Practical Fatherhood: Early Lessons, Volume II

Disposable for Sanity is OK!

We have grand plans to switch to cloth diapers (we have a drawer full of them!) but I am super happy with our decision to go disposable near the beginning for sanity.

Cloth diapers may be the more environmentally friendly way to go, they are also way more labour intensive. I am so happy we started with disposable to be easy on ourselves. In general, there's all kinds of places where you can spend money for ease, and in my opinion, if that option is open to you, I would encourage you to take it near the beginning. There’s already a million and one things happening, so be kind to yourself.

Physical Health is Important

Keep your own physical health in mind! This is a marathon not a race!

The first weeks one of the things I struggled with most was pain. My feet were killing me. The baby settled best when she was walked around, but this meant I was on my feet all the time. On hard floors, my flat feet were doing me no favours.

One of the best choices I made was to pull out my gym shoes and wear them whenever I was expecting to be on my feet.

Later we discovered that bouncing on a yoga ball was also an effective soother, but this came at the cost of back pain after a bit.

In hindsight, one of the best things I did last year was spent a lot of time at he gym working on my back, in particular my upper back.

Earplugs

Have earplugs you like.

Probably should have just shoved this in the last update under sleep, as you'll need them to make sure you can get enough sleep. Even if you know intellectually your partner is taking care of the baby, you baby screaming will definitely keep you up, or wake you up.

Practical Fatherhood: Early Lessons, Volume I

Man, there's so much you learn on the fly becoming a father. You can take classes, read, and plan, and in the end... there's so much more to it, so much you didn't anticipate, so much more you need to know.

You Don't Know What You're Going to Need

We had a list of things we knew we needed before the baby came. Went out, and got all those things, and thought we were prepared. Hoo-boy, were we wrong. Turns out, you don't know what you're going to need until you need it.

There's a whole shopping list of things we ended up buying after baby was born.

Accept it!

Bottles

If you're dealing with bottles, at all, save yourself water and energy: Go buy yourself a bottle warmer and a bottle sterilizer.

While you can do things using pots, burners, stoves, you quickly discover that it's an enormous use of water an energy. Using a pot for sterilization means boiling a few litres of water. Using a sterilizer; 100ml.

Nutrition

The first two weeks in particular, you're adapting to the crazy sleep schedule, you're adapting to the demands of a baby. It's so easy to get your nutrition wrong: don't.

We were really prepared for dinners: Andrea cooked a bunch of meals that we froze for eating. What we were unprepared for were snacks.

Make sure you have snacks you can eat in the middle of the night that have protein; don't just down a juicebox or a couple slices of bread.Making smoothies with protein powder, and pepperoni sticks turned into a lifesaver for me.

Sleep

So it turns out that it's really easy to not get enough sleep with a baby. I would highly, highly recommend that you track how much sleep you're getting.

You can see the crazy polyphasic sleep of parenthood here. This is week four, and so we’ve hit a bit of rhythm as you can see though.

You can see the crazy polyphasic sleep of parenthood here. This is week four, and so we’ve hit a bit of rhythm as you can see though.

I started tracking after two weeks, and it quickly became clear I wasn’t getting enough, and it was very likely neither was Andrea. Just seeing it made it possible to work on it.

I use Sleep Diary, a pretty no frills app that let’s me hit a button when I get into bed, and hit it again when I get out of bed. Good enough!