MUMS revealed the biggest surprises they had after giving birth, including how many people have opinions on their parenting, the closeness experienced when feeding their baby, and how skilled they became at eating a meal one-handed.
A poll of 1,000 mums who gave birth within the last ten years found they were also taken aback by how long it takes to leave the house, the amount they need to take with them and how little time they have to themselves.
Others were shocked by how lonely they felt, how their relationships changed with people around them not in the same situation and even how often their newborn needed a feed.
But the surprises aren’t all bad as mums were also amazed at just how quickly they forgot what life was like before their newborn, how rewarding breastfeeding can be, the closeness you experience when feeding them and how much they wanted to talk about their baby.
A spokesperson for supplement firm Vitabiotics Pregnacare and Wellbaby, who commissioned the research, said: “For many first-time parents, there are lots of new discoveries after having a baby.
“While many of these are positive things, some can be more unwanted, but are a surprise because they simply aren’t spoken about openly.
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“But the more honest we are about the post-natal period – otherwise known as the fourth trimester – it can help mums be more prepared for the good and bad, hopefully making it a more relaxed and enjoyable time.”
The study found 79 per cent of mums were surprised by some of the things they encountered during the post-natal period.
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Nearly half (47 per cent) of those blamed this on people not talking about it honestly, while 43 per cent said you don’t see it happen in TV shows or films.
Others admitted they never really paid attention before it was also affecting them (40 per cent) or that they were the first of their friendship group to have a baby (34 per cent).
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Despite the surprises, generally, 53 per cent enjoyed the post-natal period, although 48 per cent found it harder than they expected.
Nearly four in 10 (39 per cent) said more open conversations about what it is really like would have helped make the period easier for them, while 32 per cent think it would have been better if they had friends or family close by.
40 MOST SURPRISING THINGS ABOUT THE POST-NATAL PERIOD
1. How little time you had to yourself
2. How much stuff you needed to carry when you went out
3. How lonely it could be at times
4. How quickly you forget what life was like before them
5. How long it takes to leave the house
6. How far you can push yourself without proper sleep
7. How much your priorities changed
8. How many people have an opinion on how you’re looking after your baby
9. The fact your body MADE them
10. How difficult breastfeeding can be
11. How relationships can change with people who aren’t in the same situation
12. How your baby becomes the centre of your world
13. How you cared less about your appearance
14. How often a newborn feeds
15. How skilled you become at eating a meal one handed
16. How the smallest things they do can blow your mind – like turning their head to the side
17. How much laundry you have
18. How many photos you take of your baby
19. How much advice you will be offered from people about your parenting choices
20. How difficult it is to navigate some shops with a pushchair
21. How often a newborn can poo
22. How difficult it is to drink a cup of tea while it was still hot
23. How difficult it is to get dinner on the table on time
24. How close you can feel to your baby when feeding them
25. How much you missed having a bump/being pregnant
26. How much you wanted to share your labour story
27. How you had to plan ahead
28. How nice they smell
29. That your skin and hair changed so much
30. The lack of bladder control
31. How much you wanted to talk about your baby
32. How easy/tricky it can be to make friends with other parents depending on your personality
33. How tiny a newborn’s nails are
34. How good you are at multi-tasking
35. How noisy a baby can be when it’s asleep
36. How quickly their cry gets louder
37. How much newborns sleep
38. That babies should be given a vitamin D supplement
39. How rewarding breastfeeding can be
40. How much you relied on help from other people
Others would have felt more prepared if they saw the bad, or less glamourous, side of parenting more on social media (32 per cent) or knew more people going through the same thing (30 per cent).
It also emerged 65 per cent of mums were surprised by how long it took them, mentally and physically, to recover from pregnancy and giving birth.
And the average mum reckons the post-natal period lasted nearly 10 weeks.
But 67 per cent of those surveyed, via OnePoll, admitted their own health and wellbeing took a back seat during this time as they concentrated on looking after their baby, with 59 per cent wishing they looked after themselves more.
A spokesperson for Vitabiotics Pregnacare and Wellbaby added: “It’s a time of huge change for mums, when they are also recovering from the toll that pregnancy and birth has put on their bodies.
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“So, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are looking after yourself as much as you are looking after the baby.
“Remember, happy mum equals a happy baby.”
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