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New Dad Advice


RobDeer 45

My wife and I have our first child due in late May and we've started to dive in to everything we need for the little one. There is so much information out there on what you need, what you don't, so I just want to open this thread up to some of you experts who have gone through this stuff. This is where I go for the rest of my info, so why not fatherhood tips! Anything I should be looking at or should not get suckered in to, let me know!

 

One question I have right away, as I'm doing research, does anybody have any suggestions on video monitors? Anyone have any issues with Motorolla ones?

 

Thanks for any help you may have!

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My daughter is 8, so video monitors weren't really around for us. Thank God, one less thing to obsess about. . .

 

This book was one of the things that was very helpful to us during the first several months of parenting:

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Basics-A---Z/dp/0060535482/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358197203&sr=8-1&keywords=the+new+basics+michel+cohen

 

There are some critical reviews on it at Amazon, and undoubtedly those reviewers are genuine in their criticism, I'm also genuine in my praise. I really liked it and used it as a resource during times of stress early on.

 

The one bit of advice I would give you is to find a pediatrician now, find out what schedule they like to follow for well-baby care, immunizations, etc. It's better to be prepared ahead of time than to have to scramble once you have an infant in tow.

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I have two....one almost 2.5 and one 7 months. So I know what you're going through. We do have a video monitor at home, it's nice. It was really only necessary for the video portion when the kids are old enough to stand/situp, just to kinda see what they're doing when they're crying, if we needed to go in there or not, that sort of thing. I'm at work but I can certainly write more on this later...have some time.

 

Or if you have a list of questions/concerns, you can PM me too certainly.

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Right there with you! I will be a new dad in anywhere from 1 day to two weeks! Got the motorola video monitor at target with baby shower gift cards and the set up was easy. The picture looks good and seems to pick up sound well. I am not sure how it actually works in practice though!

 

We had a lot of people recommend Baby Wise and they swear by the book. My wife read it and she took a lot from it.

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I have a daughter that is just turning 2. My advice would be to practice a little sleep deprivation (That is unless your wife is going to do all of that). It was incredibly difficult for me not to get all mad when she started crying at 2 AM. Eventually you get used to it but those first couple of months are a major adjustment. FYI my kid still isn't sleeping and things have progressively gotten worse; we are lucky is she sleeps 2 hours at a time. Still not quite sure where we went wrong but man did we ever. We had difficulty letting her cry it out and she simply never could settle down from crying unless we were holding her.

 

Also make sure you have your car seat in there good and early; I would even take it to the fire department and they will put it in there free of charge. Might need an appointment though.

 

Overall fatherhood is a joy despite the lack of sleep and poopy diapers.

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Hey guys thanks for all the great advice so far, really appreciate it!

 

Fondy - I will deffinitley take the car seat in! Thanks. I'm already getting nervous about the sleep, but I'm hoping I can figure it out!

 

brwrsfan - I may take you up on that either on here or PM. I'm sure more questions will come up over the coming months.

 

Anyone have any "must haves" that make life easier? Things you couldn't live without?

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My advice is to give your wife as much rest as possible for at least the first week after the birth, she will need it.

 

Try to enjoy it as much as possible, IMO it's the most wonderful thing in the world. For me it seemed very hard at first, but it keeps getting better and better the older they get. My daughters are now almost 2 and 4, and it really has gone by fast.

 

If your child will be going to daycare, figure it out now. Make sure you find a person or place that you really love, and that they plan on doing it for a long time. Also, check the references on anyone that you pick. We've had a lot of issues w/ daycare. If you're in the Madison area, I have a few recommendations.

 

My daughters loved the video Baby Mozart by Baby Einstein as infants, we didn't put it on a lot, but it helped when we were trying to get ready, or get a little break.

 

Congrats, and best of luck to you and your wife. Feel free to also PM me about any question.

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Congratulations! It is going to be the hardest job you will ever have, but also the best job you will ever have.

 

Regarding the car seat, if you have someone else put it in the first time make sure you pay attention to how it is done, and also keep the owner's manual handy. You'll have to be able to move it to different vehicles and the first couple times it can be tricky (but after you have done it a few times it is pretty easy). Also, don't buy a used car seat. Once they are in an accident they are garbage and there is no way of knowing what a used one has been through.

 

Two things that made our lives so much easier right after the birth was having one of those special tiny bath tubs just for babies, and having 'sleep sacks' for pajamas. Those are the ones that zip all the way up but instead of having separate legs the bottom is just one big piece of material. Makes it so much easier to change a diaper in the middle of the night not having to stuff the little feet and legs back into the feet and legs of the pjs.

 

One other piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask for help, especially during the first month. We kind of wanted to prove to others and ourselves that we could do it on our own and didn't really take any time for ourselves, which I'm sure made that first month harder than it had to be.

 

Selfishly, I'd like to thank you for starting this thread. Our son was born seven years ago and we thought we weren't going to be able to have any more children. On this past Halloween we had the shock of a lifetime, finding out that we are pregnant and are due in July. Reading through this thread has helped me think through all the things we need to be thinking about too, since it has been a few years and we never thought we would have to think about this stuff again :)

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Random thoughts...

 

1) Start saving immediately for college. A 529 plan is a no-brainer, you can save $3,000 each year free of state taxes, and earnings are exempt from state AND federal taxes. If you're in Wisc, google Edvest for more info. The more you put aside from day one will make a huge difference 18 years from now.

 

2) Controversial, but I would recommend holding them back a year in school- espeically a boy. We did NOT do this, but looking back wish I had with my son. Everything turned out great, but he was one of the youngest in his class. Makes a difference in maturity, sports, etc. when your child is a year and half younger than most other students. I don't agree with this, but it has become the norm so it's hard to fight it.

 

3) Difference between being involved and controlling. I can't tell you how many kids I know that started college and were completely lost. Why? Because Mom manageed every aspect of their life. So these bright students went off to school and failed miserable. Just a precautionary tale.

 

4) On a related note, you are their PARENT not their FRIEND. Have made that mistake myself, and it's really hard to be authoritive that way.

 

Lots more, but have to run for now. I realize these are "bigger picture" type of advice, but frankly the baby part is easy. Feed nap poop repeat.

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Congratulations. I agree it isn't always easy but it is definitely rewarding. Our twins will be 2 next month and it is hard to believe that only 2 years ago they were 4 lb babies that only wanted to sleep and eat. And now they are walking all around the house pointing out everything and telling us what it is or asking 'what's this?'

 

One thing we found that we really liked are pacifiers that are attached to small stuffed animals. Our son had a frog and our daughter a duck but I think there are a few other options too. The weight of the stuffed animal keep the pacifier close by by staying on their chests as they slept on their backs. And it didn't fall far when it fell off so once they kids were able to find them on their own it cut down the crying in the middle of the night.

 

And I second comments on giving your wife as much rest as possible early on and not being afraid to ask for help from others.

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I'll second FVBrewersFan's 1st comment in regards to a 529 plan. Take full advantage of the $3,000 WI tax benefit if you can. My son is a Freshmen in HS and we started saving when he was 1 (or 2?). Even though there have been a few tough years in the market he is still in very good shape in regards to college finances. I would also recommend signing up for a Upromise account (upromise.com). That program gives you cash back towards your child's education for money you spend on different items including gas. You can also get grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc to link to your child's upromise account and accumulate funds from purchases that they make.

 

However, sorry FVBrewerFan, I can't agree with your 2nd comment. It seems that parents mainly do this for sports purposes and to me that's not a good enough reason. A year and a half behind most other kids is a bit of an overstatement. My son was born in April. He's younger than many others that were born in maybe Sept, Oct, or Nov, but only by about 6 months. If your son is a year and a half behind most others then it's because you entered into school a year sooner than what the standard entry age was. I also think this possibly a regional trend in some areas. I hear it's very common the Green Bay area, but I don't see it hardly where we live in Waukesha.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

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While we are on the advice topice; if anyone has any suggestions for getting a 2 year old to sleep in her bed and not wake up crying every hour that would be appreciated. My daughter does not self sooth and always eventually works herself into a frenzy if we let her cry it out. Kinda sucks. No idea why she is waking up at all.
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Read this book by their 2nd birthday. It's easy toilet/airplane reading, and most people have no idea how to deal with problem behavior (though they think they do).

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child-Clinically-Six-Year-Olds/dp/0071383018/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358294347&sr=1-3&keywords=parenting+the+strong+willed+child

 

Fondy, the book that probably has the best empirical support is for treatment of bedtime problems is: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Night-Sweet-Dreams-Love/dp/1889322652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358294194&sr=1-1&keywords=pat+friman%2C+go+to

 

Also, because everyone has trouble with toilet training: http://www.amazon.com/Toilet-Training-Less-Than-Day/dp/0671693808/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358294446&sr=1-1&keywords=toilet+training+in+less+than+a+day

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Thanks again guys for the congrats and congrats to you JJfanec, keep us posted on when the new one comes.

 

A lot of great advice on here, I really appreciate it. I'm not in WI at this point (some day!) but am familiar with 529 plans and we plan on saving right away.

 

Fondybrewfan - my brother and his wife are going through the same thing, only for 7 months, but their daughter just won't sleep for more than 2 hours. Hopefully that changes soon for them! That has to be a lot of work for you, hang in there!

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Thanks for the tips; I wll run those by my wife to see what she thinks.

 

Amazingly the same girl who refuses to sleep is almost completely potty trained at a little less than 2 years old. She hasn't had an accident in 2 weeks. The only remaining hurdle is taking off the diaper for bedtime. That part I have been very happy with.

 

We are going to move her to a big girl bed shortly; we hope that might help a little bit. She won't be "locked" up in her crib anymore.

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I have two kids: 12 and 9. Here are some random pieces of advice that haven't been covered yet:

 

1.) Help your wife as much as possible. My wife and I took turns getting up in the middle of the night. We took turns with baths, diaper changes, feeding, etc. Your wife will love you for it.

 

2.) One of the best purchases we made was a glider rocker. It was placed right in the nursery. After late night feedings, the rocking motion really helped my kids fall back asleep.

 

3.) In the months leading up to your baby's birth, buy a box of diapers with every paycheck you get. Buy different sizes each time. Diapers are expensive. If you start buying now, the financial hit won't seem that big.

 

4.) Don't tell anyone what you plan on naming your baby until the birth certificate is signed. Inevitably, a relative will say, "You can't name your baby _____, my ex-boyfriend was named ____." etc.

 

5.) Raising a baby is a lot of trial and error. It will take time to figure out the best methods for bedtime, diaper changes, etc.

 

6.) A diaper genie is a must. An absolute must.

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My wife and I have a set of "Irish" twins (my youngest son is 11 months, and his older brother is 15 months his senior). I haven't really had a good nights sleep in over two years.

 

I would definitely echo the 529 plan sentiments. Our sons go to daycare twice a week, so I take advantage of my employer's Dependent Care FSA plan (although the maximum contribution limit set by the IRS of $2,500 per child is insanely outdated - our costs this past year was $11,000, again with just two kids going two days per week). Rather than use that money towards reimbursing daycare expenses, I use that money to fund their 529's. Since the state gives you tax breaks on those plans up to $3,000 per child per year, it only feels like I have to come up with an extra grand to fully fund those. I then just pay the tuition monthly, and rack up crazy rewards points on my credit card. The daycare expenses are a bitter pill to swallow until they get older and the rate decreases, and eventually they'll be in school. I often catch myself fantasizing about what I'll do with the extra money in a few years, until my wife starts hinting about future family expansion plans around that time. Personally, that seems like being a prisoner two weeks away from release who then kills a guard.

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There are thousands of tidbits of advice.

 

My main one is to cherish every second your with them. They grow old/bigger so fast that you don't realize it. I remember being able to carry my daughters in my arm like a football.

 

This. Absolutely 1000%. To be honest,my son wasnt planned,and I had a hard time getting into the pregnancy mostly due to my immaturity and thinking I didnt want kids. He is now almost 2.5 years old and is an amazing little boy. It seems like so long ago he was super tiny and just slept and pooped all day. Now he is very active,has a personality of his own,LOVES the Brewers and is growing more and more every day. It definitely goes by way too quick. On the carseat thing,I would check with the hospital at which you are planning on having the delivery at. Alot of hospitals with L&D departments offer free carseat events (they sometimes even will give you a carseat for free for taking the class) and they sometimes have "daddy boot camps" which new dads come in with their babies and help teach things like feeding,diaper changing,etc to soon to be dads. Another resource for carseats is www.safekids.org. they have a listing by area of free carseat checkup events. My department just put me through this training (car seat technician) a couple months ago and there is tons of information that can be useful for new parents.

Formerly AirShuttle6104
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I've got a nearly 4 year old and 14 month old. Both girls. Having daughters, I've already had to have more than my share of playing Barbies, wearing tiaras, pink, and GLITTER! So there's that, if your baby is a girl. I'll add to the chorus of being there for momma. The childbearing/childbirth process is a whole lot. Plus, if she's nursing, that's a whole other story. For our first, our daughter didn't want to nurse, so I would take most of the overnight feedings. With our second, she only nursed, so I had to find other things to do to help and care for her. Take lots of pictures, enjoy, and it's an absolute blur. I look back and wonder how it happened that my first is already nearly 4! As your child grows, set boundaries and stick to them. That's been tough for us lately, as our oldest fights cleaning up, going to bed, anything. And of course, being a girl, plenty of tears are involved! But, in the long run, being mean and telling them no is NOT being mean. It's being a responsible parent. Enjoy it!!
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Absolutely echo the cherish each moment thing, take lots of pictures, and try to remember to record little milestones. My youngest is 8 months, he has been a really easy baby. My tips from experience through the years...

 

1. Don't ever let your wife learn about the store Gymboree. Every time they release their new season's clothes, I have to donate another organ.

 

2. Ask for help. If the grandparents are close, let them help. They will have advice, they will tell you that you are doing things wrong, they will probably overstay their welcome; but they allow you to sleep, or run to the store by yourself, or use the bathroom alone. These are all things you will learn to cherish.

 

3. For a few months down the road, buy a Baby Bullet and make your own baby food. It's much cheaper, you control what your baby eats, and it's beyond easy. It was the best thing anyone bought us.

 

4. A tip that seems self explanatory, but due to a recent friend of the family not knowing, I will share. If your wife is going to breast feed, everything she eats will be passed along to the baby. The unknowing young mother in question was eating salsa, horseradish, and spicy foods; and then couldn't figure out why the baby was so miserable.

 

5. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

 

6. Enjoy it. It's awesome.

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Enjoy it. It's awesome.

 

My child (20 months) has been going through a phase where 4:15 is a totally acceptable time for her to wake up for the day. This is not awesome.

 

Yes, but someday, she will be 14. Need I say more? I am so far from looking forward to those days with my girls.

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A lesson we learned was to check out your hospials new born "schedule". Our first child was born at Community Memorial, and at night my wife sent me home as she was exhausted. The nurses there did not keep the baby in the nursery for my wife to sleep. They insisted the baby be in the room and of course she would not sleep. It is protcol at Community Memorial for the baby to be with the mother pretty much at all times. They indicated to this is what it will be like when she's home. I understanded it to a point, but my wife had no chance to rest.

 

Our second child was at St. Mary's in Mequon. The nurses understood fully of the mothers recovery time, and took the baby whenever my wife wanted.

 

Also, something you may not read in a book. When my kids woke up anytime during the night, and I took care of them I would always urinate before I went back to bed. Well, after 2 kids and many nights of getting up with them I found that when they did sleep through the night I still had to go to the bathroom. It took a good 6 months to get back where I didn't have to get up anymore.

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Congrats!! I am a proud father of a 6 month old boy. Needless to say, but he is the greatest joy in my life! I'm very happy for you to be able to experience the same happiness. Here's a few of my tips, but the main one is to remember your child is Innocent! He/She is not doing anything wrong as they are just learning how to get through the day. If you're tired, angry, irritable...DO NOT take it out on the baby for crying too much or keeping you from a task that you've been wanting to get done (or watching a Brewer/Bucks/Packers game)

 

This was the hardest thing for me to learn. It took me about 1 month to click, and once it did, the bond that I was able to create with my son grew epically. Basically, I had to come to the realization that I was battling "Time". More specifically, my time versus baby time. I was trying to do everything I could for my wife, the upkeep of the home, working my job, being a great father but also trying to find time for ME. Trying to find time for ME was still very important to me as I thought that I could still have the life I led prior to the birth of my son. THE PROBLEM with that theory however was that whenever I tried to do something for "me" or "my time", I would get interrupted by my son and his needs. I would get more and more frustrated with this and it definitely affected many areas of m life. This affected my happiness to being a father as well as my relationship with my wife as it created more irritability on my part which my wife of course picked up on. Once she saw my irritability, she became more irritable as well.

 

But then it happened. An Epiphany. I realized that "my time" no longer existed and will not exist for many years. "My time" was now "Baby Time and Fatherhood". There's always going to be a time or challange that will require your attention as a father. But here's the thing...once I realized this, I wasn't upset with that reality. I was immediately focused on my son and because of it, it has allowed me to be a better father and a more relaxed and open father during crisis'.

 

So there you go. Try your hardest to allow yourself to come to terms that "your time" is now "baby time" as your baby's life is now priority 1 for you. Don't get me wrong... I still find time for myself, but if I have to attend to my son, I no longer get frustrated...I get excited!

 

Other tips...

1) Swaddle! Get the SwaddleMe brand from Target. This product alone has allowed my wife and I to sleep throughout the night as it pretty much restrained our son from his herky jerky movements at night which would wake him up...resulting in waking us up.

2) Take many videos and pics! it's fun to go back and track your child's growth and experiences.

3) Try not to purchase new clothes. Go to yard sales, and seek friends who have kids who are looking to get rid of clothes. Newborns and infants grow through sizes like no other and getting second hand clothes will save you a lot of money.

4) Gas Drops: This really helps if your child is constipated. You'll know if they are constipated when his/her stomach gets really hard, hasn't pooped in a while, and crys in pain.

5) As others have suggested...accept the help given/offered to you from family and friends. If your family asks to watch your child for 4 hours so that you and your wife can get 4 hours of non-stop sleep....DO IT AND DON'T ASK QUESTIONS! If people want to cook you dinner, accept it! Sleep though is key. Ask friends, neighbors and family to come over and watch your child for a few hours. They will come running to do so and you'll benefit from the sleep!

 

My son is 6 months and I love him more and more every minute! Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Best of luck RobDeer and others!

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