Becoming a dad for the first time has been a great life experience, well so far anyway… It has also been a gigantic learning curve, not just Nick (our little boy), but also for my wife and I as new parents. I have comprised a list of the top 20 things I have learned since becoming a dad, hopefully you enjoy reading it, and if you have any of your own tips please share them in the comments section below.
1 – Babies Poo – A Lot!
People will tell you that babies poo a lot, but until you have one you can’t possibly understand just how frequent it seems to be. I’ve formulated my own opinion that breast milk must be super high in fibre or something, because I honestly didn’t expect him to go as often as he does. Fortunately Nick loves getting his nappy changed and so it makes change time that little bit more enjoyable for the both of us.
2 – Not to be outdone by the poop, but babies also throw up lots too.
Oh my god – you just haven’t lived until you have been covered in your wife’s regurgitated breast milk. Seriously, you look at how small a baby is and then you see the amount of spew all over the both of you and you can’t help but to take a minute to appreciate just how much milk a baby can hold. It’s not just the quantity either, Nick can get some serious distance when he wants to and often there is no warning that it’s about to make its way out. My general rule of thumb is to keep him away from the carpet after a feed – I just don’t want to have to clean it.
3 – If you have a boy prepare to get peed on.
I distinctly remember a midwife at the hospital telling us to be careful of little boys and their great aim when it comes to weeing on you. Funnily enough, about 2 seconds after she told us to be careful, Nick let his water cannon go and she got hit unexpectedly. She made quite a loud shocked noise, which my wife and I had a good laugh at.
It was a very well demonstrated lesson, the midwives at that hospital really go above and beyond so that you can understand what they are talking about. Anyway, despite witnessing this lesson first hand, both my wife and I have also fallen victim to our sons wild willy 🙁 The only positive I can draw from this, is that I have nearly perfected my single hand wee block whenever he decides he wants to keep me on my toes.
4 – Most non related young males won’t handle a baby.
It’s really interesting to see that most guys in their early twenties want nothing to do with holding a baby. I can relate, I used to be the exact same way. Fortunately babies become a lot less scarier when they are your own.
5 – Almost all women love babies.
Women just can’t get enough of our little man, I swear that he has some sort of magic pulling power over them. Talk about the ultimate chick magnet, even random women in the shops feel the need to come over and say g’day to the little tike. I even had an elderly couple come over and strike up conversation with me so they could get a peek at him. We had an interesting conversation about how they could tell I was a stand up member of society because I had a baby and I didn’t have tattoos. Frankly it was one of the most unusual conversations I have ever had, but that’s all part and parcel of having a baby.
6 – The car is a magical way of getting a baby to sleep.
I remember my parents telling me that the car does wonders at getting a baby to sleep. Turns out that they were spot on. Nick can be in the car for 2 minutes and then he is out like a light. Forget sitting up for hours nursing, just take a short drive round the block and the car will do all your work for you.
7 – Never wake a sleeping baby.
This should probably be at number 1. Make the most of your time when your bubba is asleep. If you are tired – go get some rest. If you are behind on your chores (how silly of me, you have a baby – of course you are behind on your chores!) then make the most of your time before your baby wakes up, because you know that when he does, you aren’t getting any work done.
8 – Babies wait until you have just started something before they begin to cry.
I can’t remember the last time my wife and I got to eat dinner together. It is like he has a little beacon in his brain, or perhaps it’s the smell of food… Regardless, he waits until the most inconvenient time to wake up and then starts to scream his lungs out. He’s a crafty little bugger.
9 – Getting ready to go out now takes at least 15-20 minutes longer than it used to.
For me anyway it takes about an extra 15 minutes to get going, although my wife has just reminded me that it takes her about 2 hours longer… Anyway, there is just so much stuff to get ready and nothing ever goes according to plan – particularly when you are in a hurry.
10 – Hair is the most amazing play thing and pulling it produces lots of great funny faces.
Nick likes to grab stuff now he is 3 months. One of his favourite things to grab is hair, he even grabbed his own hair once and couldn’t understand why it hurt so much… For me the most painful wasn’t the hair on my head, it was my underarm and chest hair that hurt the most. You have been warned…
11 – Don’t underestimate the value of burping your baby. If they get gas, well lets just say – good luck getting any sleep.
Oh god are babies gassy. They suck down the milk like it is going out of fashion and then suffer the consequences of painful gas a few hours later. After we realised that Nick was regularly getting gassy, my wife started to burp him a few times throughout his feeding time and it has drastically reduced his amount of gas. Consequently he is now a far happier baby 🙂
12 – Nothing will quieten down a baby like putting a boob in its mouth.
Our chubba bubba could be screaming to the point of going blue in the face, but the minute he gets on the boob he is happy as a clam. Being a guy I fully appreciate how good boobs are, but it’s like a magic trick how quickly it works. So I have deduced that no matter what the problem, it can be fixed by boob.
13 – Babies make the funniest faces.
Babies can make some of the most hilarious faces. At first you think they are just pulling faces because they think it’s funny, then you realise what’s going on. There is the “I’m trying to push something out into my pants” face, the “I’m hungry” face, and the unforgeable “I’m about to cry” face. Something else you will want to watch out for is the faces the adults pull when they are in front of a baby. Some of them can make some equally unusual faces, which I can only hope doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for the baby…
14 – Be prepared to grow gigantic forearms and biceps.
So babies don’t weigh much in the grand scheme of things, but after you have been carrying your little pumpkin around for a few hours, you won’t be thinking he is so light. I’m convinced that my biceps have grown at least 20% in size thanks to our little bub and his colossal weight gain.
15 – Become the master of doing things one handed.
No you dirty bugger, not that… I’m talking about being able to hold the baby while doing everyday things. Things like typing on your blog, making the bed or eating food etc. It becomes quite a juggling act and I found it quite difficult at first. Like all things, practice makes perfect and now you would think I have been handling a baby for most of my life.
16 – Family and Friends all want to see your baby within the first few days that he has been born.
I know most family and friends mean well when they want to see you and your baby, but seriously! Give a couple a bit of time to get used to the baby, he isn’t going anywhere.
17 – Prepare for all the advice in the world that you never asked for.
I can’t tell you how many people will give you unsolicited baby advice. It normally starts with – “When I had blah…” or “We were told…”. I have become so accustomed to unsolicited advice that whenever I hear someone say either of those two chestnuts, I mentally prepare myself for another dose of baby tip medicine. Obviously it is well meaning and I should be thankful, but inside of that outward facing smile, I am screaming at you to leave me alone – I don’t care how they did things 100 years ago!
18 – Babies love to be read to.
Our bub loves to be read to. Currently we are making our way though the Mr Men series of books, which he seems to be thoroughly enjoying. He just gets so chatty once the book is started and it is great to have big conversations with him. I find these books are the perfect length as there is just enough content for him to be happy with, without getting cranky.
19 – These videos are golden – waddle waddle waddle…
Nick could watch this first video on repeat forever, and if I am being honest – I have also become rather partial to it myself.
Have you got any grapes?
20 – Being a dad is one of the best experiences that you can have.
I’m super happy about being a dad. I couldn’t imagine not having the little guy in my life and I feel blessed to be able to share the experience with my wife. It really is something that changes you for the better.
And wouldn’t you know it, he has just woken up and is wanting attention 🙂