones. So many tears. They really kicked my butt. But when we finally connected a few months in, man, the love comes in as hard and almost as painful as your milk does. Every day I love him more.

  • Thank you for this article! I have a 3 month old and I totally relate to every single item listed. It’s a great feeling to know I’m not alone, even though it often feels like it. Thank you.

  • My baby is almost 3 months old and this list really sums up my feelings. Especially about weeks 3-5. The first week I felt great, if tired, and wondered if I’d avoided the emotional meltdown from the hormone crash that I’d heard so much about. Lol nope, just deferred. I remember sitting on the couch while nursing and the tears just wouldn’t stop because I was so so tired and couldn’t see an end in sight. It got better, thank god, but it was really hard for a while. My husband would just sit and stroke my hair or rub my feet while I tried not to drip tears on the the baby.
    Our son did the same thing as #18–he stopped nursing and smiled directly at me, so happy and sweet. That wonderful moment really helped when I was so bone-deep tired.
    And even though our son is an “easy” baby, he really is a jerk sometimes, haha.

  • I love this article. I am in month three of my third baby and most of this still rings true!!! The love, fear, pain and joy you feel for these innocent little jerks are the best feelings in the world!! Thanks for posting…..real life articles like this make all of us mommies, new or third time arounders, feel like we are not alone!!

  • hilarious. my baby is 17 months old and I still have sleepless night–not every night thank goodness. thank you very much for the laugh. I couldn’t do it without coffee

  • The truest statement in the entire world, and something that I could have never prepared for: “It is equal parts awesome and bone-deep terrifying.” We’re at a year and I still cry it overwhelms me so much.

  • Love this article! Captures the motherhood ride so well. I need to find the 3 coffees a day book. ☕️
    Looking forward to more from this author & Pregnant Chicken. I can count on you both to ‘get me’ & make me laugh!

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