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Presentable #29: Becoming A Dad
Sharing out some advice I’ve learned after the first week with a newborn baby and a method I’ve used to help figure out how to relieve our crying baby boy.
This week I have one of the biggest updates to share.
I became a dad.
My wife gave birth to our beautiful baby boy, and since then, I’ve been figuring out how to continue being a good partner, friend, person, and now, father.
Everyone, from nurses, doctors, family, and friends, have all shared bits of advice that’s all slightly different from each other, and while it’s all helpful, I’m still learning. Learning what’s right for our baby, and what works for him.
If you take away only one thing from today’s issue, the entire process of becoming a parent is all about learning. It’s about figuring things out as you go, always asking questions, and recognizing when you need help.
It turns out you can’t “google” everything—even though we’ve been trying—but you can try educate yourself as much as possible, especially through trial and error.
My goal with today’s issue is to share my experiences with other expecting parents and provide some tips and tricks I’ve used during my first week as a dad.
10 Tips For First Time Dads During The First Week
Before going through the entire Labor and Delivery process with my partner, I felt super unprepared. I was scared, nervous, anxious, stressed; all the things.
Fast forward a week later, and boy, how things have changed.
I know quite a few people who are also expecting children soon and I wanted to share what I’ve learned from my experience so far:
Accept that you’re going to fail, and understand failure is part of learning. Getting frustrated doesn’t help, especially when everyone is tired and cranky.
Communicate with your partner. Ask how you can help. Ask if there’s anything they need. Ask about their pain levels and if you need to bring anything to the nurses or doctors attention. Be their advocate and liaison throughout the process.
Learn how to swaddle. My first 20 attempts were terrible. I’m still not the best in the world, but after observing and asking questions while the nurses would swaddle him at the hospital, I’ve been able to figure it out. Practice, practice, practice.
Never complain. As a man, I’ll never go through the pains or process of pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum, or any other steps. Giving my partner all my attention and support was the most important thing I could do throughout. Try focusing on the positives of the experiences and share those instead of the negative ones.
Put your partner first. Ask your partner if they’re hungry or need a drink of water. Make sure they’re staying hydrated. Make sure they’re attended to before yourself. Help them get comfortable, grab extra pillows, a fan, anything that would ease their mind as much as possible.
Participate in the experience. I never thought I’d be more amazed or intrigued as to how the body naturally prepares itself for delivery. I made a mistake after delivery of not giving my full attention to my partner and newborn, but tried to fix it right away. Pay attention, put your phone away, and embrace the moment.
Take all the extra help you can get. We stayed an additional night at the hospital so we could have the nurses watch our baby while we slept. They helped change diapers, swaddled our baby, and assisted with breast feeding. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of women who helped us throughout our entire stay.
Bring tons of snacks. Our hospital’s Labor and Delivery area didn’t have any extra refrigerator space and I had to toss a lot of food. I wish I would’ve known this ahead of time and recommend checking with your hospital before packing a bunch of meals.
Take a nap. The entire process is lengthy, and there are lots of moments that wake you up, whether it’s a nurse checking in, a doctor stopping by, or just making sure your partner is okay. I tried my best to squeeze in naps during the moments when another support person was in the room.
Be involved and stay involved. There are never any dumb questions. Ask away. And if you follow anything else above, you’ll be involved no matter what.
How I’ve Dealt With A Crying Baby Boy
I’ve been using my own A-B-C process (always be checking) to run through a short list of things that can cause our baby to be fussy.
Diaper — does he need a diaper changed because of pee or poop?
I learned how to change a diaper (again) after not changing one for over 20 years. With baby boys who are circumcised, you have to gently apply a layer of gauze with vaseline lathered all around and form a tent before placing the diaper back over them.
Hunger — does he need to eat or is showing signs of wanting to?
I learned about four different ways babies express this: Rapid eye movement while sleeping, opening their mouth and sticking their tongue out, wiggling their arms or legs loose out of a swaddle, and lastly, screaming or crying.
Sleep — does he need to take a nap or is showing signs of wanting to?
I learned you can tell if a baby is ready for a nap by gently pull on their arm while breast feeding to see if there’s any tension. If there is, they’re probably still hungry and will continue to eat. If not, they're ready to be detached and swaddled for a nap on their back. Our baby prefers to be swaddled before falling asleep.
Gas — does he need to be burped?
I learned that all babies are different, and if all else fails (diaper, hunger, or sleep), then it’s usually gas that needs to be let out. It took us a bit to figure this out as breast feeding babies are usually not as gassy as formula fed ones.
If all else fails while trying to do all the above, our doctor recommended giving him a small amount of formula, which worked like a charm, especially when going through the “cluster” feeding phase.
Thank you for reading
I hope you enjoyed today’s issue. If you’re expecting a baby in the future or know of anyone who‘s going to be a first time dad, I’d love if you shared this with them.
Have a great weekend and expect more style and menswear content next week!
P.S. Thank you to my wife for doing an amazing job throughout the entire process. I love you and I’m lucky to have you and our son.
P.P.S. Thank you to all the friends and family who subscribe to this newsletter who reached out and shared their congratulations. I appreciate you!
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