You grow a cute little bump for nine months, get to shop for an entirely new maternity wardrobe, spend a few days in the hospital and boom, you’re a new mama! Right? Um, well, kind of. Whether it’s those oh-so charming changes your body goes through, the reality of a home birth or how to care for a newborn, chances are your mommy friends may have left out a few of the “finer” points of the process. Don’t worry: These aren’t scary, and they won’t make you close your eyes and click your sparkly red heels together three times, wishing for your single days. That said, you need to know these little nuggets — before you have your own little nugget!

Portrait of pregnant woman touching belly

1. You’ll be a squatting machine. Your belly pops, and suddenly there’s a real baby hanging out in the middle of your abdomen. And guess what? Bending over is off the table as an option (especially as your bump grows… and grows and grows). Every time you drop your keys, a pen rolls off the table or you see a shiny penny that’s heads up (and good luck!), you’ll need to squat down to get whatever is on the ground.

2. You need a new wardrobe of bras. That bump in the middle of your belly isn’t the only body part getting bigger. The more preggo you are, the more your cup size goes up. Yeah, you’ll want something supportive and completely comfy. But there’s no rule against pregnant mamas keeping things pretty with a bit of lace here and there. You’ll also need to stock up on nursing bras and a few in a slightly smaller size for when everything goes back down again.

3. Forget the pretty PJs. At least, forget about bringing them to the hospital. Childbirth is messy. Sorry, but it is. If everything goes as planned, chances are that your medical facility will get you up and out within 48 hours of delivery. Between the mess factor and the quick stay, you won’t have much need for the 17 pairs of silky pajamas that you bought for the “big day.” No, hospital gowns aren’t exactly stylish. But you don’t have to launder them, and they provide easy access for the doctors, interns, medical students and nurses who will be poking and prodding you.

4. Bring on the feminine hygiene products. Remember those super-bulky maxi pads that your mom bought for you the first time you had your period? Well, after having a baby, they make a comeback. Nix the notion of tampons for the time being. If you don’t want to use the hospital-issue kind (or send your partner out into the wilds of the feminine product aisle), go out and buy yourself a big ol’ box before your due date.

5. Labor and delivery equals no noshing. It’s the 10th hour of your labor. You’re barreling through the contractions like a little Viking, while your boo sits nearby nibbling on the lush, juicy blueberry muffin that they just got at the hospital cafeteria. And you can’t have any. It’s likely that your doc won’t green-light food (or liquids either) until after delivery. Hey, they’re not being mean. It’s just a precaution in case something goes less than right and you have to have a C-section or any other surgical procedure.

mother and newborn baby

6. Babies are crazy floppy. You’ve made it through three trimesters of pregnancy, 10 hours of labor and 45 minutes of pushing, and now you have a brand new baby! Aw! They’re squishy, sweet-smelling and… super-duper floppy. Your newborn doesn’t have the neck muscles to hold their head up. That means when you cradle them and pass them over to every friend, family member and old college roommate who comes to visit, it will seem like their head’s going to pop back like a PEZ dispenser. Don’t worry: In about a month, the rag-doll phase will be a thing of the past.

7. Newborn diapers don’t fit. Not well, anyway. Your days-old bebe is more like a featherless chicken than one of those commercial newborns (who tend to look a bit more like six-week-olds than six-hour-olds). Even the smallest size of diaper won’t fit super snugly. What does this mean for you? Let’s just say that you’ll spend more time washing itty-bitty baby clothes, sheets and receiving blankets than you ever thought you would.

What’s your top tip for a new soon-to-be mama? Share your idea and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)