Whether this is your first child, or not your first time to this rodeo here are a couple of tips I wanted to share from my recent experiences as the dad of a newborn baby. These tips may ring especially true if you are like me and forgot almost everything in the years since another baby arrived, so hopefully this helps you guys out!
1. Sleep is for amateurs – it’s true, no getting around it. You will not be sleeping well for the first few weeks (or months) after the newborn comes home. The a 2.5 – 3 hour feeding schedule which will wreck you and coffee can not save you in the morning. But, keep in mind that it gets better pretty quick and that your newborn baby’s appetite will grow and the amount between feedings will increase until it turns into an as-need basis. So, do not despair on in the timeless dark of the night (or is it morning?) as it felt like you JUST fell asleep and are up again, as this will pass soon.
As an afterthought I often mused this would prepared me for the zombie apocalypse, especially if my children are anything like Carl.
2. Always have a diaper under the tush – I learned this one the hard way, at 3:30am. Imagine waking, bleary-eyed and quasi-awake when the LO (little one) starts chirping, signaling the beginning of feeding time. But first the diaper must be changed and its poop of course. Wipe, clean, all set.. or so I thought. I don’t know which came out in greater force or quantity, but my ill-preparedness made quite the mess. Did I mention this took place in my bed? At 3:30am? With a baby crying to be fed? Yeah, make this a priority whenever changing a newborn and never take for granted that they won’t pee or poop on you and whatever surface they are laying on.
3. Be prepared for anything at anytime – The old Boy Scout motto rings true here. Running to Dunkin’ Donuts for that mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Bring it all. Another hard lessoned learned as I brought a half-loaded diaper bag to grab a coffee a few minutes down the road. Sure I had diapers, but how about wipes or an extra change of clothes? Nope. By the time I arrived to claim my afternoon jolt of caffeine the baby had pooped, peed and spit out most of the last feeding. I felt terrible and could not let the baby sit in her own mess, so had to take everything off, put the baby with only a diaper in the car seat, and wound up trashing the outfit. Didn’t even make it to DD’s.
4. Nothing very good or very bad lasts for very long – This is my wife’s mantra, and is a good thing to keep in your pocket for the rough times. Fever, incessant crying that you just can’t stop, trips to the doctor or hospital, are just a few of the many things that may come up during this stage, or at any stage as a parent and keeping in mind that it will get better may be the light that pulls you through.
5. Take photos – I have this one in spades. Things change fast with a newborn, and it is easy to let the days slip by without capturing the precious moments that you will never experience again with this child. Believe me, it all becomes a blur very shortly after this stage and your mind goes into some kind of protection mode where it blocks the pain out (until the next one), so its a good thing you recorded all those memories as they happened. Right?