Back when I got hitched a few years ago, I suddenly became an expert (albeit self-proclaimed) in anything and everything weddings and decided to write about it. Granted I wasn’t exactly an authority on the subject, but, based on the amount of feedback I received (and still receive), I think it’s fair to say that it was a reasonably helpful piece for many looking to tie the knot here in Hawaii. Heck, I still refer to it to this day for various wedding related information.
So when wifey recently gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, I felt compelled to do another “brain dump” of sorts, of everything we’ve learned throughout the baby making process. Er, make that the baby rearing process. 😛 Like the marriage process before, I had so many unanswered questions about babies that were such a mystery to me and I could not for the life of me find answers to. I’m hoping that this article will help unlock some of those mysteries for us new/nervous papas (and mamas) to be.
Any time a parent (stranger or not) saw my big-bellied wife, one of the tips that was a constant was to travel. “Make sure you get the traveling out of your system!” they would say, or “You won’t be going anywhere for a while!” they would preach. And though we’ve been on countless trips since we’ve been together (Maui, Big Island three times, Seattle, Vegas, Utah, Kauai, Japan twice, Alaska, San Francisco, Reno, Sacramento, Lanai, Canada, and numerous beach house and hotel staycation weekends), we never really believed them until now. Once your wife pops that helpless little baby out, going out to get the mail is pretty much the only traveling you’ll be doing for a while. Though we’re glad we were able to travel quite a bit before baby came, we sure do still miss it!
Wifey and I on an Alaskan glacier
In addition to traveling, I would also add “eating out” to the list of things to do before giving birth. I used to be the master of posting food pics to my blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Now, the most exciting thing I can post is a take-out order from Zippy’s. Get your eat on for sure!
Another tip that was given to us on the regular was to be sure to get our sleep. “Enjoy your sleep now!” or “Kiss your beauty sleep goodbye” would be the two loving words of advice. At first, it didn’t seem too bad. Perhaps we had overly-mentally prepared ourselves for this and thought it was easy at first. Then, over time, we slowly started to wilt and saw what those mean people meant. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. Suddenly, we had no idea what time of day or what day of the week it was.
“Sleep when baby sleeps” was another tip we got which was quite helpful. At first, we tried to stay up and take shifts, but as baby grew hungrier and hungrier, it was increasingly difficult for daddy to take any shift that related to eating (this is if you guys are insistent on only feeding breast milk straight from the source). It’s difficult to sleep for 3 hours at a time (the general amount that a newborn sleeps in between feedings), especially when it’s broad daylight outside, but once we started doing it, it became easy. That, or we were so exhausted that we would’ve been able to sleep in the middle of a Def Leppard concert. (yeah, I’m showing my age.)
“Stock up on dem diapers!” was probably the 3rd most common piece of advice given by others. And boy were they right! We are going through diapers like it was going out of style!
A guy I talked to recently at Babies R Us recently told me that on the average, babies will go through 8,000-10,000 diapers in the first two years of their life. WHAAATTT!?!? So if a case of 100 diapers costs about $30, each diaper would be about $0.30, which means that we’ll be spending up to $3,000 on diapers alone? WHAAATTT!?!? And here’s something I wasn’t aware of (or didn’t even think about) before. There are various sizes of diapers, so not only do you have to buy tons of diapers at each size, you have to make sure that you don’t over-buy in case they outgrow the previous size.
Diaper “Cakes” from our baby showers
For us, we were fortunate enough to receive a lot of diapers as gifts from baby showers we’ve attended. Wifey opened the new diaper packages and took apart the diaper “cakes” and organized them based on size. We started on the “N” (Newborn) size – which is where we still are – and have quickly run out. I’ve already made two trips to Babies R Us to replenish our Newborn diaper supply (108 x 2) and will likely have to go back again. Buying in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club is also a good idea, but again, be careful not to over-buy. They also only carry certain brands, so if your baby gets diaper rash from these brands, you’ll be stuck with a lot of leftovers.
Pampers Newborn-sized diapers – 108 count
I’m hoping that the “N” sized diaper is the one that gets used/changed the most, but we shall see. Maybe it gets worse! LOL! I must admit though… It is rather frustrating when, as soon as you change a diaper, da buggah is wet. Once, I think I had to change 3 diapers in the span of like 5 minutes. D’oh! Oh yeah, and btw, these days, many diapers come with a colored strip on the outside that signifies when it’s wet. Ours is yellow and when the diaper gets wet on the inside, the strip turns blue on the outside. Pretty handy dandy if you ask me!
Don’t forget about wipes. For every diaper change, you need at least 1 wipe (usually 2 or 3) to clean baby’s bottom up. My parents bought us a humangoid case of wipes from Costco (900 count), which seems like it will last us until the end of eternity, but if I do the math, probably not.
Kirkland brand baby wipes from Costco – 900 count
If you have a Diaper Genie, don’t use it with your newborn diapers. The refill bags are expensive and your newborn’s diapers don’t smell anyway (yet!), so no sense wasting the refill bags. Just toss them with your regular trash.
K, now that we got those three common tips out of the way, let’s work chronologically and walk through what you may need at every step of the way.
- Doing things as a couple – Of course, traveling (as mentioned above) and eating out and just doing things together before baby comes goes without saying. Once baby comes, it’ll be three and your quality time together as a couple will be significantly lessened. Go to movies, have date nights, just be in each other’s company.
- Take photographs & videos – some people opt to get professional photographs taken while others just wish to document the experience. We did the latter. Starting with the home pregnancy test results to taking a photo of wifey’s belly every few weeks or so, we were able to document the entire 9-month experience. We were even able to capture audio of baby’s heartbeat during routine check-ups, and videos and photos of her at our ultrasound visits. She’ll probably be interested in seeing that one day.
Seeing our sweetheart for the first time through the ultrasound
- Create a baby registry – if you are expecting baby showers or gifts from family and friends, it helps them if you create a baby registry so they know what you need. If this is your first rodeo though, that’s often not an easy task because you, yourself, have no idea what you want/need. LOL! We recommend enlisting the help of a new mom. They know about all the latest trends and gadgets and can help you pick out what to add to your registry. When we went to the store to set up a registry on our own the first time, we were armed with a scan gun and walked around aimlessly, not knowing what to scan. The second time around, we brought my friend (thanks Shell!) who walked us through the entire store saying, “OK, you need this, this, this, this, this…” Sooooo much easier! A tip from wifey: Register at more than one place if possible (even online stores). This makes it easier for the people buying you gifts (convenience and price).
- Sign up for email newsletters – sites like BabyCenter.com and TheBump.com, etc. have newsletters that they send out weekly, with updates on how your baby looks or what to expect this month, etc. It helps with the anticipation and excitement of what’s to come. It also helps educate you on what’s happening now.
- Take a class – originally called Lamaze class, these classes now cover everything from breathing to what to expect before, during and after your pregnancy. Chatting and bonding with other pregnant couples going through the same thing you are always helps as well!
- Prep your crib (and your crib!) – women (and men) tend to go through this phase called “nesting” in which you go crazy preparing your house for baby’s arrival. Cleaning, organizing, rearranging, etc. all seem to happen when the date gets closer. Make sure your crib in your crib is ready to go before baby comes otherwise baby won’t have anywhere to sleep. Don’t worry too much about “babyproofing” your house (cupboard latches, gates, outlet covers, etc.) in the beginning since baby can’t walk anyway.
- Sleeping options? – In addition to a crib, you may want to get a portable Pack ‘N Play, bassinet, or what’s called a co-sleeper. If you’re paranoid like us newbies, leaving your newborn in a crib in another room won’t let you get a lot of sleep (especially if you don’t have a baby monitor). We tried putting her in the crib in the beginning, but ended up sleeping on the floor next to her just so we could hear her every noise, you know, just in case. Now, we have the Pack ‘N Play in our room and baby sleeps there. That way, mommy and daddy can sleep in their comfortable bed, while still keeping our eyes and ears peeled for her noises. Bassinets work in a similar fashion. Co-Sleepers actually attach to the side or end of your bed. This way, you don’t have to get completely out of bed to check on baby. You just roll over. WARNING: We’ve been told not to let baby get used to sleeping in our room as they get attached and it will be REALLY difficult to make her sleep in her own room later. Just a head’s up. When we’re a little more confident, we’ll probably move her to her own room and pick up a baby monitor.
- Rub mom’s belly with anti-stretchmark cream – if your wife is as paranoid of stretch marks as mine, then you’ll want to go out and get some cream for her. She really liked this cream/lotion called Blooming Beautiful that we picked up from Motherhood Maternity. Not sure if it was because of the cream or just good genetics, but we are proud to say that she is now the proud owner of a stretch mark-less belly.
Blooming Beautiful from Motherhood Maternity
- Select a pediatrician – your first baby appointment is a few weeks after baby is out. Be sure you know who you want and book ‘um Danno!
- Laundry – here’s another one to be aware of. When you bring baby home, he/she is going to have to have clothes to be in and clean sheets to sleep on. Make sure this is all done ahead of time. We luckily did a partial load, but since baby surprised us a couple weeks early, we needed to do the rest of the load while she was already here. Quite the challenge fitting it in to her crazy sleeping/feeding schedule. Another thing to note is that you have to use special baby detergent and not your normal detergent. Baby’s skin is uber sensitive and your detergent will irritate their skin.
- Install your car seats in advance – the hospital won’t let you leave if you don’t have a car seat installed. We bought our car seat (and bases) from Baby Emporium who offered to professionally install it for us as a service. Luckily, we had one car installed prior to baby’s arrival and have since had our other cars (including our parents/babysitters) installed. Optionally, don’t forget to also install the baby mirror (so you can see baby’s face while you drive) and the sun shades on both rear windows (to block the sun from shining in baby’s delicate eyes). I hear that you can also schedule free car seat installations with your delivering hospital. That could be another option.
- Hospital tour – schedule a hospital & delivery ward tour in advance if your hospital has this service. This helped BIG TIME! They actually walk you through, step by step, what you need to do when “the time” comes. You can see where to park, what elevators to catch, how to check-in and where you’ll generally be both delivering and recovering. It definitely takes a lot off your mind mentally because it answers a lot of the unknowns and uncertainties. Speaking of checking in, see if you can pre-register so that you won’t have to be fumbling around with paperwork when the actual day comes. Our hospital let us do this so when the actual day came, checking in was such a breeze!
- Pick a name! – I bought a book with like 100,001+ names in it and I still couldn’t find a name I liked. Wifey and I selected our top 3, compared notes, and picked one we both liked. Don’t forget to pick a backup name for the opposite sex! Not sure how true this is, but they say that even if your ultrasound technician says “it’s a girl!”, there’s still a 20% chance she could be a he! I also heard of some couples picking two names out for the same sex and then choosing which one matched better once they saw the baby’s face. Whatever works for you guys!
- Write a birth plan – Often, in the heat of the moment, you won’t be able to make decisions on the spot. By writing a birth plan, you give the nurses, midwives and doctors an idea of how you want to deliver your baby. From who you want in the room, to what kinds of drugs you want, etc., this will help both you and them. For example, sometimes, they’ll ask if interns can come in and watch the birth. Your birth plan will tell them “heck no!” Wifey was also adamant about avoiding a C-section unless absolutely necessary. That was in her birth plan. For baby boys, you will have to make a decision on circumcision. Be prepared for that.
- Decide if you want an Epidural – speaking of drugs, she will probably want to decide what she wants to do in terms of an Epidural. Some moms go through it with nothing, some know they want it all from the beginning. My wife was unsure and wanted to decide on the spot. At first, the pain was bearable, but when it got more intense, she wanted to try the low dosage through IV. According to her, that didn’t do a thing so when the pain got even worse, she went straight for the Epidural. It’s a lifesaver, but there are risks involved since it does go through your spine. (see Wikipedia for more info). They also say that since it numbs her lower regions, it’ll be harder to push, but that wasn’t really the case for us. The bonus for the Epidural was the post-delivery patch up. It was a breeze.
- Packing your overnight bag – one good tip I read in a book called “The Expectant Father” was to pack a pair of swim shorts. If your wife wants to jump in the shower and you need to help her, the swim shorts come in handy, which it actually did for me. Wifey claims that the shower felt REALLY good, so ladies, expect to jump in there at least once before baby comes. Other than the obvious stuff (extra clothes, toiletries, etc.), I would HIGHLY recommend packing a cooler with drinks and food. Our total delivery time was about 12 hours (including the waiting period) so you’ll be STARVING. Don’t forget your camera, extra batteries, extra memory cards, your phone, your chargers, etc. I also packed my iPad and IntelliGo so we could get our Internet on in the WiFi-less hospital room. In fact, I was able to check my personal and work emails, as well as post my first full blog directly from the recovery room!
Blogging from our recovery room
- Packing her overnight bag – for her, she might want an iPod to pass the time with music, a photo for her to concentrate on when doing her breathing exercises, a nursing bra, etc. I forgot to mention above that it’s important to pack your bags in advance! You don’t want to be scrambling around trying to remember to pack everything while wifey is screaming bloody murder. You’re bound to forget something. We thought we were packing well in advance (two weeks early), but it just so happened that the day after we packed our bags, we were off.
During the birth
- Be supportive & strong – your wife is about to push a 5-10 pound human being out of her hoo hoo, so be sure she can lean on you for comfort and support. Massages are always nice. Help her get out of bed and go for a walk if she wants to. It’s supposed to help induce the birth. As I mentioned before, the shower feels really good for her. Help her in and out and bring fresh towels, etc. Most of our time in the delivery room was spent waiting. Talk with each other about what you’re thinking/feeling. This might even be a good time to record a video.
- Call the fam – as it gets closer to delivery, you might want to take this time to call up the `ohana. You probably don’t want to call them too early as they’ll be waiting around for hours bored out of their minds. But as it gets closer, you probably want to give them a head’s up to let them know so they can start preparing their trip to the hospital.
- Inform your office – I wasn’t sure if we were actually going to deliver when we did, but once I knew it was fo’ real, I emailed my boss.
- Ice chips – after a certain point, moms aren’t allowed to eat. Request a cup full of ice chips so that you can keep her hydrated. With all the hard breathing she does, this also helps to quench her dry throat.
- Eat and hydrate as well – graze on the snacks you brought with you so you don’t pass out yourself. I felt a little guilty grinding in front of wifey (who wasn’t allowed to eat) so I didn’t really eat much. When I did, I went to a dark corner and told her to close her eyes. LOL!
- Use a mirror – initially wife didn’t want to see herself down there so she didn’t want a mirror. After a while, she thought she’d give it a try and that REALLY helped! She could see herself pushing and you could actually see immense progress after that.
- Cutting the umbilical cord – be prepared to take a couple swipes at it as the cord is reasonably tough. My father-in-law described it as the consistency of a tako leg, which stuck in my mind while I was cutting it. I’d say that was a pretty accurate assessment. Haha!
Me cutting the umbilical cord
- Under pressure – the main word wife used to describe the sensation throughout was “pressure”. It wasn’t so much a pain thing as it was a pressure thing. Over time, the discomfort was so great that she just wanted to get “that thing” out of her. Her words, not mine! 😉
- Skin to skin – they say that the best thing for baby as soon as they come out is for them to go skin to skin with mom (baby lies on mom’s chest). If your hospital doesn’t traditionally do this, make sure it’s in your birth plan. Mom and baby bonded like this for like an hour.
- Be prepared to cry – if you’re anything like me, tears are a foreign concept. I can’t recall the last time I cried. Once you see your baby for the first time, trust… the tears will flow. For me, it really hit me when I saw baby lying on mom’s chest, staring at mom who was staring back with tears in her eyes. Huuuu! I must admit, I got a little misty on that one. Good thing nobody saw! 😉
- Help! – at this point, wife will be exhausted and in pain. We men pretty much didn’t really have to do a damn thing so do what you can to pitch in. Watch the baby as your wife sleeps, help wife go to the bathroom, be the door man/security (so nobody barges in unannounced), etc.
- Visitors – there are a few schools of thought on this one. Some say that you should tell everyone so they come and visit you in the hospital because once you go home, you don’t really want to see anyone. Then there are others who say don’t tell anyone except close family and friends because while you’re in the hospital, you just want to rest and relax. I’m not quite sure where we fell because we’ve had visitors at both the hospital and at home and we were ok for the most part.
- Examine baby – in addition to counting the 10 fingers and 10 toes, this paranoid dad went as far as committing his daughter’s face to memory. Even though they put multiple tags on you, mom and baby (for identification purposes), you never know. What if some sneaky baby robber is roaming the halls and swaps out the tags for another. Since I had her face committed to memory, whenever I was away from baby (which wasn’t often lemmetellya), I would immediately be able to recognize it and chase down and cream the baby robber. In all seriousness though, this is a highly important thing (in my opinion). Make sure baby stays with you in your room unless absolutely necessary. I heard of one story where the nurses accidentally switched the babies and the moms even went as far as breastfeeding them (the wrong baby!) until they figured out the mix up. Woah!
- Breastfeeding – this one’s mostly for her. While in recovery, you’ll have lactation specialists come in to help mom breastfeed. Don’t get frustrated. Some moms’ milk doesn’t come in until after you are discharged. We had to give formula in the beginning, which, from what we understand is fairly normal.
- Ask questions – while you have the doctors and nurses and specialists at your disposal, ask all the questions you have. No question is dumb. Once you go home, you’re on your own for the most part.
- Bond with baby – since mom had a lot of bonding time earlier, make sure you get some daddy time in there too. There was one time when baby was wide awake (which isn’t often in the beginning) and mom was sleeping, so I ceased the moment and held her. She just stared at me and my heart melted.
Daddy-Daughter bonding time!
- Be prepared for no sleep – in my blog, I mentioned that term daddychondria, and lemme just say that this is in full effect that first night at the hospital. In addition to all of the nurses and specialists coming in and out to check on baby, you will also be paranoid about someone coming in and stealing your baby, or hearing baby choke, or any little noise for that matter. And I didn’t even mention my “sorry-excuse-for-a-rollaway-bed” bed! Nonetheless, I maneuvered that bed so that I was right next to baby the entire time!
- Get help – mom gets fed hospital food, but there is nothing for dad. The in-laws also brought us snacks and foods to munch on, which definitely held us over, but by the end of the day, I was starving again. I asked my dad if he could get me some hot food to eat, a plate lunch, anything. He picked up some chicken katsu with gravy all ova (which I usually don’t eat), but I totally SCARFED it down cause I was SOOOO famished! With visitors, comes gifts and balloons, etc. Loading that up in the car will take multiple trips unless you have help. Good thing my dad helped a brutha out.
Grandpa lending a hand
- Get help (continued) – for your visitors, it’s a nice touch to have a little “thank-you” snack/gift for them. We were meaning to do that, but baby came early and we were unprepared. Thankfully, my mom helped to put those together for us (“Lollypops” from See’s Candies with cute “It’s a girl!” stickers on them). Loading your bundle of joy in the car seat for the very first time while she’s screaming her head off was quite intimidating as well. Thankfully, our nurse had our back there.
Loading baby in her car seat
I caught the most hilarious photo after all of this that I just HAVE to share. It’s baby giving us stink eye for putting her in the car seat.
“Why’d you put me in this car seat!?”
- The drive home – that drive home from the hospital was intense. I don’t think I’ve ever driven that carefully in my entire life! I had my hands on 10 & 2 and was probably traveling at 40MPH on the freeway! I avoided changing lanes, but when I had to, I had my blinker on for a good 20 seconds before slowly moving over. LOL! This is the moment where it really hits you: “Wow, I’m actually a dad!”
- Attire – be sure to have mittens for baby. Her nails are like razor sharp claws and you don’t want her to be scratching herself or her face (and her eyes especially). A beanie is nice if you live in cold areas of Hawaii or if your baby was born in the winter months. They say that the temperature of her head is a good indication of how hot or cold she is. Be sure to also have home clothes and going out clothes or “when visitors come over” clothes all ready and washed up. We hate to admit it, but since it’s somewhat hot right now, a lot of times at home, we’ll just leave her topless. Hopefully, she won’t get too used to that in the future. 😛 When guests are coming over or we want to take her out, then yes, we’ll put on something cute.
- Swaddling – in the very beginning, your newborn will not have much control over their extremities. Think about it. When they were in the womb, they were all bundled up nicely and felt safe. Swaddling is a wrapping method that emulates how it was in the womb. Her arms and legs are tightly wrapped against her body. Note: be aware of her body temperature while swaddled too!
How to swaddle tag on one of our swaddle blankets
- Breastfeeding – if you are going to breastfeed, get a Boppy pillow. It wraps around mom and helps to support baby while she’s at the breast, taking pressure off of mom’s wrists and arms.
- Breastfeeding (continued) – don’t waste your time on the cheap breast pumps. Invest in the top of the line one from the start. We bought one from Medela. Early on, your wife’s breasts will fill up with milk so much that they will actually be sore. My wife joked that she thought she be on the news for being the first casualty of “exploding breasts”. Another funny story was when we visited the lactation specialist and she asked “Is this all you?” as if she had breast implants. LOL! Anyway, the breast pump helps to supplement what’s called letting the milk down. After repeated breastfeeding sessions, over time, mom’s nipples will become quite tender. Investing in cool gelpads or a lanolin cream my wife swears by called Medela Tender Care would be the way to go.
Medela Tender Care Lanolin cream
- Breastfeeding (continued) – after babies are born, they naturally lose weight (losing a lot of the water weight, etc.). After 2 weeks, babies are supposed to be back at their birth weight. If they are not, they are considered “underweight” and the doctors will make you feed baby more. We actually had to physically wake her up every 3 hours in order to feed her because sometimes, she’d just sleep through it. If you don’t want that kind of pressure, be sure baby gets a full supply at every feeding and feed her often. If you supplement with formula, it may help, but often, moms want to try to do strictly breast milk.
- Diaper changing – as mentioned above, you will go through diapers like nobody’s business. Make sure you have enough diapers and wipes to suffice. Be sure, especially if you have a girl, to wipe from front to back. You don’t ever want to bring the dirty stuff from behind to the front for fear of infection. If your baby gets a rash, you may want to change diaper brands, maybe to the unscented style. To treat the rash, there is a product called “Boudreaux’s Butt Paste” (not even joking) which I hear actually works well.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
- Diaper changing (continued) – wifey personally likes to use a paste from a company called Desitin.
Desitin Maximum Strength paste
- Belly button care – when you leave the hospital, baby is left with a stump at the end of her belly button. Hard and crispy is probably how I would best describe it. Resist the urge to touch it or pull on it. It will fall off on its own after a few weeks. We were also told to keep it dry, which meant only sponge baths (no tub baths).
Enjoying her first sponge bath
- Visitors – same rules apply like the hospital visitors we mentioned earlier. You have to do what’s comfortable for you and mom. Sure, everybody wants to come and see you guys and baby, but make sure you get enough rest and aren’t spreading yourself too thin. The best is when baby’s grandparents come over and bring food. Not only are they excited to come and play with their grandchild (giving you a slight break), but they feed you to boot! Sa-weet! Extra Bonus: the dads will even have a beer or three with you!
Happy Grandma and Grandpa
Happy Grandpa and Grandma
- Get help from neighbors – we are fortunate to live in an area that has a lot of new families. We lean on our neighbors for advice because they are going through the same things we are. Trading stories and helping each other with food runs is so much wins.
- Keep an eye out for Jaundice – Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. This affects about 50%-60% of full term babies, but usually goes away in a few weeks. Not sure how true it is, but I heard that Asian babies are more susceptible to Jaundice than other races. We were told to just keep her in indirect sunlight and she should be fine. If it doesn’t go away, be sure to contact your health care provider!
- Get fresh air – sure it’s “safe” to stay cooped up at home because there’s no sick people to worry about or fear of crazy drivers, but it’s good to get out for some fresh air every so often. We’re fortunate to have a park right across the street from us. We’ll take baby out for a stroll when the weather’s nice. It also gives mom and dad some quality time together too.
- Announcements – this kinda depends how public you want to be with your new bebe. For us, we kept it to close friends and family (yeah, outside of this world wide article! LOL!). My uncle in Japan sent me a cute photo of my precious grandma holding a photo of my daughter and a handwritten letter to us. Awwww, I think I might have to get a little misty again! 😉
My obaachan and her great grand-daughter
- Avoid gassy foods – whatever mom eats, baby will eat. Try to avoid gassy foods that may make baby fussy later.
- Send her regular emails! – one of my readers recently sent me this link and I thought it was pure genius! So much so that I actually stole borrowed the idea and thought I’d share it with all y’all as well! I just created my daughter her very own, custom email address and just got done sending her my very first email (with a photo attachment!). It actually made me a little misty writing it, knowing that the future version of my tiny sweetheart will be reading it one day. WTH!? Why am I so sensitive all of the sudden! LOL!
- Document EVERYTHING – they say that babies change every day. One day they’ll look like mom, and another day, they’ll look like dad. Our parents visit about once a week and every time they come, they say baby looks different. It’s amazing. For the first few weeks or so, we were taking photos and videos on the daily. It’s nice to look back and see how she’s grown/changed and all of the experiences she’s been through (baths, feedings, visitors, etc.) in the first days of her life.
- Enjoy it while it lasts – everybody tells us this and, although we’re still early in the game, we know exactly what they mean. It seems like she’s growing up so fast right before our very eyes. Treasure each moment as it will pass you by before you know it!
Addressing Daddychondria Issues
- My baby’s a monkey! – some babies are really hairy all over their body. This is called lanugo and perfectly normal. Baby eventually sheds the hair and it goes away.
- My baby breathes like Darth Vader on steroids! – babies tend to breath a lot faster than adults. Don’t worry, it’s normal.
- My baby is getting shocked! – twitching is normal as your baby’s nervous system is still quite immature. They are also still trying to figure out how to control their extremities.
- My baby is too young to have acne! – small pimples on baby’s face is also quite normal and goes away after a few weeks. If it doesn’t she may be getting it from irritation from the breast milk, etc. Just be sure to wipe and wash baby’s face clean after feedings.
- My baby hates me! – babies don’t have the ability to show expressions (smiling, etc.) until about a month old. Be patient.
- My baby hates herself! – the natural reflex for a baby’s hand is to grab whatever gets near it. It’s cute when she grabs a hold of your finger, but not so much when she grabs a handful of her own hair.
- “What was that!?!?” – you’ll drive yourself crazy if you listen for every little peep from baby. Believe me, I did! LOL! I’ve learned that although it’s good to be aware of baby’s noises, don’t over-worry about it.
More Helpful Tips:
- Don’t leave baby on stomach unattended – this used to be ok back in the day, but nowadays this is a no-no. They could choke because they aren’t strong enough or skilled enough to move their head away from the bed.
- Always support their neck – speaking of their heads, when you carry your baby, be sure to always support their head and neck. A baby’s head is 50% of their body weight so they aren’t able to support it on their own in the beginning.
- Avoid baby powder with talc in it – Apparently, it is dangerous when inhaled by a baby’s lungs, and may even cause cancer. If you need to use baby powder, it is recommended to look for one with cornstarch, but I would avoid it altogether.
- Keep an eye out for a white tongue – If it doesn’t rub off immediately or easily, it may not be milk and it could in fact be yeast infection. If it continues, it will not only make baby uneasy, but may even make mom’s nipples uncomfortably itchy too. Get medication right away.
- Vitamin D drops – these days, it is recommended that babies get a vitamin D supplement in the form of drops to help with bone development. Get that from your health provider as well.
- Have tummy time – Although the first tip was not to put baby on stomach unattended, putting her on her tummy actually helps her exercise her back and shoulders so give this a try periodically. As long as you are watching her. This will help to strengthen her arms, shoulders, back, and neck (as she learns to push herself up), so when that time comes when she starts to roll over on her own, she’ll be strong enough to push her head (mouth) away from the mattress to avoid suffocation.
I think that’s about it. I hope this “brain dump” helped you new daddies (and mommies) to be. Now, time to go back to sleep. Zzzzzzzzz! 😉