Top 10 Things All New Parents Should Know

This post is dedicated to our good friends and their new born son who was born today. Welcome to the world James!
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Why did my parents not tell me these things? Why did my friends and family with babies not tell me these things? Maybe it’s a rite of passage people with kids don’t want others to know so they can laugh in their face when they’re confronted with a new baby, but please, let’s share our life experiences with each other. If I would have known these things, I would have been much more mentally prepared for babies. Two at a time at that. Maybe the human race would cease to exist if this info was shared. Would anyone want to have children after knowing this? I think so. They’re still worth all the effort!

This list is in no particular order.

1) Dirty diapers aren’t the problem. The problem is changing dirty diapers on a moving baby.
OMG really?! I would rather change twice the amount of nasty stinky diapers daily if I knew that my baby/toddler wouldn’t roll over in it, grab his/her privates that were covered in it, slam his/her feet in it (poo splattering who knows where), or grab the diaper and throw it. Why did no one tell me this?

2) You WILL have either a feeding, sleeping, or BM (bowel movement for you new parents) problem with your baby. Just pray you don’t get a combination of all three.
According to my conversations with other moms, chances are you will have one of these problems. To what degree? Who knows. But let me warn you, it will test you to your limit. Some days you’ll feel like it’s the end of the world, and if something doesn’t change you will either hurt your baby, yourself, or both of you (I am joking somewhat but in the moment you will experience rage like you’ve never felt before). Why did no one tell me this?

3) Babies aren’t babies for long. Babies change fast. Really fast.

Cherish every moment possible. They aren’t cute and cuddly for long.
I know this sounds cliché, and this actually is something everyone is told before they have kids, however, I have it on this list because of how important it really is. We all blow off this advice when we hear it but honestly, enjoy your baby as much as possible. When Ellisa got her first tooth, I shed a tear because seeing those teeth was the first sign that she was no longer a baby. I remember thinking when Hudson was only 6 months old that he was already looking like a child. And by a year, let’s face it, they’re pretty much toddlers. You won’t cherish the first 3 months as you’ll be totally overwhelmed and exhausted, but 3-6 months is prime time to soak up some baby love. After 6 months, you see it slowing fading away until their first birthday when you realize, they no longer look or act like a baby. Why did no one tell me this? Okay, they did.

Capture them before it’s too late!
This isn’t about cherishing the moment, it’s about not putting things off. Don’t think you’ll take that photo or video later because I’m sorry to break it to you; babies will do one adorable thing one day, and NEVER do it again. Ever. So get out those cameras and capture every moment before it’s gone and forgotten. If only I had a good video of Ellisa pivoting around in a circle while sitting. It was so cute and she doesn’t do it anymore. Why did no one tell me this?

4) You won’t be that exhausted and you will get uninterrupted sleep sooner than you think.
Glad to read this, right? Dads’, you’ll sleep through anything. Moms’, this is for you. I’m sure most women would disagree with me here but I’m gonna put it out there: it’s not near as exhausting as everyone says. I had twins, one in NICU while one was at home for the first 2.5 months, and I wasn’t that exhausted. Babies sleep a lot, so sleep when they are. And as for nights, you will get 2-3 hour chunks of sleep at a time. So if you go to bed at a decent hour, you should get 9+ hours a night (interrupted of course). I breast feed in bed with both mine and that helped a ton. I know you’re not supposed to do that but honestly, women all over the world sleep with their babies and it’s not that dangerous. If you’re a heavy sleeper, don’t risk it, but if you’re a light sleeper and one that is super alert, you can feed them and sleep at the same time. Once you wake up from the pain of not moving to wake your baby, you can quickly and quietly put your baby back in their safe bassinet until they wake for another feeding. Plus, I loved sleeping with them. I miss that. Why did no one tell me this?

I assumed babies were up all night for up to the first year. Try more like 5-6 months. By 5 months, I was getting a good 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Not bad really. That on top of another 2 hours here and there and you’re back in business. Why did no one tell me this?

If I had to warn you of being exhausted, I would say I was more tired around 9 months than any other time. That’s when babies are more mobile, meaning you are too. Yes, you will sleep for 8+ hours straight at night, but the days are much more aerobic overall. Why did no one tell me this?

5) You don’t need clothes and toys. You need diapers and formula.
Your baby doesn’t care what they wear, and you only need a handful of outfits to make it through the week before a wash. Your baby is just going to out grow them before they wear them, or ruin their clothes with spit up and food after one use. And toys, forget about it. They would rather play with your keys, phone, magazines, and dishes. So, don’t waste your money on clothes and toys, instead buy diapers and formula. Fun! I swore I would never put my kids on PediaCrap (my official new name for PediaSure). However, you gotta do what you gotta do and they drink it up. It’s expensive, along with the 8-10 diapers a day the first few months, so save your pennies. Why did no one tell me this?

6) Babies attention spans are small.
I guess I thought after a while you could talk to a baby and they would sort of get it. Play with a new toy for 20 minutes. Snuggle for 5-10 minutes in the morning. Read a book beginning to end (I’m talking about a 10 page book here). No. You can’t do any of these things with a baby under 1 year.  Once they can crawl or walk, they are on the go constantly. Look at this, touch that, grab at this, pull this down, run over here, what’s that water, what’s that dirt, what’s that cat poop. It doesn’t end and they don’t stop moving! There isn’t anything (other than the TV) that keeps them still and quiet for more than 5 minutes. Why did no one tell me this?

7) You will compare your baby to others. Constantly.
I know you dad’s won’t admit this but you all sneak peeks at other babies wee-wee’s just to compare them to your son’s. Yes, this competitive human trait starts as early as you have the chance to do so. I’m not sure where it comes from as I don’t even like that I do it, but you just do it. I’m not sure if I do it as a way of checking to see if my babies are developmentally on track, or if I would do it regardless. But it’s pretty clear to me that all moms, and dads, become secretly competitive with each other. Who’s baby has more hair, who’s baby hasn’t gotten sick yet, who’s baby is in day care, who’s baby is still breast feeding, who’s walking already, who’s already enrolled at Yale. And on and on. It’s really lame but mark my words, it’s happening every time another parent sees you walk by. Why did no one tell me this?

8) Babies are strong!
Okay, seriously. Why did no one tell me this? Babies are super duper strong. They don’t care how much strength you use to hold them down when changing a diaper, putting on clothes, getting a shot, etc…all they know is they don’t want done what ever is being done to them, and they will use their baby power to get out of the situation you currently have them in. It’s unreal. So don’t even try holding them down if they’re putting up a fight because believe it or not, you won’t win. Try a new toy to distract them. If that doesn’t work, you’re SOL. Why did no one tell me this?

9) You will hear phantom crying.
This is bizarre and completely freaky. You might be at work in a meeting, taking a shower, changing the laundry, or driving the car (alone), when all of a sudden you hear your baby crying. Wait, I’m at work. I couldn’t possibly hear the baby while in the shower. I’m in the basement doing laundry. There is no way I can hear my baby crying. For Pete’s sake, I’m alone in the car miles away from my baby. How can I hear them crying?! It’s freaky, but it will happen. Just hope it doesn’t happen to you. You’ve been warned. Why did no one tell me this?

10) You will think about death all the time.
I hate writing this one but this is one that Charles added to the list, and I believe it’s one that affects many men. I guess it’s because they all of a sudden feel a tremendous pressure to take care of their family. They understand that their families happiness and livelihood relies on them. It’s not a constant worry yet it’s always in the back of their minds. I can’t die, my wife can’t die, my children can’t die. All these people are too important to each other. I have to be honest here, I never think like this. I guess it’s a guy thing. Why did no one tell me this? I understand keeping this one to yourself.

Well, that sums it up. I’m sure there’s a ton more but I think this covers the main stuff pretty well. I hope the human race continues to exist after reading this…

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