Since I am mostly sleep deprived, I thought I would write up some notes.
Things to Do Before Baby:
· Master the 5 S's. Be the best swaddler. Ever.
· Learn the Colic Hold.
· Learn how to clean up after yourself and your wife without resentment.
· Ask and make a list of chores that are important to the mom. Learn how to do them, if you don't already know how.
· Stock up on detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap...zombie apocalypse style.
· Prep and individually freeze meals. Slow foods/crock pot dishes are easy and freeze well.
· Sleep. Get as much sleep as humanly possible.
· Install car seats. Fire departments are the easiest choice.
· Treat every night like it's date night.
· Have a pediatrician already picked out and know where it’s at.
· Don't buy too much newborn clothes. (2-3 sleepers, 1-2 packs of newborn long sleeve and short sleeve onesies and 1-2 swaddle sack.)
· Pick one of your vices (fantasy football, working out, happy hour with the guys) and slowly fade out the rest. You won't have time for them anymore. Be cool with that.
Products that Helped:
· Twilight Turtle: $~30
· Nosefrida: $~15
· Happiest Baby on the Block DVD ($20 or free at library/YouTube)
· Different types of pacifiers and bottles/nipples (2-3 each)
· Swaddle Sack/Sleep Sack
· Baby Log app or similar baby tracking app ($~3-5)
· White noise machine or app (apps are free)
· Baby caddy - stocked with burp clothes, snacks, remotes…
· Fleece car seat cover – make sure the car seat and cover are compatible
· Small amounts of different baby wipes - skin irritation can vary
· Humidifier - don't need "warm mist" setting
Tips For After Baby Arrives - Immediately:
· You need to schedule the visitors. Adopt a no drop in policy. No visit is ever "just 5 minutes."
· Limit the amount of people that touch your newborn baby.
· Post a sign that asks all visitors to wash their hands before touching the baby.
· Refer to the chores on the aforementioned list when someone asks, “What can I do to help?” Abuse this sympathy. It will NOT last.
· Have the mom's back. It would be unwise to side with others when they get to leave and you have to stay. (Unless you think the mother is doing something seriously egregious.)
Tips For After Baby Arrives - Dogs:
· If you don’t want the dog in the baby’s room, you need to condition that as soon as possible.
· Bring home an item with the baby’s scent in advance and let them smell it.
· Bring the baby into a dogless home and then bring in the dogs.
· Make sure to spend some time with them or they’ll act up for attention.
Tips For After Baby Arrives – After the Rush:
· Understand that the mom will not bounce back to her pre-baby body immediately. Don’t comment about it unless it’s praise.
· Be home more. Not just paternity leave, but coming home right after work will make the mom’s life a lot easier…and yours too.
· Start a bedtime routine/schedule early and stick to it.
· Reassure the mom that the baby is okay.
· Man up and do the chores on the aforementioned list. Do them regularly, do them well, without being asked and without the need for praise.
· Set aside solo baby time so you can bond with the baby and the mom can get some downtime.
· Be patient and positive but know that you and the mom WILL fight at some point...whether due to sleep deprivation, miscommunication, raging hormones and/or resentment (mom's loss of autonomy).
· Sleep deprivation can cause you to do seriously stupid stuff. Sleep when you can and try not to be too critical of yourself and the mom. (The advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” only works if you choose to lead a life of zero-productivity.)
· You both don't have to do everything together. When one bathes the baby, the other can eat dinner.
· Understand that a lot will change at 3-4 months.
· Laugh and bond with the mom when you can.
· You will learn your baby soon enough…everyone has a different answers and most contradict each other anyways.