There's so much information out there about becoming a first-time mum, but it's still impossible to be completely prepared for parenthood. All babies are different, meaning that you never know what's actually going to work for yours until you've conducted some trial and error. And once you throw in all the surprising physical changes that can occur after childbirth? Things can really get overwhelming.
In the Reddit forum r/babybumps, parents chimed in to share what they wish they had known about having a newborn. Here are five things they shared:
Even so-called "easy" babies may cry more than first-time parents were expecting. "Everybody told me that newborns are easy because they eat, sleep, and poop," wrote user dandanmichaelis. "That's a lie unless you have a verrry calm baby (which they do exist and my sister has one). But most newborns cry and they cry a lot. They cry because they're hungry or tired or just uncomfortable being a newborn. My daughter doesn't have colic but I was genuinely surprised by how much she cried."
A number of users commented that they regretted letting family and friends visit their new baby right away, since it meant they had less time to rest and bond with the infant. User butterfengars, who refused to allow visitors at the hospital but welcomed people to her home to meet the baby, wrote: "I will probably be more strict on initial visitors. We said to come whenever and had a steady stream of visitors for like six hours straight. This continued for three days."
So if you like having company and help, make sure to get as much of it as you can. Of course, this depends on your personal preferences. User kano-way commented: "Company and 'help' just infuriated me and felt like overstepping and intrusive. I didn't want nor did I need either."
Nor is the "baby blues," where new mums are more emotional than usual and tend to cry easily. "I had a very easy and happy pregnancy," wrote user dandanmichaells, "and I'm not generally anxious or sad but I suffered very intense anxiety for about four weeks and even had a couple panic attacks." The anxiety subsided but she added, "It made it much better when I talked to my mum or S.O. about how I was feeing. So make sure to talk to people. It's hard."
However, be on the lookout for postpartum depression (PPD), which is a serious condition that the American Psychological Association believes affects one in seven women. Symptoms of PPD include feeling sad or hopeless, struggling to bond with the baby, withdrawing from family and friends, worrying about being left alone with the baby, and having thoughts of harming yourself or your infant.
"People don't tell you how hard it is even for the easiest of babies," wrote new dad fmpundit. In addition to those sleepless nights, you'll likely spend a lot of time lifting your baby, carrying your baby, and walking around with your baby trying to soothe them. It can take a real toll on your energy—another reason why asking for help when you need it is crucial.
This article originally appeared on womenshealthmag.com.