|A Precious Treasure|
Below are some pearls of wisdom that I, and others, have learned from experience about being a new dad and how to survive the first few weeks. Give it a read and enjoy, my hope is that there is something that will help you adjust and enjoy the experience.
1. Learn how to change diapers. Up until my son was born I had refused to change diapers. When he came into the world I had no problem changing his and it seemed odd to me that I had refused to do so before. Because your newborn is drinking breast milk or formula, their poop will be something very different from what you are used to, not a big deal just roll with it. After a few diaper changes you will be a pro at it.
2. Safely install a carseat. Do not wait until your newborn has arrived to try and figure out how to install the darn thing, its your baby's safety on the line. Take some time a few weeks before the due date and try and install it. If you are having trouble or aren't sure you've done it right, head on over to your local highway patrol, state police or local auto club for assistance. Any of these groups will be more than happy to give you a hand in learning the ins and outs of properly installing a carseat.
3. Your life has changed and that means that going out is no longer as easy as it used to be. Going out now involves taking the baby with you and all the support equipment you will need. Now, mommy probably got a diaper bag, and if you were lucky so did you. If you didn't go out and buy one now, you are going to need it more than you think. Once you have it, make sure to have the following in it:
Diapers - make sure to have 1 for each hour of your trip and then add on 2 or 3 more.
Wipes - keep at least 2 dozen available in a travel pack or a ziplock bag. They come in handy for diaper changes as well as for cleaning up little hands.
Butt Cream - Bring along a small container to help ward off a diaper rash.
Plastic Diaper Disposal Bags - These will give you somewhere to put the diaper if there isn't a trash receptacle nearby. I really hate when parents leave their babies soiled diaper on the parking lot, its rude and disgusting (sorry, let me get of my soapbox).
Bottles With Formula (Or Breast Milk) - The little one will get hungry at some point during your trip. You can place the premeasured powdered formula in the bottles for convenience. Make sure to bring bottled water to mix it with.
Extra Clothes for Your Baby - Accidents happen, you may need to change them at some point during the trip.
First-Aid Kit - You never know when this will come in handy. Make sure it is stocked with bandages, antibiotic ointment, baby pain medication and other supplies as needed.
4. Get ready for sleep deprivation. Newborns do not have any sense of time. When they are hungry or wet they will let you know, and that's usually every few hours. Relax when you can and get into a routine. Nothing worse than being tired and trying to feed your little one. Make sure to share the feeding with mommy, even if she is breastfeeding she can express milk in advance for you to feed the baby.
5. Bath time can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Make sure to always test the temperature of the water, always add cold water first and then add hot to make it comfortable. Never use more than about 4 inches of water in the baby tub, that is sufficient for your needs. Once the baby is in the water ignore everything else (doorbell, phone, TV, etc). Your baby should never be left alone in the tub, they can drown in just a few inches of water.
6. Babies cry so get used to it and learn to tell the difference. There are three main reasons why they are crying, so make sure to check these first before looking to something else that may be bothering them. A. Hunger, they will let you know when they are hungry. Before they are born they get everything they need from mommy before they know they are hungry. B. baby will let you know when they have a full diaper, its not a pleasant experience and they will let you know it. C. They are tired and getting grumpy. for a baby, a few hours is like a full day for mommy and daddy.
7. Tell mommy that she is beautiful. She has just gone through a monumental experience, one that we as men will never know. She is feeling tired and not too happy with how she is looking and feeling. Make sure she knows that you are proud of her and that she is still very beautiful.
8. Give mommy a helping hand with the household chores. She will be very tired and will need your love and attention and this means picking up the slack because she will be busy recovering from the birth and taking care of the baby. Don't be a caveman and think she can do it all on her own, it's just not a good attitude and wont make for a happy home.
9. The first few weeks can be stressful, and staying inside only makes it worse. If the day is nice, get that brand new stroller out and go for a walk. 20 or 30 minutes a day will work miracle for all of you.
10. Your baby will be growing up quick so enjoy your time with them at this age and take plenty of pictures. Seriously, time goes by quick. My little boy is now 8, and it seems like only yesterday I was holding him in my arms.
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