Dads who have made it to the other side - what’s been the biggest surprise?
By - jburn48
I agree with the dirty diapers not being that gross and the bottle feedings being gross!
Also, it's a lot harder to maintain my relationship with my wife. We both work all day and then race home to see our son. Then we're exhausted and ready for bed. Make sure you take the extra time for your partner. Your kid is absolutely important. However, your wife has gone through many changes, and she still needs to feel beautiful and important.
> Make sure you take the extra time for your partner. Your kid is absolutely important. However, your wife has gone through many changes, and she still needs to feel beautiful and important.
Not only that, but you need to put actual effort into maintaining your relationship with your SO. This may be the first time in years (for some people) where your relationship with your SO will require conscious effort to keep moving and make you both feel connected to each other. Find ways to show that you are still interested in each other and that you want to prioritize the relationship. Obviously, the first couple weeks are just a massive adjustment period to taking care of a newborn and kiddo is going to just be in an on demand feeding/diapering schedule, but you should still try to take some time to just do something you enjoy- even if it's getting coffee from your favorite cafe and bringing it home to sip together.
Both of you are going to be tired, and stressed, and a bit overwhelmed with workload, so you both need to figure out how to make time to be adults together (even if it's just a slightly nicer dinner at home and snuggling on the couch with a movie on while kiddo sleeps a few feet away in a bassinet) and to make some time for self care (30 uninterrupted minutes to read a book, work out, enjoy a hobby, take a relaxing shower/bath, or play a quick game can make a big difference in someone's mental health).
The self care is arguably more important on an individual level, especially for mom if she's trying to breastfeed/pump- burnout is going to happen, and it's real. The more you can swap off for quick breaks to get your own little personal time, the better off you'll both be able to handle this for the long haul.
It's so hard. Our second was a few months old when Covid hit. The past 16 months have been real damn hard, like me Googling apartments hard, cause she's gone from my wife to a roomate who just asks me to do things for her constantly. Hoping with COVID lessoning we can get back to more 1 on 1 time so we can remember why we loved each other!
Hey dude, hang in there. Hope you two can make it work if that's what you want.
How precious naps are - both my own and my kid’s.
poop is less gross than I thought, bottle feedings are more gross than I thought, when going through a spit up phase, you get dribbly half curdled milk. The diaper changes when they are still on milk exclusively don't smell too awful.
I was shocked how natural it felt wiping a butt that wasn't mine.
I was thinking about this recently.
Remember those poops before solid food? It wasn't even like poop to me, it was just some goo. Then we get used to wiping and working with little butts and then we get hit with food poop, which smells sort of like my poop. Then we start potty training, and I've been trained on wiping someone else's butt, and I'm not at all weird out by it like I was expecting.
It's crazy how not bothered I am.
I'm still on the goo phase, but I'm glad it doesn't suddenly get weird once it starts smelling like poop.
It’s a gradual transition... it’s not like goo one day and poop the next. At first they’re mostly just tasting food and spiting it out or smearing it all over.
> bottle feedings are more gross than I thought, when going through a spit up phase, you get dribbly half curdled milk.
Oh god I am *done for* lol that makes me want to vomit just reading it.
Don't worry, it'll just be all over your clothes and maybe in your hair, and don't forget you're holding a baby so you can't get it off right away!
Seriously though it isn't that bad. It comes from a little person that you'd do anything for so that somehow makes it less disgusting.
Just be ready to close your mouth real fast if you're holding the kid up in the air
oh poop is gross, its just later
I was talking with my husband last night and he said when she first came home, the crying was really, really hard on him. I think harder than he anticipated or let on. He said it really helped him to remember that it wasn't something she was doing to him, but something she was going through--he just kept thinking learning to be a human is really hard and painful.
Now she is 7 months old and shouts "Dada!" when he comes home from work, and it melts everyone's heart (she also calls the cats and her toys Dada, but my husband is choosing to believe she knows what it means!).
>He said it really helped him to remember that it wasn't something she was doing to him, but something she was going through--he just kept thinking learning to be a human is really hard and painful.
This is really important. When your whole life is like 3 weeks, every bad thing that happens is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to you.
Add to that that you have no way of knowing whether this bad thing will pass or if this is just how life is forever. Your stomach aches but you don't know that eating will fix that. You can't even tell anyone your stomach hurts. It's distressing.
Add to that that your limbs aren't very strong yet so you couldn't move yourself if you even knew how. You can't help yourself, you can't talk, you have one method of calling for help. One option open to you, that's crying.
That was a huge thing for me. The type of depression I have sends me into dark places when I think something is my fault. I don't know why I thought of it, but it just happened that my girl started crying as babies do so I started singing to her. I'm no virtuoso... But I think the medium baritone voice really helped her out. She still asks me to sing the same song today at 3years old.
("How great thou art" btw if anyone is curious. It's a Christian hymn)
Our baby calls everything ""Dada" when's she's happy, it's "Mama" when she's upset/sick/tired. My husband gets a kick out of it!
Something that I saw has really stuck: "they're not *being* difficult, they're *having* a difficult time".
When I'm frustrated with the 7th night waking or poopslosion #4 for the night, and we're both crying by that point, it really helps my patience to think about that.
Even if you are not an anxious person, you will find yourself checking that your child is breathing at least once per nap.
Get the Owlet sock! We can sleep peacefully knowing she’s being monitored. Pricey but worth it
People talk crap about the Owlet, but I will definitely second this. It was great.
Just looked into this - kinda like an Apple Watch for your baby. Pretty cool!
Id suggest the opposite. They aren't as reliable as people think. I think there was a class action lawsuit started about that. And I have read that they may actually increase your anxiety as well. Our doctor recommended against any of those.
Keep the kid in your room as long as you can. Practice safe sleep. Get a fan to circulate air and keep the room cool, between 67-72 I think.
We were at the pediatrician today and he said that he’s only ever heard of one instance where it actually went off and saved a babies life. Meaning it worked and that the instance you’ll actually need it is rare. To each their own, but I can understand the increasing anxiety. We had one night it went off and it was a false reading. Basically do what you said and as long as your baby is not obviously/visibly struggling you’ll be okay
Yeah 300$ sock, must be nice
Yea jesus. Ill just use a CD in front of the their nose liked id do with my passed out buddies in college
Sometimes insurance will pay for it via HSA/HRA. Also if you have a registry at target you will get 20% off of whatever no one purchases. So you could put it on there and then get 20% off. I recognize they are pricey and I am very grateful to be in a place to afford it.
Hi very grateful to be in a place to afford it, I'm dad.
Yeah I have 15% on Amazon still outta budget sadly, I got excited when I saw it then lmfao'ed at the price
Sucks especially in the morning. When my eyes are half asleep still and I can't see the chest move. xD
Same if you end up rocking to sleep, if it's too dark you can't tell when they've closed their eyes.
How loud babies are in their sleep.
Gurgle guegle gugle wooo eh ehe eh baaah.
Had to get earplugs so I could only here metal screams.
That the baby’s heart rate will drop after pushing, and throughout labor. Their fingernails are crazy long right when they come out. That they’ll slough their skin after a week or so. That, if it’s a little girl she will shed her uterine lining, and have vaginal bleeding for the first couple days.
I’m having a girl in November and I had no clue about this…thanks for the heads up!!
It doesn't always happen, don't worry!
Pseudomenstruation I believe
Our little girl didn't have either of these issues... I would have lost my mind.
They get bombarded by hormones in the womb, our little dude had acne for the first couple of days.
Having a girl in a few minutes! Thanks for warning me lol
You got this!!
She’s healthy and beautiful. Cheers!
Just became a Dad this morning.
No one can prepare you for what's it's like seeing your partner go through Labour. You'll both be sleep deprived, anxious for it to go well, anxious to make the right decisions.
You have to be an advocate for your partner, for me this involved making decisions that went completely against her birth plan because it was clear that was needed to keep everyone safe.
I burst into tears right before her emergency C-section, it's hard keeping it together after seeing everything she'll go through - everyone says it, but nothing can really prepare you for it.
I also felt this way. 9 months later, and I can still see the frustration on the doctor's face because she couldn't get the blood to stop pouring out. It was terrifying! Glad everyone made it through. Good luck!
They confused day time and night time. A doctor told me, the baby has an internal clock, they are usually most active when mom went to sleep in the womb so they are most active at night once outside. My baby sleeps great during the day and wants me to pull an all-nighter. You may really need to train them to really adjust their internal clocks. Waking them up for feedings during the day, keeps everything dark all night, even changing.
Another big surprise is how randomized my baby is. I am a big analytic person, I read Crib Sheets, Happiest Baby on the Block, and read up on raising a baby with various articles. Emily Oster says in on the of chapters "if you want to collect data and make graphs/assumptions, go for it. But remember that this is the illusion of control." This is a very true statement.
I'm reading through Cribsheet now and it's amazing! Science driven, funny, honest, it's a great book. Definitely a must read for any new parents.
It is a great book! Really helpful for an analytic decision maker. I feel like she did some of my homework for me and helped set my expectations.
How incredibly used to poop you get.
Like at first it's "gross! diapers? this is disgusting!"
Then you have a kid and it's like... damn, got poop on my hand. I guess I need to go wash them. That's inconvenient.
This was my reaction to my first blowout. Shit everywhere and I honestly didn’t mind it because it meant my girl was doing what she was supposed to and healthy!
Poop is no issue for me, but getting projectile vomit down the inside of my shirt and into my pants sucks.
You’ll get emotional. I’ve cried more in these past 8 months than I have for the last 33 years. Scientifically proven that your testosterone levels drop when your baby is first born, a part of the “stay gather/care/provide instead of out hunting for the wooly mammoth across town” instinct
Disney movies are my trigger nowadays.
So true, this has surprised me the most.
I also can’t watch or read anything involving hurt kids now — it hits me like an emotional gut punch.
That it wasn’t a hard as I thought it was gonna be
That for the first 24 hours she didn’t know what hunger was, and that when she made her acquaintance with it she was none too pleased. It makes a lot of sense though. For 9 months you’re basically IV’d and then suddenly you have this traumatic event and your body starts counting down to death every few hours unless you get fed. That’d freak me out too if I wasn’t so used to it.
Also, pregnancy is hard. Baby-life is on a whole other level.
Also, my new favourite sound in the world is little burps.
How strong women are. I knew my wife was a strong person but man, her never ending energy humbled me
This right here. I've always said my wife could handle anything. I just didn't know the extent of anything. I was literally having breakdowns from lack of sleep, and she had less sleep, just a couple days post cesarean, and still kept going.
Yeah I got to go home and sleep. She had to sit up for five nights in the hospital with baby on her chest.
Opposite for me :( I’m doing the heavy lifting emotionally and physically.
Assuming you’re the man, and your female partner just gave birth, You SHOULD be doing the heavy lifting, physically and emotionally. Your wife (or girlfriend or whatever, let’s just say wife for convenience sake) just spent 9 months 3D printing a brand new person, and then that whole human being came out of her in a painful and bloody process. She is exhausted from that process and her body needs to heal. Even more so if she is breastfeeding. American women do 80-90% of the housework & child rearing duties, even when both spouses have full-time jobs. I’m sure once she heals, things will go back to the way they were and your wife will do the vast majority of the household labor. For now, let her heal and pick up the slack. I’m sure she would do the same for you, without complaining.
No, it wasn't recently. Almost 2 years ago. I had no issues post c-section and have no issues doing all i can and need to do now. But I just feel like i'm embracing parenthood more than she is. It's mental for her
How long it’s taking for the stupid nasty umbilical stump to fall off
How cathartic cleaning bottles and breast pump parts is
How one little (even unintentional) infant smile can turn my whole day around
Conversely, how scary and disheartening it is when you can’t immediately solve whatever is upsetting baby- the wash of guilt, the panic of uncertainty...just a flash flood of emotion that puts you at risk of spiraling down. You have to learn to control your reaction quickly in order to do right by your baby- the feeling of coming back from that chaos is really rewarding too, especially if your co-parent is also susceptible to that kind of panic
I just became a dad 4 days ago. Two things stand out for me:
1. Being on the sidelines for labour is really hard. It is a whole new experience watching the person you love be in pain and not being able to take some of it on yourself. It's on you to push aside the exhaustion and fear in the moment and be the person by her side that is confident, cheering her on, and giving her something to squeeze. I was just amazed at how strong my wife was through the whole day and how she found a crazy amount of energy at the end, after a long day of it all, to get over the finish line.
2. It can be really hard when baby cries and you as the dad just don't have the tool to soothe it. This can be REALLY hard when you are exhausted. You just have to remember you love the thing and it's not their fault!
A few things: like someone else said, take advantage of naps to either get stuff done or just go relax, watch TV or browse your phone. Be ready for your marriage to be put on hold, the physical aspect atleast for awhile. It's all new to you, your wife and the baby. When you get frustrated always remember your wife probably feels the same. If your wife has trouble breast feeding be as supportive as possible. Most women hope they can breastfeed their child, it's a mother job and they will be crushed if they're not able to. I have personal experience with this. Don't be selfish and put your wife and baby first for awhile. A big big thing to remember, all the hurdles and bumps in the road like trouble breastfeeding, co-sleeping problems, sleep regression, terrible twos. It's all TEMPORARY. don't get stuck in the hard moments. Be a good dad and a good husband. That's all thay matters. Take care and good luck man.
I was suffering a pretty bad bout of anxiety before my daughter arrived. In the 10 days since I can confirm I haven't had a single irrational thought or worried about a hypothetical. Partly because of all the nappies, housework, general exhaustion. Mostly because she's amazing and her needs make mine seem so insignificant.
How dry my hands are from the constant washing. I’ve never had ashy knuckles and in the beginning i wasn’t even using lotion so now my finger tips have cracks.
Aquaphor for the win.
Tiny babies fart like truckers! Boys and girls. All of them.
I was just talking to my buddy about this too. I tried my best to mentally prepare for raising a baby, less sleep, strict schedules, and all that. Never prepared for all the farts
Not wanting a son anymore. At first I was bummed it was going to be a girl, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s awesome!
how much your life and priorities change.
for me, before kids it was career first, fun second. Now it is kids first... wait what was the question?
I never thought I could love someone as much as I love my daughter. I never thought I could admire and respect someone as much as my wife. I told myself I wasn't going to watch her coming out, but I took one look and was amazed. I can't begin to imagine how hard and painful it must have been for my wife, she was absolutely amazing.
As others have said, poop is no big deal, though my little one is only 9 days old and has breast milk poop if that makes a difference. The pees however, that's where she gets me when changing her haha. I think she gets a kick out it.
My daughter was born 12 days ago. Here are my observations.
1) the dirty diapers are smelly and messy. But for some reason, they don’t bother me. I’ve been working with kids and changing diapers for 15 years, and I still don’t like changing those dirty diapers. But when it’s my own daughter, as gross as I know it is, it just doesn’t bother me.
2) the first couple of weeks, your relationship with your partner takes a back seat. It sounds awful, but honestly, it’s not. It’s more of a functional thing than an emotional thing. My wife and I absolutely still love each other and want to be romantic. But right now with a newborn, our romance and intimacy isn’t even in the cards. We’re communicating well, taking turns, helping each other eat, sleep, and take care of the baby. It’s a balance of getting your own needs met while meeting the needs of the baby and your partner. Right now that’s what is boils down to, and that’s our entire focus. Romance and intimacy can’t happen if everyone’s basic needs aren’t getting met. And that’s the name of the game. Don’t keep score over who changed how many diapers, who did the dishes how many times, who strayed up late or took the day shift, etc. just communicate about what everyone’s needs are, and help each other meet them. Your relationship will be different during this time. Be flexible and roll with it.
3) Everything changes. Quickly. We were in the hospital for a few nights and that was fine. When we got home, the dynamic and the routine completely changed. After a week or so, we got into a really good groove and even commented on how well we were “killing it” with this parenting thing. Then our daughter decided she’s in a phase where she screams bloody murder whenever she’s put down and not being held. Then habits, behaviors, and routines changed again. BE FLEXIBLE AND ROLL WITH IT.
4) If you need help, if you need a break, ask for it.
I’m surprised at how easy it is, to an extent of course. How much love just naturally came to me for my son.
I’m also surprised at how hard breastfeeding is
The craziest thing for me, and it probably sounds obvious/dumb, is that I look at my baby’s eyes and see mine. It’s just wild still to me, his color is the same and his eye shape is the same.
My biggest surprise is when they hit 2 how fast they grow. It's a little unfair.
Giving up a lot of my personal interests or hobbies for a few years was challenging. Your time is limited and any time spent on one thing will inevitably detract from the other. Coming to terms with the fact that I had to reduce or eliminate some of my hobbies until they were older was a tough choice because even with the clearest of minds you will miss some aspects of the way you life was before kids.
Midwives will ALWAYS tell you your baby is underweight. Regardless.
You will absolutely recognise your baby's cry out of a group of them.
Day 3 (post birth) is just awful. Your wife is going to be emotional and a wreck, and there's nothing you can do. Just bring chocolate and be there. Hold her, listen but don't speak unless asked, and do all the small stuff.
And finally, your heart will ache the moment you pick up your kid, and then it'll double the moment you put them down.
Best of luck.
Sniffing a bum will become part of your life, you celebrate poos and you and the mother will discuss color consistency and smell very often.
You'll spend months anxiously waiting for the kid to start crawling and moving and the following months missing when he/she didn't move and you could get away with doing stuff.
Also, babies are extremely clever and manipulative, way smarter than you imagine. They learn your weaknesses and use them against you. Do not show fear or compassion.
> Do not show fear or compassion.
Haha! Absolutely the truth!