If you’re counting down the days until you meet your baby, you’re probably wondering what you should expect from that first month of being a mom. Yes, you know that you probably won’t sleep much. And you’re pretty sure that your body will go through some, um, uncomfortable changes. But what else should you know about beforehand? We’ve got the rundown on what you need to know about baby’s development, your development, and everything else that goes into being a first-time mama in that first month.

A beautiful young African American mother gently holds her infant daughter up in the air with both hands and kisses her cheek. The baby's eyes are wide open and she looks happy. They are sitting on a couch in their living room.

1. Your baby will root. Rooting is a newborn reflex that you’ll notice during the first few months. When you gently touch or stroke one side of your baby’s face near their mouth, they’ll turn to follow your hand.

2. Your baby will startle. This is another newborn reflex that you’ll see in the first few months of life. A sudden noise or movement may cause your baby to toss their head back, stretch out their arms and legs, and cry. Even though this seems like a “surprise” reaction, it’s not an emotional response; it’s a reflex that your kiddo does not control.

3. Your baby will grasp. Those precious teeny-tiny fingers are just made for holding. And when you place your hand on your child’s, they grip it — tightly. No, your baby isn’t purposefully holding your hand in the same loving way that a toddler would. Instead, you’re experiencing the newborn’s grasp reflex.

4. Your baby will sleep. Surprise! Contrary to the popular portrayal of the newborn as a total night-owl, the first month of life is filled with sleep, sleep, and some more sleep. Newborns can sleep up to 17 hours of one 24-hour period.

5. Your baby won’t sleep constantly or consistently. Even though your newborn will sleep the majority of the day away, it may come in small spurts. Don’t expect your little one’s 17 hours of rest to fall in a consecutive period of time. And, for that matter, don’t expect the majority of their restful hours to happen at night.

6. You may feel different than your mommy friends. Your BFF snapped back into shape mere weeks after giving birth, but your SIL still looked like she was nine months pregnant 21 days out. Where will you fall on the post-preggo recovery continuum? No one can say. Every person is different, and your own recovery will follow its own path. But don’t stress. The weird aches, pains, and unpleasantness won’t last forever. Seriously.

7. You will need maxi pads — and plenty of them. Yep. It’s all pads for you, mama. Don’t even think about a tampon, cup, or anything else that needs to go inside of you. But there is an upside of having to wear something that may dwarf your baby’s newborn-sized diapers. You can get a combo ice-pack-pad that takes the pain away while… well, we all know what pads do.

8. You will have ups and downs. Like your body, your hormones won’t snap back to their pre-preggo state immediately. The roller coaster you’re on may equal whole-hearted happiness one moment and full-on sobs the next. Even though it’s normal to feel up and then down, if your blue moments get in the way of living life, last for days or weeks on end, or lead to thoughts of self-harm, get help right away. Postpartum depression is real and requires professional treatment.

9. You will take more time to do absolutely everything. The mountain of laundry that’s filling your living room? Forget about finishing it this afternoon. And that noon coffee date you have with your best mommy friend? Yeah, you’ll probably show up somewhere near one. You’re still adjusting to life with baby. That takes time. Give yourself a break, and don’t stress if your life doesn’t run like clockwork.

What do you think will change after having your first baby? Share your thoughts and tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)