Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dear Daddies of newborns...

(This may or may not also be a brag-about-my-husband post)

Ok Dads, let's huddle up for a minute and talk about this.

In the first few days that we came home from the hospital, I think it's safe to say that we had no concept of how to be prepared for a newborn.  In all reality, I don't think you can be, you just roll with the punches.  I think JP really struggled with the fact that he did not have a big part to play.  Every man envisions being best buddies with their little know, hunting, fishing, throwing a football, playing catch.  But these are all things that take quite a few years to develop.  Especially in the first year of life, the burden is almost all on Mama.

Let's set some expectations here.

First of all, know that there is a limited amount you can contribute.  Unless baby is exclusively formula-fed, only Mama can satisfy those frequent hunger cries.

Second, baby has been hearing Mom's heartbeat and voice constantly for almost 10 months.  Baby recognizes Mom more than he recognizes you.  Sorry...that's just the way it is.  I know JP was frustrated at first because it took him much longer than it took me to calm Henry down when he was fussy.

Lastly, you will drop the ball...fumble the ball...or royally screw up and throw a pick six.  (Note to self: don't unplug the deep freezer with all of the pumped breast milk...not that that happened to us or anything, just saying...)  Keep your head much as Mom may scream at you for doing it wrong, deep down, she loves you in a completely new way for bring her a little bundle of joy.

To sum this all up:

Expect to feel completely replaceable.

Here's the thing, though....

Only you are Daddy, and you are NOT replaceable.  You will forever hold a special part of your little one's heart that can be filled only by you.  You have arguably the biggest job of their little lives.  You are their earthly representation of what a father is, which will forever frame their idea of who their HEAVENLY Father is.  Those are some huge shoes to fill.  Think about it.

Look for ways that you can be involved.  JP did a wonderful job at this.  There were three main things that hubby OWNED when we came home from the hospital.

1.  He cleans the bottles and my breast-pump parts.  This may sound trivial, but washing those little intricate pieces every day is very tedious.  When he went back to work, he would wake up extra early to go downstairs and wash parts so that they were clean and dry when I got up with Henry.  Yay hubby!

2.  When he is home, he does 95% of the diaper changing.  JP changes diapers like a BOSS!  Since he still can't help with the feeding, this is their special time together...sounds weird, I know, but I swear they both enjoy it.  It's also a nice break for me.  Win, win, win.

3.  He is in charge of keeping me hydrated.  If you think you know what it feels like to be thirsty, just wait until you're breastfeeding.  Oh man...I think I go through 4-5 Liters of water a day.  LITERS, y'all!  I stole was given the humongous water jug to take home from the hospital, and every time I sit down to feed, JP fills it up with ice water for me.  Again, this sounds silly, but it is so helpful and oh so important.

These are just a few suggestions on ways you can go all-in and help your wife while also bonding with your little one.  Whatever jobs you find to do will be so appreciated by both Mom and kiddo.  I think these little jobs also give you  more confidence that you can handle your precious little newbie.

That's all I've got.  BREAK!

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