So this past week I became a father. My wife Yiota and I are very excited by the addition of Kiki to our family. Its a feeling that you can only experience to fully understand and appreciate. I’m the kind of guy that didn’t quite understand those people that constantly talked about their kids or posted updates about their kids on Facebook! Well, I now have a better understanding and for new parents it’s unavoidable.
In preparation for the arrival of our girl, we basically followed the book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. These are great resources along with several other books that really helped my wife prepare for the big day. Of course friends and family help but ultimately as a parent you need to make your own decisions as to what works and what doesn’t. You’ll go nuts if you try and listen to everyone’s advice. Best thing to do is to stick with a few reliable sources.
My wife did not want to know the gender ahead of time. This decision tends to be controversial. Even at the hospital my mom was interrogating the doctor on whether or not they knew the baby’s gender! At first I was skeptical of going nine months without knowing but it was well worth the wait. Not only does it make the birth much more exciting, it prevents others from buying all sorts of clothes you don’t like nor want. If you do decide to wait until birth be sure to remember everyone’s gender guess. You will hear every myth and theory ever created like “oh, must be a boy because you’re carrying high” or “You’re glowing so it must be a boy.”. All these guesses will probably make the soon to be mom feel embarrassed because they tend to center around how big a certain body part has become or how good you don’t look. In our case most people guessed we were having a boy. Wrong! On the flip side, be prepared to hear from those who guessed correctly. They will repeatedly remind you that they “knew” all along. However, our koumbara’s swinging needle trick was correct in its prediction!
We recommend all expecting parents take some baby prep classes held at most hospitals. Classes such as how to breastfeed, diaper changing, CPR, etc. Some of these classes are free while others require a small fee. You will at the very least learn a few helpful tips and tricks. All you soon to be dads need to remember that no matter how hard you pay attention and practice wiping that doll’s butt you will still have a hard time changing a real baby’s diaper! Also, Lamaze is great if you have a smooth and short labor but those exercises go right out the window if things don’t go according to plan. Moms, planning on using an epidural or going au naturale? Note that intentions change real quick when labor gets difficult.
I believe mom’s are far more qualified and experienced to give baby advice. It’s been a week since Kiki has joined the family and I’m still trying to figure out how to swaddle her in a blanket. However, what I am good at is making sure all of Kiki’s electronics are in working order. The Elmo cell phone (don’t worry, it’s only a toy!) was a must have accessory. No way my kids cruising in the Graco without the latest and greatest gadget. In all seriousness, the baby monitor is the most important gadget and should be purchased within 30 days of the baby’s due date. This is so that you can either return or exchange the unit should it not work well. Luckily Baby’s-R-Us allowed me to exchange our Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature baby monitor after 45 days. It had the coolest industrial design but I highly advise NOT purchasing this product. The motion sensing pad is not very sensitive and consistently gave false alarms while the audio monitor “voice activated” feature could not be turned off. This meant that we couldn’t hear the babys low level whimpers and squeeks. I wanted a baby monitor that had “continuous audio”. So after reading online reviews I purchased the Angelcare Deluxe baby monitor.
This product also has a baby motion sensing pad that is very sensitive with the option to have continuous audio. I was paranoid before the baby, but now I’m super paranoid! If you are using a baby monitor be sure to keep the power cords as far from the crib as possible. Just the other day the news warned of the choking hazards associated with baby monitor cords. However, keeping the cords far away from the crib can be difficult due to power outlet and table locations. If the cords need to be close be sure to use some sort of cable management system. I used closely spaced zip ties and adhesive mounts purchased from the Home Depot (see photo) to keep the wiring out of sight and securely fastened.
Another handy gadget we received as a gift is the Itzbeen. It is basically a timer that allows you to keep track of how long “it’s been” since the last feeding, diaper change and nap. Very useful in the first couple of months of your baby’s life when it’s important to keep a record of these events. Just remember that even with this device you will still need a pen and paper.
Leave a comment below if you have any other helpful baby advice or product suggestions.