So I’ve been a Daddy for 6 weeks as of 11:31 last night. I’ve learned quite a bit over that short period. Here’s a few things to remember when you start having kids.
Stay at the hospital as long as possible.
Seriously. We made the mistake of leaving in less than 24 hours. If we had stayed, we might have been able to sleep a little better that second night and had a chance to learn a few more things from the nurses.
Sleep is elusive.
For the first couple weeks, it’s pretty much non-existent. After that you sleep when you can, which is when the baby’s not awake… all 4 hours of it.
Newborns can’t smile.
Maybe I’m stupid, but I didn’t know that. Don’t expect your baby to smile at you when you tickle him or smile at him. Heck, don’t even expect him to look at you, since he can’t initially focus on anything.
For the Ladies: If you decide to formula feed, you are not a failure.
Everywhere you go, everyone says breastfeeding is best and formula is akin to poison. It’s simply not true so don’t believe it. We went through this. Sometimes, you can’t breastfeed, whether it’s because the baby won’t latch or because of supply issues, or any number of things. Maybe you just don’t want to try. That’s fine. It’s your decision and as long as your baby is getting fed and is healthy, you’ve made the right decision. Tell anyone who says differently to go suck an egg.
For the Guys: Help your wife as much as possible.
Especially in the first few weeks. Not only is she going to be in a lot of pain and need to recover from pushing that bundle of joy out her hoo-ha, she’ll be coming off the hormones of pregnancy for the next six weeks (or longer) and will be an emotional wreck. This is a chance for you to score a lot of points. Clean the house. Do the dishes. Take out the Trash. Give her lots of hugs and encouragement and love. Change the dirty diapers. She won’t be able to do a lot of this for a while. And be a man about it; do it without complaining or whining.
For the Ladies: No, there isn’t another baby in there.
Another thing I didn’t know right off: a woman’s belly takes time to shrink after giving birth. Some will look 6 months pregnant right after having the baby. This WILL go away. You just need to give yourself some time. Most of it will be gone within the first six weeks. Whatever is left might take some time and effort, but it will go away.
For the Guys: Change the Diaper… Even the stinky one.
Yes, they smell, but it’s rarely bad enough to invoke your gag-reflex. Just man-up and do it. Don’t leave it to your wife to do alone.
For the Ladies: You are not Superwoman.
Unless you can fly and wear a giant S on your spandex top, don’t expect miracles. You aren’t going to be able to clean the house much or go shopping much or do much of anything in the first few weeks. You just need to relax and let your body heal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your husband, family or friends.
For the Guys: Spend time with your child.
Don’t leave him to your wife to raise. Hold him when you can. Talk to him. Sing to him. Rock him. Kiss him. Blow raspberries on his belly, even though he can’t smile or laugh at it yet. Enjoy him while he’s this small, because tomorrow he’ll be bigger and you can’t go back to enjoy him at this size again.
Well, I’m off to change a dirty diaper. Until next time!