Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tips for Brand New Dads

Many thanks to my dear friend, Robbie, for this post!  

By Robbie Gennet

I have some friends that are brand new Dads and as I changed another poopy diaper today, I was thinking of a few things to pass along. Tips, advice, whatever you want to call it~ Dads have a unique skill set that involves a lot of duct tape and ingenuity but you can only MacGyver your way out of so many situations with a baby. So now that I have a scarce window during nap time, here are a few random tidbits for you Daddios ~ any of my fellow veteran Dads want to add their 2 cents, be my guest.

1. When you take off a poopy diaper, put it far off to the side. Babies suddenly kick their feet straight out and will kick right into that poop. Save yourself the cleanup ~ and use the diaper to scrape off as much poop as you can before you start with baby wipes. 

2. Besides bringing multiple changes of clothes for the baby outings, bring an extra shirt or two for yourself (maybe pants too). I have spent many public outings roped in spitup ~ always understandable but it’s nice to be able to freshen up.

3. Unless you live in a humid area, your fingertips will dry out and crack from all the hand washing and diaper changing and whatnot. Especially here in SoCal, a good salve is a must. I use the Trader Joe’s Head to Toe stuff ~ non-greasy, natural and effective. However, Aquaphor is pretty much king so always keep a large tube handy. Great for diaper/neck rashes too. Don’t forget to monitor the folds in their neck for formula and food leakage.

4. You will never get enough sleep ever again. You will soon know what it must feel like to be Keith Richards. You will hit a wall on your way to the next wall. Important to swap with the missus to let each other catch up once in a while. And by catching up, I mean back to Keith in 1967. Disheveled? Were you ever sheveled in the first place?

5. Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast. Have a selection depending on the jolt you need. And drink the good stuff ~ you will earn it, cup by cup. Coffee is the new cocaine (see: Keith 1975). Do NOT run out. Ever. Print up grocery lists that automatically include coffee at the top.

6. When you are preparing to take a diaper off of a 0-6 month old, you must be ready to replace it with a dry diaper, even temporarily until you secure disposal of the first. Think Indiana Jones with the bag of sand and the golden idol. Urine streams can really project ~ save yourself the cleanup! Getting peed on is for people who like Russian hookers. 

7. Babies get heavier as they grow. This will put exponential strain on your back, shoulders, arms, forearms, wrists and hands. As a piano player, it has at times really taken its toll. It’s not just the carrying (though that certainly wears you down). It’s more about the times they lurch left and you reach to grab them and there goes that lower back. Do strengthening exercises as much as you can. Remember your hamstrings are the secret support system for your back. Use the baby to exercise with doing gentle lifting and strengthening. Keep ice packs handy. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Move gracefully like tai chi. Be the ball, Danny.

8. Buy a million burp cloths. Maybe an extra half million for backup. Stack them in multiple places around the house, which is now a staging area for laundry, dishes and toys. Now go put the clothes from the dryer into the basket, put the clothes from the washer into the dryer and then fill and start the next load before you begin folding. This cycle will never end but now that you’ve given up on sleep, you have plenty of time for it!

9. Play classical and jazz around your child. If you were never a fan before, take this opportunity to expose yourself and your child to the music. I find Vivaldi and Bill Evans to be lovely bottle-feeding music. PM me and I would be more than happy to Dropbox you a nice little collection of jazz and children’s music or give you recommendations on great/easy/chill/cool records. And if you want to make your child musical, dance with them, pat the beat on their backs (great for burping) and move their hands and feet to the music. Draws them in nicely.

10. Parents always say “it goes so fast” and I can see how it can feel that way… BUT I feel that I have lived every day of my kids lives really connected and engaged and it feels like things have taken their sweet time and not leaped up on me. So stay engaged~ read, dance, talk, laugh, play ~ get off your phone and look them in the eyes and let them look you in the eyes and know how much you love them. Enjoy this time and remember it as vividly as you can a few years from now when he/she is in a tantrum and you are trying to restrain yourself from reverting to parenting styles of the 1600’s. 

11. You are going to take massive amounts of pictures and videos. Consider a system to label, store and backup these files. Start now! If you don’t, you will be trying to piece together an array of files and drives and will never feel you have it all together. Agree on a system with the missus as you will both be adding to it. Backup backup backup.

12. Nap times are like finding a wonderful little oasis in the desert. But the time will evaporate before you hear the cry from the crib and are back on diaper duty. Try to have a bit of a plan if you have things to do so the minute they are down for a nap, you can kick into gear. Sometimes, you will just be grateful to sit quietly on the couch with that fresh cup of coffee and daydream for a few minutes about what Keith Richards is doing right now… :)

Alright ~ any of my parental friends want to chime in with tips for new Dads? Mom’s perspectives are welcome too (whether we want them or not - am I right Dads? lol). 

Happy nap time ya’ll ~ xo!

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