Top 40 biggest surprises for mums after having a baby – including loneliness

Loneliness, how little time you have to yourself, and how long it takes to leave the house, are among the top things that surprised new mums after giving birth, according to a study.

A poll of 1,000 mums, who have given birth in the last ten years, revealed that two-thirds (65%) were surprised by how long it took them to recover, both physically and mentally, from pregnancy and giving birth.

Other unexpected aspects of the post-natal period include how much your priorities change, how much you need to take with you when leaving the house – and even how often a newborn needs feeding.

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 spokesman for supplement firm Vitabiotics Pregnacare and Wellbaby, which 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.

“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 more than three-quarters of mums (79%) were surprised by some of the things they encountered during the post-natal period.

Nearly half (47%) of those blamed this on people not talking about it honestly, while 43% 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%), or that they were the first of their friendship group to have a baby (34%).

  • Mum who went viral for huge baby bump shows what she looks like postpartum

Despite the surprises, generally 53% enjoyed the post-natal period – although almost half (48%) admitted they found it harder than they expected.

The average mum reckons the post-natal period lasted nearly 10 weeks.

And nearly four in ten (39%) said more open conversations about what it is really like would have helped make the period easier for them, while one in three (32%) think it would have been better if they had friends or family close by.

Others would have felt more prepared if they saw the bad – or less glamourous – side of parenting more on social media (32%), or knew more people going through the same thing (30%).

But 67% 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% wishing they looked after themselves more.

The spokesman 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.

“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.”


  1. How little time you have to yourself
  2. How much stuff you need to carry when you go out
  3. How lonely it can 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 change
  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 care 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 is 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 miss having a bump/being pregnant
  26. How much you want to share your labour story
  27. How you have to plan ahead
  28. How nice they smell
  29. That your skin and hair change so much
  30. The lack of bladder control
  31. How much you want 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 rely on help from other people

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