When it comes to figuring out the things you need when you have a baby, it’s pretty overwhelming to know what is actually needed versus what is just gimmicky and going to collect dust. And considering the cost of some items, you want to know whether you will get your moneys worth. So in this post I’ve put together a list of items related to sleeping and the bedroom, based on my experience, that were essential to our first year with our daughter. My main criteria for whether something is a necessity is if we got a good amount of use from the item, it made life easier and it was worth the price.
When prepping for baby to arrive, you want to make sure that you are well equipped to tackle any poo, pee, spit up and everything else that comes along with caring for baby. Because now, you have this little tiny human who can’t look after themselves, and need our help to do all the things that we as adults often take for granted. The challenge though is figuring out what you actually need, and what my wife and I found through this journey is that you don’t need a lot! We thought that this was the most important aspect of caring for baby, and that we would need a lot of things, but after a few weeks in, we realised that there were only a few real necessities.
When we were preparing for baby to arrive, my wife and I had no clue about what to buy. And to be honest, it was a little overwhelming. She was doing the research, I was doing the research, but we kept asking ourselves – do we actually need any of these things? Now at the time, because we were unsure we thought to ourselves ‘OK we’ll get these things anyway’, but now that we look back, half the stuff was either unused, or used a handful of times only, and even then there are alternative options for some things they try to sell you. And while all of our circumstances will be different, in many cases it will be better to wait until baby is here to purchase those few extras. So in the first of a series of posts, lets start with the essentials for transporting baby.
When you hear the term success, you may be thinking about work and careers, or about how much money a person makes. But success is more than work or what a person owns, we experience success and failure in our day to day lives, and these experiences influence our motivation, and our likelihood to keep doing something, or to just drop it. So in terms of parenting, understanding the psychology of success is important, because the successes we experience being parents, and how we interpret and deal with failure, will shape how we choose to parent ongoing into the future.
When baby first came into this world, I felt amazed, excited and in complete awe. But I also felt completely useless. Until the first nappy change came along, in which case I was like ‘yeah I learned how to do this, now’s my chance to shine to give mum a break’. And that was probably where it all started, feeling like I was never doing enough and needing to do more. Feeling guilty that I wasn’t helping care for my daughter enough, or feeling guilty that I wasn’t helping my wife enough. I was experiencing what is effectively known as ‘Dads Guilt’.
I have always struggled to get into regular exercise habits. I start up, get into a really good pattern for 3-4 months, and then something happens like falling sick or going on holiday, where I stop working out for 1-2 weeks. After this, it takes me a good few months to get back into a routine before the same cycle occurs again. In fact, once my wife fell pregnant, I again attempted to get into a good routine with the hopes it would continue once baby arrived. I even managed to break my old cycles and workout for a solid 6-7 months, 4 days a week for a little over an hour each morning. I also started to see some physical results of my training (as well as an increase in strength and stamina).
Becoming a dad is a life changing experience, but one of the hardest parts of this change is to know how to best support your partner. There is no doubt that for new mothers out there, it is a dramatic change for them to go through. Physically they have had to carry a baby and endure those body changes, they have had to give birth and endure the recovery post birth (whether it be a C-section or natural birth), and then for many they now become the primary carer looking after baby more days than not. And for the dad’s (or the non-primary caregiver), it’s trying to navigate your own experience and making sense of it all, trying to take care of this little human and then supporting your partner with the changes that they themselves are going through. This can be an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and lots of dad’s (myself included) find themselves asking how to be a supportive husband or spouse in the best way possible.
Someone you know is becoming a new dad, and you want to mourn for their old life and their old selves, because you know that having a baby really does change a person. But (depending on your circle of friends), that might be considered inappropriate, so you decide to find them a gift instead. Or, they’ve just recently had a baby and their birthday is coming up, but you know any cash or gift cards you throw their way will probably end up on the house or towards the child (and it’s the father’s birthday, not the baby’s!) So how do you pick something that’s more appropriate than the grave and tombstone you originally picked out, and will bring back a glimmer of life in this person you know?
Play time is crucial for a baby’s development as it allows them to explore the world around them in a fun way that encourages them to keep trying new things. It also allows them to make sense of the world, and begin to connect that their actions have an impact on people and objects in their environment. If you have read my article ‘How To Play With A Newborn‘, you will have read of some nice simple strategies that I had tried to help develop my bond with my daughter. But as they continue to grow, we inevitably get to a point where we want some toys to help us play with baby, and hopefully where baby is able to play on their own for a bit.
When my wife was pregnant, we attended some pregnancy classes together to learn about life after birth, and everything that is involved in looking after a baby. One of the things they talked about was playtime and bonding with your child and how important this was. It all made sense, and we could see how important it was, and they took us through some ideas on how to play, and how this helped with baby’s development. But you see, as I mentioned in my post ‘Expectations Vs Reality – What To Expect As A New Dad’ I had no experience playing with newborns, or even babies really. My experience was toddlers and above, so I really had no idea what play time was actually like for a newborn.