AmericanBaby: Fantasy Meets Reality

When there's a new baby on the way time is usually spent picking out baby clothes and setting up the crib. But after the baby gets here some mothers find themselves asking the question: Why didn't anyone tell me? Tricia O'Brien, features editor for American Baby Magazine shares the realities of life after the baby arrives.

Babies can often seem inconsolable if they cry a lot. He can get colic and cry for hours. The problem usually lies in the baby being hungry, tired, wet or uncomfortable in some way. To calm the baby try baths, swaddling, rocking, bouncing on a ball, the sound of a fan or vacuum can also help.

Once the baby is here it's all about them. No one mothers the Mommy. Everyone cares about the baby and not the parent, so those early days can be sad and lonely. Get involved in a new mothers group which can be a big help.

You might not bond instantly with your baby. It can be especially hard in those early days because you are figuring out new things and you are so sleep-deprived. You'd have to block out reality of the first few months to bond so quickly. The fuzzy feeling will come in time.

Sleep deprivation can get bad. Breastfeeding every 2 to 4 hours doesn't mean you get 2 to 4 hours of sleep in between. You have to nurse, burp, change the diaper, and put baby back to sleep. Therefore you might only get one hour or less of sleep before the next feeding. Nights of fragmented sleep generally last up to 3 months but can go longer. Being tired makes everything harder. If you're lucky you might find you're a really good catnapper.

A baby comes with a lot of gear. A regular outing requires an exit strategy and a bag packed with must-have items. Even if you remember everything, you may end up with spit-up on your outfit as you're leaving. Prep ahead and dress and do your hair before dressing baby and doing a diaper change.

Expect to get never ending advice. You will have conflicting opinions with your spouse. Family and friends will chime in with their two cents. With all the contradictory advice don't be afraid to make your own decisions. With trial and error you'll find the best way for you to take care of your baby.

For more parenting tips, click here.
Tricia O'Brien & Erika Wortham