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Sh*ts & Giggles

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Baby

Written By Liz McDaniel
Illustration Courtney Kiersznowski

You Will Be Starving
We are hard-wired to fret, in advance, about how we will feed our children. The notion of breastfeeding is particularly easy to fixate on, given the vast distance between what our breasts are capable of doing before we have children and what they are expected to do after. But I am here to tell you—because even the most obvious truths seem elusive when you are up at all hours trying to keep a small human alive—that before you can feed your baby, you need to feed yourself. So, make a plan. Put someone in charge of buying, preparing and serving your meals. Consult your Seamless back-log and click reorder. Whatever it takes. Eat!

You Will Go Nowhere Fast
I don’t mean this in some dire, existential way. I mean, quite literally, you will not go anywhere fast. Even if you once took pride in your ability to hop out of bed, shower and get out the door in twenty minutes, those days are gone. It will take hours, sometimes days, to cross the threshold of your home with a newborn. There will be wardrobe malfunctions and diaper changes and bags to pack and hats that fall off and feedings to plan around and more bags to pack. Embrace being fashionably late, then prepare to compromise on the "fashionably" part.

Your Boobs Will Never Be The Same (Even If They Are Small, Especially If They Are Small)
In my twenties, I imagined that when I had children I would enjoy the knowledge of what actually having breasts is like and then they would, inevitably, wilt back to form like a circus tent when the pole is removed from its center. I did not want this to be the only thing I was right about in my twenties—and yet. So, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but prepare for the worst. And by prepare I mean, there is nothing you can do.

You Will Say Ridiculous Things
I wish someone had warned my pre-baby self about the ease with which expressions like “munchkin nugget” and “tinky-winky” would roll off my tongue, just so I could savor the last few moments of having something, anything, resembling self-awareness. Also, fyi, you will not hear anything anyone else says for at least two months. Or maybe you will hear it but that ability you once had to hold it in your brain long enough to process and then, in good time, formulate a response, will be temporarily out of service.

You Are Not A Moby Wrap Mom, You Just Aren’t
There are some women who can effortlessly wrap themselves in a large swath of fabric which also miraculously holds their baby in place. I am not one of them. And if I had to guess, you are not either. Save yourself the half-day I spent in what I hope is the closest I get to actually wrestling a large octopus while my newborn baby looked on in terror. Get a Baby Bjorn and move on.

Liz McDaniel is a freelance writer in New York. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and Follow her on twitter @lbdgrl.