By Eric Harlan
Published: May 29, 2012
Updated: May 29, 2012 PrintEmail
I'm four months in, and still alive! That is I haven’t jumped off a building yet in an effort to just get some damn sleep! Not that I'm tired or anything….
This is a two part post cover the do’s and do not’s people gave us, how most of it was outdated and how we had to make our own way for a lot of things. I wanted give our own and why they are a much better idea.
Get as much sleep as you can now!
First and foremost, this is the single worst piece of advice you can possible get/give. I understand the basis for it, but the truth of the matter is that you want to start conditioning your body to have less sleep and waking up at awkward times. I'm big on sleep manipulation and I honestly should have saw this one coming (check out my post on fighting jet lag). This was the hardest part of the process for me, you see on a normal schedule, sometime between 2:01am and 6:59am I am utterly and completely useless to the world if I’ve already been asleep. DON’T SLEEP, Start NOT sleeping! Seriously.
Baby buggy bumpers
Gentlemen it is female human nature to start getting things ready well in advance of the baby, and this is totally legit. Go with it and let her start to prep things the way she wants to. However, I urge you STRONGLY to not get sucked into the big baby buggies/strollers. They are completely worthless at least for now. My suggestion is to get one of the super lightweight folding frames that you place the car seat directly on top of. Here’s why, until your child is 35lbs+ they will need to live in that car seat for all travel excursions. The small lightweight frames have the exact same amount of storage as the big ones and you really don’t get much more for the weight/size/money. In fact you will end up with the stroller in storage and the micro framed one in the back of your vehicle. Trust me, save some money and back pain just buy the seat and the light frame. At 35 pounds when it matters you can decide to get the larger one or just downsize to an umbrella stroller.
Embrace the poop
This one will be short and mostly for the gents. There will be pooh and there will be a lot of it. Sometimes it will shoot out like a stream. Step one, embrace the fact that you’ll need to be hands deep in it and move on. Second, NEVER and my God I mean EVER put your face in direct line of sight from that tail end and if you do you better hope you have Matrix like reflexes. I did and thankfully… I did. But I’ll never make that mistake again.
Don’t buy 0-3 months
Seriously, you will get more 0-3 month clothes, diapers, shoes, and bibs than you could ever have thought would fit in the little one’s closet. Get the basics for that first few weeks and let the baby shower cover the rest. You’ll probably want to start thinking about 6-12 months clothes and diapers instead. Also as a side note, ladies anything you can wash please be ok with getting them second hand. If you can wash it that’s fine but if it is clothing or the like there is nothing wrong with taking clothes from friends and tossing them in the wash.
Babies love to be swaddled
I usually don’t offer much product referrals but trust me Mom and Dad go get THIS BOOK (Happiest baby on the block). Both of you read it once you find out your expecting then read it again about 3 weeks before the due date. Make sure each of you are on the same page with how you want to cover the “5 S’s”. Babies go from a warm confined noisy environment to in most cases complete silence to sleep and some babies don’t take to it well. IF YOU VALUE YOUR OWN SLEEP, READ THIS BOOK. You can thank me later.
You will find out pretty much right away as you wade your way through the millions of products aimed at parents that retailers prey on pretty much ever emotion a parent feels from the moment they find out they’re expecting and forward. From fear, to nurturing, to “wanting the best for baby”. Remember to look past it and make sure it’s something you actually need. That said, there were a few things my wife and I chose to spend money on to make life easier. The first thing were two infant car seats and two car seat bases for the car. I would only advise this if you are both working parents. My wife and I split duties (giggity) for picking up and dropping off the little one from school it wasn’t practical to have just one car seat. The other thing we splurged on was a good breast pump, milk freezer bags and a 5.0 cubic foot freezer. If you choose to nurse instead of use formula (highly recommended) you’ll quickly figure out that, this stuff is GOLDEN. And if you store it properly it can be good for up to 6-12 months! If you are blessed with good milk production you will need a place to put it all. After both of our standard refrigerator freezers were completely full of milk and hardly any food we realized it was time to step it up. By the way, kind of gross but 5.0 cubic feet of milk is about 37.5 gallons. Think about that champ.
Buy a digital monitor but you won’t need a video one.
Diaper genies are really nice even though some jerk holds the patent for heat sealed bags and has yet to make the product. Best thing that anyone can give you for a gift is a gift card to BABY STORE NAME HERE
Those baby carriers are nonsense, complicated and babies for the most part hate them. Look into getting a “moby” (no not the bald head techno guy)
Find a bottle type and stick with it do not change. Personally we like Dr Browns with Level 1 nips (stay low levels if you’re nursing)
Invest in the smallest possible swaddlepods and a good “womb sound” cd use them in the first 3 months
Enroll in school now!
One thing my wife and I took very seriously was getting our little on into and actual “School”. When it came time for us to both go back to work. Now let’s be real here for a second; the only school an infant can really attend is simply just a high priced day care. That said they are all VERY different, both in how they handle certain situations, foods they give and how they give it and what they are teaching your kid all day. There is a big difference between watching your child and caring for them. Figure out what your budget is right away and start looking for a school/day care right away. You would be absolutely blown away at how far out in advance these things book up. They are bound by state laws in how many children they can have and those go very very quickly. Start looking now and put a hold on a spot right away.
Take all the time
At Microsoft we are given 4 weeks of paid leave as a father when a baby comes. However we are allowed to take up to 8 additional weeks unpaid per FLMA. I only took the 4 weeks paid and there were some good points to getting back to work but quite honestly, it was a mistake for me to not take an additional 4-8 weeks. Work can always wait, if you can afford to be away from it and in hind sight I wish I would have been able to spend more time with my wife and daughter without the worries of work in the back of my mind.
Pack light but still check
If you know me you know I HATE checking bags. Inevitably something gets lost or broken it honestly never fails. Having a baby you travel with makes not checking anything (when they are in infant) exponentially more difficult. I was still able to pack light but also took on some of the babies clothes in my check on. Well by the time I ran through how it was going to go down in my head it was at the point where I checked my bag anyway. You sort of put things in priority of importance if they don’t make it. So I had the insanely overly engineered stroller, a car seat, the base for the car seat and two carry sized bags with my wife, myself and the babies clothing in it. Well they will always lose your luggage so do you really want to be stuck at the airport with no car seat or base to put the seat on to get home? No, so you have to gate check the base and the car seat to make sure. Well there’s the little thing of making sure the baby is carried. So there you are lugging a car seat around and a baby. Next time, the base and seat are getting shipped.
Do No Evil, well maybe some.
I hope i don't get too much flak for this one but... Go to your local bulk store and buy a lot of paper plates and bowls as well as plastic utensils. Yes it is environmentally irresponsible-ish but will save you just mountains of time and worry about keeping dishes clean. I offset my wasteful concerns with the solace that we recycled all the products we used. Trust me it goes a long way when dishes aren't piling up in the sink.
I'm assuming this post will continuously be updated..for the next…..18 years.