My husband has been transformed as a dad. OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic but I truly see a new side of him now that he’s a dad. He works with several people who are expecting and this is the email that he sent to them. What follows are his thoughts, not mine.
Hey guys, I was thinking of you this evening and thought I’d send a few things I’ve learned over the last 6 months…
Bath time: I have one of those bouncy seats that is perfect for covering with a garbage bag which is then covered with a towel. Quite often when you pull the baby out of the water they will pee. So go straight to the towel on the bouncy seat to be dried off and if they pee in the towel the garbage bag protects the bouncy seat. It’s easier to dry them off, too.
I’ve given 99% of the baths so far. Don’t be fooled by the baby bathtub. I’ve used our spa tub since day one and she LOVES it. The first 4 months are cake because they just float there and stare up at you with a big smile. I just put my hand behind her head and she just floats on her back while I bathe her. Interestingly, I’ve been lowering the level of the water as she’s gotten older and more squirmy. I started out with enough water so her butt just rested on the bottom lightly for added stability. We also use warmer water than I expected we would.
White noise: We’ve had a white noise machine since the beginning and it’s been awesome. You don’t have to worry about neighbors mowing lawns, garbage trucks slamming cans, sirens, etc. She sleeps really well with it and we get to have a good time while she does it – no tip-toeing around. We’ve even played Rock Band while she’s slept.
Video Monitor: It’s one of the greatest things we got. It’s very cool to be able to see if she’s sleeping or awake and stuff. It even shows perfectly in pitch black. If you have to go in to check up on them
they’ll be on to you and it’s over.
If you end up trying the white noise and monitor, if you put the white noise across the room and the monitor near the crib you’ll be able to hear any baby noises over the white noise.
You may be pretty wiped out getting things together before the baby arrives, but let me just tell you that you have no concept of what wiped out really is until after the baby arrives (assuming you don’t dump all responsibility on your wife!). So strive to get it all done before ;). But you’ll find the strength because it’s all so friggen cool. However, I will say that you don’t necessarily need the nursery all squared away really. We had ours all set and ended up not using it for the first 4 months. We have a pack-n-play that has a bassinet. We kept that next to the bed for the first few months, which was very convenient for Karen to feed through the night. 2-4 months we moved her further from our bed into our “sitting room” that’s off the master. So it gave her some space, but not inconvenient during the 2-3 feedings in the middle of the night. Then at 4 months she moved down the hall into her own room. We used the video monitor ALL the time since it can “see” in the dark.
Aside from all the health benefits, I would encourage your wife to breast feed as long as she can because it’s FAR easier throughout the night – just pull the baby in the bed for a bit, burp, change and return (and repeat often). Dealing with bottles is a pain and yields less sleep. However, I’d feed with the bottle here and there so they get used to it. At some point you’re going to want to drop the kid off at a relatives for some date time and you don’t want that to be an issue. And unless you’re sleeping in another room, don’t be fooled that you’ll get lots of sleep while your wife feeds the baby. When she’s up you’re up, too. We often would team it up – she’d feed and then I’d burp. Although my wife started shouldering a lot more once she recovered from the c-section (and subsequent infection) since she didn’t have to go to work. But whether you’re doing anything or not, you’re still up when they’re up – just resting more.
We also spent a lot of time looking up things on the iPhone in the middle of the night – looking for answers – why’s she crying uncontrollably, etc. So you might want to have an internet connection in the room :). Of course, people didn’t have that stuff when they lived in caves and likely did okay.
Take LOTS of pictures!
Those are the main things that stick out to me. Since my wife has stayed home so far I don’t have any info on daycare and such.
Hope at least one tidbit is useful.