Things I Didn’t Know Before Becoming a Father

This is probably obvious to any veteran parents, but as a new Dad, these are the things I wasn’t totally prepared for that we’ve gone through. Our son Elliot is now approaching his third month, and every day seems to bring some new change in his routine or behavior.

  • No sleeping the first week. Add about a half hour of sleep per night each week on average.
  • You will have to spend literally hours holding your new born baby to stop them from crying and getting to sleep. Try to practicing holding a 10 lbs. bag of sand in a curled position for 30 minutes straight. My left arm is still not healed from the first few weeks after bringing him home. On the other hand, holding him is about the only workout I get these days.
  • You will develop techniques through trial and error to soothe your baby to sleep: the arm cradle squat swing, the hold upright bend at the knee bounce, the walk back and forth around the room humming made up nursery rhymes, the side to side while patting his back, etc…
  • The techniques that worked every time last week, doesn’t work this week
  • You can never have enough gadgets for calming and sleeping a baby. White noise machines, vibrating bouncy chairs, swaddling blankets, motorized swings, bassinets. Most don’t work. (To be fair, we’ve had most luck with the Cotinse white noise machine)
  • Your baby won’t smile or even interact with you until about 8 or 9 weeks, until then you might get a blank stare until he starts crying again.
  • Babies fart loudly, far louder than seems physically possible
  • So much laundry.
  • I enjoy reading Wikipedia articles to him. He laughs a lot at that. On the other hand, picture books don’t seem to interest him much yet.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema is a thing (caused by things from stress and or washing hands too much) now I know the joys of using hand cream
  • You know how you always see mother’s or a couple taking a baby in a stroller while shopping or doing some other activity. Yeah… uh, how do they do that?
  • Our baby eats almost every two hours from the start of the previous feeding like clockwork. The timer starts when you start feeding, on average feeding and burping him takes 30 minutes, changing diapers (one or more times), maybe changing his clothes too takes another 10, now you have to play with him (but he doesn’t like toys, doesn’t really like books), then he gets tired so you have to use your techniques and gadgets to help him fall asleep (see above). By the time his head hits the pillow (metaphorically) the 2 hours is nearly up, so you tip-toe out of the room to start the laundry that’s piled up or grab a bite to eat, while nervously looking at that clock knowing any second you might hear the cry that he is awake and hungry all over again.
  • At first our baby would cry when being picked up or held, but he would cry more when you laid him down. Now at least holding him is a sure fire way to get him to stop crying, but you still can’t put him down. Ever.
  • Good luck sitting down and watching Netflix (We just canceled our membership)
  • Good luck sitting down and eating warm food

But…

…after all, it’s all worth it!

Elliot Smiling