New Baby Announcements Pages & Tags
Post by Jane on

Get friends/loved ones to agree to help with meal prep and house cleaning during your first 2-3 weeks. Call in favors. When people say "let me know whatever you need" take them up on it. You're going to be overworked so having someone drop by to give a lasagna or vacuum your living room is a huge lifesaver.

Related to that, don't have guests come visit the first 2-3 weeks. Only have people who are coming to help you. It sounds rude but you're going to be so tired and while your guest is there you're just waiting for them to leave so you can sleep or pop a boob out to breast feed. Their presence also can mess up your whole schedule, so you end up not getting enough sleep when you need every precious few minutes. Also before your baby has all her shots these people increase her risk of getting sick.

No one told me this and I wish they had! I chose to be polite to everyone and had some really bad days. In many cases they just feel obligated to come anyway. Do everyone a favor and turn away all visitors!

This is harder for mom than you might think.

Sleep deprivation and massive hormonal changes can cause all kinds of crazy. This will make a woman super emotional , very anxious, and probably bordering on ppd. But it gets better. In no small part thanks to very patient and pleasant husbands. So stick with it, be as supportive as you can in those early weeks.

Things usually even out pretty soon.

A word on ppd: Even a mild case of baby blues can be devastating. It's not the emotional reaction to a child that a mom or dad expect to have. Don't be shy about asking for help or calling your doctor. It effects dads too, so look after each other. You got this.

A few thoughts from my extensive experience:

Fun

Being a parent is fun (sometimes). People use lots of words to describe being a parent (hard, challenging, scary, rewarding), but nobody told me it might actually be fun. It's OK to enjoy it :).

Learn

There is a ton of information out there and much of it conflicts -- ranking will be key. This is how I rank my sources (from best to worst)

  1. Find a pediatrician you like. Many will see you briefly before your child is born. Once you've found one, trust them. They are smart and experienced. Of all my sources of information I trust my pediatrician the most.
  2. The AAP, CDC, and WHO are my next stop for broad advice. They are boring, non-revolutionary, non-trendy groups of smart people dedicated to making kids be alive.
  3. Buy a book -- do not buy 50. My wife and I went with What to Expect: the first year. It's satisfactory. It's comparatively light on the panic inducing fear mongering you'll find everywhere else, has some sensible thoughts in it, answers a great many common questions.
  4. Consult forums. The primary purpose of forums is to inform you that whatever is happening with your baby is common and fine. "Is it normal for him to make that sound????" "yes."
  5. Parenting Blogs approach with caution. You Reddit, so you know about crazy people, but parenting blogs are insane. I actively avoid most, recommend none, and view them as the bottom-of-the barrel for information.

Feed

Your baby must eat. While you may have a way you prefer to feed him (breast, bottle, formula, fancy slow flow bottle nipple, on a schedule), it is useful to keep in mind that not feeding him is bad. Is what you're trying not working? Try something else.

Sooth

At the start, your wife will likely be better at soothing your baby than you. This is a function of hormones and familiarity. This does not mean you should pass your baby off to your wife every time he cries. Keep with it, try different things, and you'll get it eventually. Even if you're never the best soother you still need to do it.

Misc. Thoughts

  1. Babies are vampires: they drink people, wake at night, come with strenuous warnings to avoid direct sunlight, and dislike when mom eats garlic. Vampires.
  2. Feelings. Earlier I mentioned that parenting is fun. Sometimes it is not . Sometimes it's 3 in the morning and your baby has been crying for hours and you have no idea why and you aren't getting any sleep and your wife is in the next room crying and you don't like any of it, and you have "bad" feelings and thoughts ("why did I do any of this?? why does my baby suck so much? I could be at the club getting smashed with my friends! I could just put him down and run away forever"). It's then tempting to feel bad for feeling bad -- don't. Have whatever inside feelings and thoughts you need to, just keep on doing what you're supposed to.
  3. Go places. Newborns are surprisingly easy to take places (they sleep easily). Get out of of the house.
  4. I'll leave you with some Mr Rogers: “Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other's achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.”
Post by Jane on

What a baby needs isn't the same thing as what a baby needs.

You don't need as much as they try to sell you. Rockers, toys, so many bottles, hats, etc. Just get 1 rocker. More money doesn't mean better. Buy used. Try to find a Facebook buy/sell/trade board. Moms love selling old baby gear on there for a fraction of retail. You don't need a high chair for 4 months. You'll be ditching stuff every few months. Save the money for babysitters. Get on a diaper subscription from either Amazon or Diapers.com.

Try to be there for all the prenatal appointments. Rub her pregnant feet. Bring her water to help her stay hydrated.

When she gives birth, be the information liaison. People will be texting and calling. You handle that. Schedule visitors at the hospital, but leave lots of time for sleeping and rest. Oh and be prepared with food and snacks for yourself. The hospital only feeds patients, which you are not lol. Bring your own pillow and a blanket.

As a dad, be ready to take initiative on things like diaper changes, giving the baby baths, cleaning the house, cooking (or bringing food, however you get it), laundry. She will be exhausted and breastfeeding a baby round the clock. You can help by bringing the baby to her when it's time to nurse and letting mom sleep. Bring get snacks and water when she's feeding the baby. Sometimes cluster feeding pins a breastfeeding mom down for hours.

Sometimes babies mix up night and day. If that happens, try to let mom sleep in between feeds add much as possible, since she will be awake with baby at night. Make sure you and mom are getting 6 hrs of unbroken sleep every 2 days at minimum. Sleep deprivation plus baby blues can make things harder as her emotions will be all over the place. Your relationship will be tested the first 6 weeks. You'll both be exhausted, she probably will not be cleared for sex yet, and she'll be hormonal.

Take pictures. She won't feel pretty right after birth and maybe even for a few months more, but this is your guys' story and you'll wish you had documented more. Take pics during the pregnancy, too.

Read up about car seat safety and installation. Car seats for the Littles is a good resource. Annoying name, but they are super helpful.

Toddler just woke from her nap, so maybe someone else can add more.

It isn't uncommon for new parents to give out $400-500 worth of newborn stuff, another couple hundred of 0-3, 3-6, etc. Crib, cradle, bassinet, side sleeper, and rocker. All we use is the bassinet and rocker and I know we'll use the crib later, but wow.

I wish we had returned every single piece of clothing because it's all generic made-in-China trash with all the dumb "handsome" or "mommy's little boy/girl" or "I love daddy". I know my newborn is a bitter malcontent whose soul was forged in agony and hatred, and he already has a bald spot so every piece of clothing he has is satirical at best.'