Having a baby was perhaps the most transformative experience of my life. Beforehand, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy being a father or even if creating another life in this overpopulated world was a moral thing to do, but it was certainly an intentional decision that I was mostly ready for. Personally, being a father brings me much joy and is a great long-term challenge to sink my teeth into. It also brings me the understanding that caring for a newborn is a lot of repetitious work, though I soon figured out new attitudes as I got used to new routines. Yes, the newborn phase is rough, but keep in mind that things just keeps getting better after that!
After a brief honeymoon period, most people go through a period of sadness trying to adjust to their new lives with a newborn. Do you remember the scene in The Matrix when Neo is flushed down a tube after taking the red pill? Well, that's the same as being there for the birth of your first child, and everything that follows in the movie, both good and bad, is your new reality. Learning Kung Fu was the honeymoon period. Personally, I eventually started to feel that having a baby is not the life I want! I didn't want to be The One. To give some context, my wife was sick in the hospital for three weeks after birth, and I texted various people more in those weeks than I had the rest of my life combined, which I hated. I then realized that I never gave a crap about people "being nice" (though kindness is always important and was very welcome). I stopped replying to people who were "being nice" for their own benefit, and I had to draw up many rules for an oblivious person. I then felt much better and back to myself.
In time, the weirdness faded and rapid learning was no longer needed, and I had a new member of the family! I had a wonderful important role: father. I had a new little buddy who could not yet learn much from me, but I would show her things and say things to her. I just want her to know that I'm there for her when she needs me, and I so look forward to seeing her personality and intellect develop!
I immediately noticed that I got a much deeper understanding of anyone who took care of my baby. All of a person's strengths and any weaknesses are amplified through the baby. (If you are reading this and took care of my baby, yes, I figured out your secret.) I noticed that verbal skills or being extroverted are not useful for newborns, though they were useful when preparing for the baby. Instead, mechanical skills, problem-solving skills, motor coordination, and being observant are important. I also noticed what I had already heard: men are just as good and necessary at loving and caring for babies. In fact, being a man, I greatly appreciate people with the "let's solve this problem and do what it takes" masculine attitude around my baby! Men also tend to expose babies to more interactive stimulation allowing the to develop their brains and bodies. Who knows what my baby appreciates, though I have learned how to more gently cuddle the baby from some great women.
Before I had a baby, many babies made me sad because the baby amplified their parent's trashiness. But healthy smart people can have intentional healthy happy families! Of the many ways of being trash, a common but horrible one is sticking a screen in front of the child for most of the day. This is especially bad if the device has no restrictions! If a screen raises your child, the rest of society will have to deal with that little monster for many long years to come. In public school, the US legal system will prioritize your future criminal over the learning of the rest of the class. Other signs of trash are not figuring out how to prevent sperm from getting into a woman's egg or having too many kids. Do you already have many kids from your first marriage when you were young and stupid and now your new wife wants another? If you don't want to be trash, you now know what to not do. Did you have kids then have triplets? If you actually wanted many kids, congrats on finding a loophole! Another sign of trash is the "my child can do no wrong" attitude. No! You are messing up your child's future! And you are highly annoying your child's coaches and teachers.
If you lucked out so far by not yet being trash, just wait. At least half of car seats are installed incorrectly, and 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly when first taking a newborn home from the hospital. So, you're likely at least kinda trash, but that's okay if you have growth mindset and try to overcome the innate stupidity of the human brain. Luckily for women, the strong firemen at the local fire station will likely help them with their (car seat) needs. Lesbians may prefer to ask a firewoman. Luckily for anyone who is smart, manuals, YouTube, and websites exist. A trick a smart guy told me is to use your knee to push down the car-seat base when securing it to the proper tightness. Also, the internet told me about the "pinch test": the baby's straps are tight enough if you can't pinch a fold in the straps.
Most of my hobbies require a good amount of analytical or physical abilities, so the advice out in the world tends to be directly useful to me because it is written by and for smart and capable people. However, upon having a baby, I learned that so much advice is crap because the advice is for the average person who has a baby: an idiot. So the advice tends to be the general sort of crap that you hear for other common things such as car ownership: "you should check your tire pressure weekly," even though a smart person does it every 6 months. Other bad advice comes with bed ownership: "you should wash your sheets more than once a month even if you wear a T-shirt and boxers to bed," but I wash them every 6 months (because if I do it every year they start to smell), though my pillowcase is done every couple of months. Perhaps the worst one is found by Googling how to not make egg shells stick to hard boiled eggs. Every online genius has their ideas on how to do it, but the only thing that works for me is using old eggs then immediately cooling them with water and peeling them.
This webpage is for smart people, and my standards for the smartness of a person's behavior increase as the person's age and number of children increases. If you discover that I do not consider you smart enough, please stop reading because this webpage will not help you. A therapist could help you address whatever has prevented you from developing into a smart person: the learned helplessness, the fixed mindset, the inability to accept criticism, the open emotional wounds, the lack of attention you were given, a culture and family that does not support curiosity and learning, the victim mentality, etc. Whatever you do, don't let any criticism of you stop you from loving your child, and don't become more extreme and stubborn by joining the war against knowledge. When it comes to parenting, I like to think that, when parenting, your ability to love is more important than your ability to think. It might even be true for certain ages as long as the parent is smart enough to care about and encourage their child's education.
This webpage is baby wisdom for smart people to counter all the bull crap that we have to say for the rest of people. There is a lot of bull crap because everyone is more cautious around babies than around cars and beds. Teenagers are typically idiots because they kinda are supposed to be, so I will repeat some of the bull crap for any teenage babysitters, but I want the truth for myself!
More importantly, this webpage contains my hard-fought knowledge. It is not intended to be complete advice, so use it as a starting or ending point in your learning. Many books seem to not give important advice for fear of offending someone. I'll talk crap where crap is due, so don't worry that I'm holding back. While I do give stories of my baby, I do research into what is to be expected for any baby.
A few things to know. My wife couldn't breastfeed (even with supplementing) after she got sick, and I am loving the formula situation, but I think using formula greatly changes our experience: formula causes her to have less hormones, stress, and power. Newborn generally means then first two months, and fourth trimester refers to the first three months. This webpage is about the first 2 or 3 months, not about infants (the first year) in general.
Who do we listen to? Obviously, .org and .gov websites are better than .com. What about people? TL;DR: doctors and scientists.
A doula is typically full of various crap, and everything they say should be fact checked. They have very little science training, though they can provide some useful practical tips.
They often teach classes about birth and caring for babies, during which they tell you that not having an epidural is anything but heartbreaking because their jobs depend on people not having epidurals. When humans evolved to walk on two legs, their hips changed and forcing us to push out babies earlier than might otherwise be possible (before baby gets too big to fit through our smaller hips), and the birth is still very painful and complicated. Luckily, epidurals exist! Every argument against epidurals is either factually wrong or just logically flawed. People complain that you cannot walk with an epidural and that labor can take 30 more minutes, but 30 more minutes enjoyably relaxing in bed (perhaps with some itching or headache) is way better than weeping from pain for many hours! There are other very rare risks, but everything, especially driving, has very rare risks. There are also a bunch of lies such as epidurals making recovery take longer or that they increase the risk of having a C-section. Even if they did increase the risk of C-sections, C-section recovery is typically not much worse than vaginal birth. Only around 1% of people cannot get an epidural for medical reasons, yet about a third of moms do not get one. The main reasons for not getting one are not wanting one, waiting too long to ask for one, and not having good enough health insurance.
A doula I met at a restaurant was once trying to convince me that my wife should eat her own placenta, which I was happy to do for my wife if the doula would grill it up for me medium-rare with Montreal Steak Seasoning, but only for the cost of any other steak that size. Hospital tailgate anyone?
Only the woman's partner should be in the hospital with her until after the baby is born. If her partner is a bad partner or cannot be there, her mom or good female or gay friend should be there. If that isn't available, a doula can be useful. Only around 1% of births have a doula, but 50% of Karens get one.
A lactation consultant typically has more training than a doula, but the problem with them is in their name. They are not baby feeding consultants. Instead, they obviously are biased towards their breastfeeding-only agenda rather than caring for babies' nutritional health. When I shared these thoughts with my pediatrician, she confirmed that lactation consultants make decisions based on agenda over science. Also, we know a pediatrician via a friend who is dating him, and he also does not like lactation consultants for the same reasons as mine.
I can't put my finger on what it exactly is, but they always sound like those "natural is best" quacks every time they talk. They often contradict each other or themselves when they finally give actionable advice between their philosophizing. They never give data or seem to try to conclude based on data.
Fun fact: my baby received very little food for the first 3.5 days of life because, in spite of much evidence I was gathering showing that the breasts were producing very little milk (colustrum), the several lactation consultants never told my anxious sleep-deprived wife that supplementing with formula is a valid often-necessary alternative. The only thing these lactation idiots were focused on was giving contradictory advice about what technique she should be using. The whole time, I couldn't believe that their little changes in technique or whether or not to use a nipple shield could possibly be the problem. When I asked our pediatrician what the baby's weight would be if she had never eaten anything, she said, "Basically this." My baby had lost over 15% of her birth weight. Lactation consultants did not even ask about or notice obvious signs of anxiety or sleep deprivation when my wife was panicked about our seemingly starving child, even though anxiety and sleep deprivation can reduce of milk supply, though a doctor later said that this is more true later after milk has come in (after colostrum), so the lactation consultants were not as horribly mistaken as I thought.
Nature provides us with many tools such as milk glands, but these tools are not always the best option. Anyone that drives, wears shoes, uses a phone, etc. knows this on some level. Sometimes, the tools that nature provides are broken because of genes (not your fault!), or we can break those tools through physical or mental injury (again, probably not your fault!). Formula is almost as good as breast milk, and exclusively using powdered formula will only cost as much as one month of daycare, which is less than what you'll spend on diapers.
It turns out that, for marketing reasons, US hospitals try to get the Baby-Friendly designation. Part of this accreditation is not being able to ever encourage formula, especially supplementing with formula, even though supplementing with formula can, for people who are feeling stressed or anxious, help breastfeeding be successful. My mom was a volunteer who cuddled preemies, and she had to go to a huge meeting where everyone was told not to mention formula to parents. There are many great articles online about this problem of private hospitals putting an agenda over baby's health! But the hospitals can never get sued for recommending the on-average-best thing: breastfeeding. Yes, most poor people don't have the time to do it, and anxious people need to supplement with formula to relieve the stress, but you can't sue if you are unable to meet the hospital's recommendations.
By the way, this problem of private hospitals not taking the individual into account is universal. There is generally a lack of data, and, even when there is data, it is just an average of diverse people. Even when the correct option to go against the average advice is obvious, the doctor may not have enough time to get to no the details of your specific situation.
There are many great nurses (and midwives). There are many average nurses (and midwives). There are some bad nurses (and midwives). Honestly, I don't really understand what midwives are, but they seem generally more qualified than nurses, and I think they can all make diagnoses? Because of the bad and average nurses, hospitals do not let any of them give advice (they are not doctors). Rather, they give advice, but only what the hospital's legal committees had already approved, so the advice is for idiots. With that said, good nurses and the support they provide can really make your hospital stay much better.
I once was talking to a nurse who was saying that doctors have less responsibility than nurses because nurses actually have to do the work. This person obviously doesn't understand that, for example, in a war, there are generals who give the orders and lieutenants who carry them out, but it is the generals who cannot sleep at night because the responsibility of their decisions lies on them, and the generals must defend their decisions for the public. Nurses are the lieutenants. A good lieutenant is a great asset! I'm not saying their job is easy or better, but they have less responsibility.
Fun fact: due to anxiety, my wife has white coat hypertension (high blood pressure only at the doctor's office) and would tell all nurses and widwives this, and she was measuring her blood pressure frequently at home. Our main midwife was very understanding and would help advocate for my wife to the doctors, which caused the problem to get better when the good midwife would take the blood pressure. Another midwife did everything she could to stress my wife out and make the problem worse. At a specialist's office for my baby's velamentous cord insertion, yet another midwife told us that my wife had gestational hypertension, which is a serious diagnosis requiring my wife to go to their office twice a week. Because my wife's blood pressure issues clearly did not start or get worse during pregnancy, I repeatedly and openly mocked this diagnosis, and the mindless cog (midwife) never just kept trying to schedule all those money-making appointments (even if it were not her power to change the diagnosis, she could have advocated to the doctor for us). We were already suspicious of the detail of each ultrasound this practice always gave, when all we needed was an accurate size check to make sure that our baby was getting enough blood flow. We did not go to any extra appointments, and, even though they eventually reduced the diagnosis to just normal hypertension, which I suppose is not completely ridiculous, our main (good) midwife worked to get us away from that specialist's office as soon as possible. I learned later that she has her DNP degree, which is so cool.
Doctors tend to give great advice that aligns more with fact than with common wisdom, though they do still tend to be overly cautious, though not as cautious as the default script given by the nurses at the hospital. My personal test for if a doctor is being overly cautious is to calmly explain the logic of why their advice isn't the best for me, and, if they only say something like "you are free to not listen to me" without being able to find any flaws in my logic, then I know.
Online, I have come across advice that is supposedly from doctors that is just stupid, and they are usually trying to sell you something. Doctors are not scientists, and even individual scientists can be stupid about things.
However, doctors are usually extremely knowledgable if dealing with their area of expertise (and if not too old and rigid). I have a PhD in physics, and they seem to have the same amount of knowledge that I had to gain, just in diagnosis and treatment rather than science.
In general, doctors in the US operate within a very messy legal and business setting. For this and other reasons, there is a doctor shortage, so they are very busy. No part of the system communicates well with each other or with you. Because many (most?) people are idiots, doctors will not trust you but will insist on only using data that they have gathered (even if other doctors have gathered the data, they may not have access).
Speaking of communication, I was very curious how much we paid to have our baby after insurance paid its part, and I could never figure it out due to the horrible communication from the hospital and from my wife being sick immediately after (so I couldn't easily separate the contradictory bills). Though, I suppose each birth costs something different because nothing really goes as planned. I hear that as many as 80% of hospital bills contain errors (why would people with insurance care?). I also hear that some countries have problems with corruption instead, so it could be worse I suppose. Regardless, unlike me who had luckily never had to deal with the medical system before, be prepared.
Science is great. Science has the best shot of being what is true, but we need to make sure we don't put all of our trust in just a single study. Also, we need to understand how scientists talk. Scientist try not to speculate. Just because they cannot prove something doesn't mean that it isn't true. However, if science supports or rejects something (such as supporting hand washing and vaccines), then that's almost certainly the truth. Sometimes, science has very little to no data, so it has no opinion at all! Doctors have to do their best with the often small amount of data that never matches every facet of the unique patient.
Scientists give us where to start. Are you concerned about your baby's safety? Science says that you should then focus on trying to prevent suffocation and infection. After 1 year, the preventable deaths to focus on are drowning and car accidents, though these still very much happen before 1 year. If you spent your time and money to eat your own placenta but sleep with the baby beside you in your bed, have newborn baby sleep on its side or belly, won't get the vaccines you need to get, or don't wash your hands, then you are, objectively and scientifically speaking, an unfit parent. Science is great because it gives ways to determine such things! The scientist's job is not to give us practical advice like diaper-changing tricks, but, if you have common sense and an internet connection, you can figure that out as you go.
Science can be confusing. For example, the term SIDS used to mean more what SUID means. SUID is any Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, which includes SIDS. SIDS includes only the unexplainable deaths. Now that we know about safe sleep practices, SIDS rate has gone way down partly because some sudden unexpected deaths are now explainable (clearly caused by unsafe sleep), and the SUID rate has also gone far down because people are being safe. Most SIDS data sets seem to include any death whose cause is unproven, which is most deaths because why investigate if it just makes parents feel guilty. Some data does not include suffocation deaths in their SIDS data. "True" SIDS (SIDS that would still be called SIDS if baby were constantly heavily surveilled) can happen right in front of you with baby gently sleeping in your arms, though even this can often be prevented by behavior such as not smoking around your baby.
Another confusing term is colic, which is when babies cry a lot. Many authoritative sources say that colic is not likely caused by gas and is not improved by treating gas, yet they also contradict themselves saying that crying sometimes stops after a fart or poop. I found that treating gas with some not-massively-expired simethicone often seems to help my baby's horrible crying. I don't consider myself greatly susceptible to the placebo affect because I quickly figured out that oral phenylephrine doesn't work long before 2023 and because I am scientist who is very aware of biases, but babies are just so chaotic that I couldn't possibly be sure. Even the authoritative websites say that treating gas can help because getting baby to fart or poop is known to help! My hypothesis is that whatever causes colic affects most babies making them have "witching hour(s)" at certain times of the day, but it is not called colic unless the crying reaches a certain frequency for a certain amount of time. Some babies must be more affected by whatever causes colic. On the days that my baby is crying the most, there is probably something like gas causing it.
Do you have a newborn but haven't read any books or taken any classes on how to care for it? You and your child are screwed! Start Googling now! If you have read some good books, keep Googling! You can discover if a book is horrible by Googling. If you Google deeper questions to really try to understand an issue, you can really start figuring out whether advice is good or bad. A good question for Google is, "What would happen if I did not do _____?" Here are some good books...
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. This book is the book about the 5 S's and will make you immediately know things that your parents never knew! I noticed that all the older people who would try to calm my baby only did various gentle cooing techniques, which are great for when baby is more relaxed but is not what your baby wants or needs when they are throwing a fit! Within days of my newborn starting to lose her mind at least once a day (usually in the evening), I learned to use the great tools and understanding in this book to calm her, with exceptions, reasonably quickly. I should mention that, when by baby was starving during the first several days, nothing would fully calm her other than her eventually falling asleep!
Instead of US hospitals only caring about money and only making you watch a video about not shaking a baby, if they want to prevent shaken baby syndrome, they should teach people about how to do the 5 S's in detail. Instead, I paid for classes at the hospital because I knew nothing (for example, that baby's poop before eating solid food), and the 5 S's were just part of a single quick slide of a presentation. Because it seemed very important and useful, when I soon asked her to repeat what the 5 S's were so that I could write them down, the doula teaching the class obviously didn't remember or care and just had the class try to recall. We tried and couldn't, then she just moved on without telling us.
Something I think I learned is that excessive bouncing to calm my baby during a fit doesn't even help in the short-term and can cause another fit from overstimulation, which required putting her down in a dark room with white noise. Another thing I think I learned is that, when my newborn is throwing a fit, she will still need to eat and probably do it more often, but she won't show hunger cues, so offer milk frequently! The only thing that will calm a hungry baby is food.
What you need to buy or otherwise obtain now:
3 SwaddleMe swaddle wraps (use only until the baby starts to roll from back to front when swaddled). The 0-3 month size should be fine at first, and I have found that, especially for my active baby, thick material is necessary to prevent the baby from immediately wiggling out. My tall baby quickly needed the 3-6 month size. After baby starts to roll, sleep sacks can be used instead of blankets to keep baby warm.
2-pack of pacifier clips. Also get appropriately sized pacifiers (0-6 months), where the best shape if breastfeeding before teething is cylindrical or cherry, but it really doesn't matter. After teething starts, for the next size up, get the orthodontic shape.
yoga/exercise ball for getting great bounces easily. A glider rocker is also nice for between baby's fits and for breastfeeding, though I read that traditional rockers are better for some infants, which makes since because of the faster rocking.
a cheap tablet or old unused phone for brown noise during the night and music for baby's brain development during the day. This tablet can eventually be used for working with a compatible baby monitor that can then do the playing of noise or music. Note that your mouth can create white noise if necessary, and your phone can do anything a tablet can do, though noticing silent notifications is much harder when the phone is being used for baby.
Trust me, getting these things should be a top priority. Not relevant to the book, but other essentials for calming baby are Butt Paste, baby saline drops, and a bulb syringe (or, better yet, Munchkin ClearNose!).
As for a baby swing, we tried one, and the baby liked it only slightly better than being set down on a non-moving surface. At best, when she was throwing a fit, we had to first heavily calm the baby for much time before strapping her into the swing next to a rolled up swaddling blanket, and this was only useful for less than an hour, and baby still needed some attention. Perhaps future months will find more use? But then she will be out of her fourth trimester when the swing would be most useful.
What I and my baby prefer over the baby swing is a very simple bouncer seat. The batteries only make vibration, and any bouncing is done by me or baby. The seat is very easy to carry from room to room with baby in it (the seat says not to carry baby in the seat, but any half smart person can intelligently place their hands). As the book explains, bouncers that bounce themselves don't bounce enough and that you can bounce baby harder yourself at least 5 seconds to calm her, so this bouncer seat is great. Important lesson: you can also apply this bouncing rule when baby is not in the bouncer! I bounce her up and down about half a meter almost tossing her in the air each time so that, after 5 seconds, she is usually calm enough for me to quickly pop a pacifier or bottle in her mouth (in your case maybe a boob?) while I keep bouncing her in a less dramatic way.
Expectant Father by Armin Brott is a great introduction to read as you go month by month through the pregnancy. His New Father first-year book is also great, but I had to completely read in advance to get information that was useful in the first month. I was certainly a beginner when it came to anything about babies, so these books were filled with only things that everyone should think about. For the stuff I already knew or was common sense, it was nice to quickly read. He had several weird ways of bonding with the baby, which is great for him, but I would not intentionally (forcibly?) introduce things as early as he does. He had a weird way of cutting fingernails with scissors twice a week (other than the first time when you use a baby emery board to dull the sharp points they are born with, just use baby nail clippers every two weeks at first, then every week if they grow faster, but first Google how to do it without cutting into their finger; toenails are as needed with the clippers, which will be very rarely at first). He mentions using rubbing alcohol on the umbilical cord (no longer recommended even though the medical assistant at my pediatrician's office used some when it fell off in front of her). He also is too against swaddling, and he is was obviously paid by the crappy service babyfirsttv.com to advertise for them. Some of his timelines are strange, like when he says that babies will likely sit up for a couple seconds at 3 months. Other than things like these, I love the books! Other non-absurd perspectives are always nice.
Honorable mentions that don't much help us parent but were good for helping me set a good tone to my parenting: Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid by Shaun Gallagher and Pacify Me: A Handbook for the Freaked-Out New Dad by Chris Mancini. More importantly, they are very short reads that do not have to be read in order. Experimenting with Babies is a fun thing to talk about and gave me insight into my baby's brain. Pacify Me is written by a hilarious man child who truly loves his kids... it's great!
I was told that there would be a lot blood. This is true! I don't know why this isn't explained more in books or when you arrive at the hospital. Knowing this beforehand was great. Immediately after baby, a huge gush of blood followed, though this gush typically occurs some time after the birth.
I was warned that it can take a while to get the epidural after you ask (anesthesiologists are busy), and you have to make a point to ask even though you tell them at the beginning that you will want one. This was a great warning because you cannot get an epidural once things progress too far because the pain prevents you from being able to hold still enough. When asking, keep in mind that labor often speeds up at the end. At most hospitals, you can get one shortly after getting to 4 cm dilation, though there is no medical reason to not get one earlier.
You would think that hospitals would want to make money and would be more proactive in getting you an epidural at the correct time, but perhaps the issue is that women have all kinds of hormones, emotions, and societal expectations bouncing around their brains, so, perhaps even for legal reasons, hospitals have learned it best to obey her unless medically necessary.
Fun fact: My wife might have almost missed her chance to have an epidural! After 12 hours of labor, she was at 5 or 6 cm (out of 10 cm) dilation, and the doctor said that there was no rush, but she could now have an epidural at any time. A couple hours later, my wife was shedding tears and, even though I am built for emergencies, things were starting to feel traumatic, so I was strongly encouraging her to ask for an epidural, and she listened. Almost an hour later, she got one, and she was so happy and peaceful from then onward! Around 2 hours after the epidural, the doctor comes and discovers that the baby is very ready to come out! Who knows how long the baby was ready, so she might have almost missed her chance to get an epidural! Though, when I mentioned this, the doctor wasn't too worried. Due to the baby's velamentous cord insertion (the most velamentous that the doctor had ever seen), the doctor was immediately elbow-deep immediately scooping out placenta (and the baby poop likely caused by stress from the velamentous cord insertion) for several minutes, and, thanks to the epidural, my wife didn't even know! The doctor could also immediately put in a couple stitches for some very minor tearing without any extra pain relief. One of my wife's legs was numb for many hours later, but this was fine as they had a wheelchair for her to take her to bed to try to sleep. I am angry that not even the doctors recommended an epidural in case the scooping became necessary, though perhaps it is because they may have simply asked if she was getting one and she of course said yes, or maybe there would be time for an epidural before the scooping? Regardless, even though some labors and births are less painful than others, epidurals are great.
When he heard that I was expecting a baby soon, some guy started telling me how he wept when he held his baby for the first time. Good for him, and no judgement for male tears, but my experience was different. Holding my baby was the second time I'd held a baby in my life, and it just felt weird and also nice but felt more like a technical learning experience. For me, the unforgettable moment was when my baby went from being a fuzzy crumpled skull visibly poking out to an entire baby in a fraction of a second, and moments later she was crying on my wife's chest! But if you hate blood or whatever and that wasn't a good experience for you, or if that's not what happened for you, that's fine too!
A very smart coworker of mine gave me much better words of preparation. He told me several times that having a baby is a truly transformative experience, that I would be very tired, and that he was so excited for me. This is why being smart is so important! The one not-as-smart guy's advice was idealistic rather than realistic. This same not-as-smart guy then kept asking about how my wife was doing when she was sick to seemingly brag about how much he was praying for her, and it was more how he seemed to be bragging about everything that annoyed me. On the other hand, my smart coworker's advice was truly helpful and supportive.
Regarding sleep, a lack of sleep was my greatest worry when preparing to be a new father. With a fresh newborn, I got less sleep than ever before in my life, but, during the first month, it became my new normal, and you have a baby to take care of, so you are more alert than you'd expect. Though, after a couple months, my fears were justified because life goes to crap very quickly when you cannot sleep!
You should organize who wakes up throughout the night so that both people can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep. The same person should do the same part of the night each night so that the newborn's complete lack of schedule only decimates part of your sleep schedule. Though, after a couple months, the baby will likely have a block where she sleeps the most, so then alternate nights with your partner.
Oh, you're breastfeeding and don't pump yet? Oof. I get it. I always had the entire night duty because my wife was sick and recovering for a long time. I generally can handle tough stressful events well, but I cannot handle lack of sleep (perhaps because it prevents me from even handling simple events well), so my sleep situation was horrible for a while. After a couple months of my sleep schedule being ruined, I would randomly wake up even when the baby was sleeping, and I could hardly fall back asleep knowing that I'll have to be woken up again shortly to do the same routine all over again, though I could always fall asleep just fine the first time before being woken up in the middle of the night. When sitting there feeding her, I would get all kinds of creative late-night ideas that would keep my up because I was feeding baby then there is no chance trying to sleep with now a bunch of creative ideas in my head. Sometimes, I could stay in the moment, perhaps by singing something like "Hush, Little Baby" over and over, which helped. Another thing that helped was getting everything that I might want to do in the middle of the night done before going to bed. A final trick is, like the say, "sleep when the baby sleeps", which means that, if the baby falls asleep just after you get home from work and eat, go to sleep! Then, a block of several sleepless hours in the middle of the night won't crush you.
After a couple months, the situation is better because the baby sleeps more at night. Interestingly, after an initial block of much sleep, my baby would eat then usually hardly sleep for the next approximately 2.5 hours then eat again. This aligned nicely with my own sleepless period during the night, so it wasn't horrible.
Someone told me to sneak in solid food after the doctor says to stop eating solid food (solid food is not recommended after any Pitocin and certainly not after an epidural). Instead, we made sure to stuff our faces with pasta just before being induced. Eating during early labor could also work, so we brought plenty of snacks to the hospital. Honestly, solid food is probably fine throughout labor, but nausea and vomiting can certainly exist during labor as the body is no longer focusing on digesting complex foods, so just stick to juice and Jell-O if she is still hungry during the birth marathon.
I was warned that most women poop during birth, and, to make people who poop feel better, the nurses and doctor made it seem like a near certainly. My wife did not. It turns out that, even though the majority of women do poop, it is very normal not to.
What I learned very quickly is that everyone hides the truth to not stress out the mother. They will say that everyone poops instead of that most people poop. When my baby's heart rate plummeted to a small fraction of what is was, the nurse and I quickly repositioned my wife without her even knowing what happened, and everyone would use the phrase "baby is uncomfortable" whenever her heart rate dropped. Also, my wife never knew until I told her afterwards that the doctor was elbow-deep scooping out her uterus for several minutes.
We were told by the hospital to burp our baby several times per feeding, which is correct, but we were told to do it for 5 minutes for each burping session, which is at least 10 minutes each feeding. I immediately noticed that my baby typically burped during the first several seconds of being burped (or randomly when not being burped). When my pediatrician was watching me burp her and quickly said "that's enough" after 30 seconds and no burps, my suspicions were confirmed: the hospital gave us bull crap. They lied to us because patients are idiots who won't burp their babies enough unless you tell them to do it far longer than necessary because most of the time their technique is probably crap and is doing nothing and they may not have any sense of time. In reality, you learn when the baby likely needs to burp, and this does sometimes take a few minutes, but the correct technique can make it faster. More important than more time is changing positions throughout the burping session, and I do always do extra burping at the very end of feeding, partly because my baby sometimes likes it!
Some people told us to wake up our newborn every 3 hours to feed. The baby gives hunger cues when hungry! Then it cries if still not fed. Then it screams. It's as simple as that! Of course, knowing that a newborn should be feeding roughly every 3 hours is very good to know.
People say that bed sharing is bad, and it is. You certainly shouldn't put baby next to you in bed surrounded by blankets and swinging arms and people. However, I have found that, if I prop up my head and shoulders and put baby perpendicular to me on her back on my torso away from covers, there is very little risk of danger. I do something similar on a chair with armrests using a breastfeeding pillow (buy one!). When the baby was very small, I had her lying parallel to me on me, but then my wife was bugging and poking me in her and my sleep once, and I woke up to the baby in a not great position. Just always be mindful which ways that baby could possibly roll, because you won't always wake up, and always be aware of where baby's face might get pushed into. I can have her parallel to me when I am lying on the couch if I put her on the safe side of me. As long as my head is propped up in bed, I can have her lie beside me parallel to me with my arm along either whole side of her body (sometimes even having her upside-down). I also worked out a position where I face her lying on my side. Falling asleep with baby is very useful when she repeatedly won't let you put her down at night, and it can only make the upcoming day better because babies cry less the more they are held and touched; however, after several months, baby needs to learn to soothe herself, so bed sharing should be minimized. Eventually, babies learn to roll from back to belly, so then stop. By then, it's probably time to put baby in a crib probably in its own room. Also, don't be stupid: no alcohol, meds, etc. while doing this!
If you still are not convinced that bed sharing can be safe, you are the type of person who is responsible enough to do it safely! I was reading that, when video taped, many people who bed share have the baby in unsafe positions most of the time, which is why the rule people give is simply not to do it. If you aren't an idiot and can make observations and good decisions, you can find good safe positions like I have. In fact, I was questioning the messaging about bed sharing because moms who breastfeed must certainly sometimes fall asleep while doing it. They do! It turns out that bed sharing by smart people can be very safe, but don't tell everyone because most of them are idiots.
We got a neat Pack 'n Play thing that has a bassinet mode that can be pushed to the side of a bed. A towel and pool noodle are used to fill the crack, and, if bed sharing, the baby goes between you and the bassinet. I love it! I can quickly fix a pacifier, wrap a swaddle blanket tighter, move her quickly back and forth from bed and bassinet, or just place my hand on her to kinda swaddle her and calm her. I also set up the feeding station in the bedroom so that the baby can stay in a mostly dark room all night (a light-sensing night light was useful), except for diaper changes in the nearby slighlty-lit room where the changing table is. I initially thought that I didn't need a changing table, but I greatly appreciate the high railings and all the storage underneath (for diapers, wipes, swaddle wraps, swaddle blankets, burp cloths, little wash cloths, booger-removal saline and sucker, thermometer, baby nail clippers, not-massively-expired Butt Paste, and, from the pet aisle, large training pads). The training pads are to put on the changing table until it gets poop on it and another one is needed! Having a small laundry hamper nearby is also a great trick.
Bottle sterilization is promoted by many people. Sterilization in modern cities with modern water supply is useless. Though WebMD gives opposite advice in different articles, perhaps not knowing what country the reader is in. Soap, especially antibacterial soap, is enough just likely it always is for anything else that is washed. Though, many people don't correctly wash things leaving milk and bacteria residue behind, so let's not tell everyone this secret.
Everyone says to not shake a baby. It turns out that babies love bouncing where their heads gently slosh around like Jell-O! They were bounced like this whenever mom exercised during pregnancy. When people say "shaking a baby", they mean a truly violent act that can only be done out of anger by a very stupid person.
You don't always have to support the head. Yes, the newborn is two loosely-connected big lumps (head and torso) that each need to be carried, but nothing bad happens if you don't constantly support the head. The chin should never be pushed into the chest (baby cannot easily breathe this way), but, other than this, necks can go various surprising directions! I would never tell a stupid person this because they might then start swinging babies head around causing neck and brain injury, but don't worry at all about heads flopping or hanging from time to time. If, when playing with your baby, instead of the two previously mentioned lumps, you and baby want you to hold her by two legs or by a leg and adjacent arm, go for it man. Now, if you want to hold her by two toes...
Everyone officially gives the same advice for formula made from powder: store up to 24 hours in the fridge, up to 2 hours at room temperature, and up to 1 hour after the baby has started to drink it. Bacteria like Salmonella need a certain amount of bacteria to be ingested, so a time limit does make sense, but this can't obviously be complete advice because it doesn't take the baby's age into account (I regularly eat perishable things that have been sitting out for long times, and I only ever get sick from restaurants), and it doesn't worry if baby is already sick (babies sick with respiratory illness can easily get ear infections from bacteria). Aren't the main threats viruses like the flu and RSV, which are prevented using vaccines and hand washing? Viruses cannot replicate outside the body on a bottle. Also, I hear that autoimmune diseases are likely reduced for kids living on farms, in daycare, or around pets, where they get more exposure to bacteria.
For the baby's first month, be the most careful, but much more realistic advice is, soon after the baby's stomach has grown after the first week, increase from 60 mL (2 ounces) to 120 mL (4 ounces), fill the bottle not super long before it will be needed, put in the fridge until needed, then just put the bottle back in the fridge for up to several hours after using it, which is what my pediatrician recommended for my 4-day-old baby. Some people fill a pitcher of formula for the fridge then fill bottles as needed, which has various pros and cons. Rarely, babies don't like cold milk, so then either get a bottle warmer, or just keep the bottle sitting out because I feel like spending energy towards cleaning the house would be a better use of time.
If you get a pitcher, I recommend filling it enough to get you to the next evening. They come with fancy mixers that are hard to clean, so I just used a spoon, being sure to stir sooner than later to prevent clumps. I also noticed that many (most?) pitchers are for left-handed people because the measuring scale cannot be seen if using your right hand.
When cleaning a bottle, I recommend having a bottle brush set on hand to get into all the areas, then look to see how well it worked in all nooks and crannies. If your cleaning brush prevents you from correctly cleaning the bottom of a long and narrow bottle, rinsing the bottle and soaking the bottom right away made later cleaning much easier (else I resorted to a little brush at the end of needle-nose pliers). A dishwasher can be nice for the bottle itself which can be propped upside-down, but the nipple does not work well, so I never bothered with the dishwasher.
Getting vaccinated and washing hands when you get home are easy things that regularly save us the pain of getting very sick, so we should obviously do them. However, looking at the statistics, if we actually cared about our health and lives, we would never get in a car. Obviously, I recommend living life over avoiding cars, just like I recommend not constantly throwing away milk after feedings. We should buckle your seat belt in the car, just as we should put formula in the fridge when reasonable.
Babies can actually see far away. Everyone told me that they cannot, and there are all kinds of absurd images online of what babies see at what age, but I was Googling around for why babies cannot see far, and I could find nothing. The only science source I could find said that newborns simply have a hard time focusing at farther distances. I believe the truth to be that babies just have a hard time keeping focus at that distance much like they have a hard time holding their heads up for a long time. Evidence for this is that mine does see both near and far distances (at 1 month). She loves looking at ceiling fans and will bend her neck around to stare at them even across the house in another room. The ceiling fans are turned off because it is winter, so she isn't just detecting motion (she stops looking when it turns on or even moves at all). Also, the light of the ceiling fan does not need to be on.
I thought of a great experiment! Close one eye, hold your finger in front between your face and a window, and focus the one eye on it. You can still see things "infinitely" far away! The laws of optics do not change when you are a baby. In fact, to make the experiment more to scale, have someone else hold up a finger about 1.5 meters away from you, which makes the distant background even clearer. Though, it is the eye size that matters, and baby's have relatively large eyes, so maybe 1.5 meters is too far.
Nipples on bottles should widen slowly with a small slope. Old but still somewhat recent advice was to have a wide base like a boob, but we now know that babies pull in breast tissue to form a different "pizza slice" shape, which has also been shown to help them latch! It certainly helps my baby latch! Which means that she gets the nipple deeper in her mouth and doesn't spill milk everywhere. Note that even narrow nipples can have the wrong slope at the base.
The Dunstan Baby Language is slightly useful for the first month even though it has not been proven (or disproven). I believe that the theory to be too strong to be true, and vocalizations are probably a bit different for each baby, but knowing about the sounds that babies can make has been helpful. Nearly every or perhaps every time my baby said "neh" during her first month, she was hungry or at least wanted a bottle because "neh" is the sound that comes out when fussing while moving their mouths the way they do when hungry. When she said "eh eh eh" a few times at a couple weeks old, she needed to be burped each time. Personally, I find body language to be just as useful. Straining means pooping. The sound of pooping and the sight of an expanded diaper are also signs! Hunger cues mean hungry. Crying could mean literally anything.
Does understanding the sounds even matter? Not really, because, when a baby cries, just check their diaper and offer a pacifier and eventually food and burping. If the baby is throwing a fit, do the 5 S's possibly adding leg movements or clockwise belly rubs if the baby might need to poop! But I do want to try to notice any communication that my baby will eventually give me.
From what I can tell, breastmilk is, depending on the climate, between 80% and 90% water, which would actually be a huge change in the percentage of non-water ingredients, so maybe these numbers aren't super precise. When hot, breastmilk will have more water. Why then are we told not to change the water content when mixing formula? They say that too much water prevents the baby from getting adequate nutrition, and too little water prevents healthy digestion of the formula, which all is probably true. But what must also be true is that a smart person can change the water content a bit. In the winter, my house can be a bit cool, so baby was not sweating much but was peeing almost clear pee like crazy. So, I used a bit less water and a bit less formula for each bottle, which I stopped doing when the baby seemed to have gas because why risk crying!
From what I can tell, the preference for being right or left handed forms before age 1, so I play with my newborns right hand or swaddle her left arm extra well (using a swaddle wrap, but the right flap over the left arm). I obviously want both arms to get strong, but with a preference towards the right hand. I'm not sure if it will work, but we'll see. I'll certainly put any bottle, toys, or spoon in her right hand. Once she gets a preference around age 1, I'll respect the way her brain works.
Baby massage is the new fad. Data shows that massage, cuddles, or other touch help the baby cry less. News alert: babies want love. If you have to read a book or go to a class to learn how to gently caress and tickle your baby (always slowly!), then go do it, though it's hard to imagine how, without knowing how to caress and tickle, you convinced someone to have sex with you. I suppose the classes are for the extroverted verbal people? My baby started to noticeably enjoy tickles and me moving my hand along her body at 1 month, but cuddles have always been calming.
Some baby books tell men that there are other types of sex than vaginal and that your sex life will change. I like some good sex advice as much as the next guy, but shouldn't anyone who is having a kid be mature enough to know that sex is always an evolving story and that it was never best to have to stick your manhood in her every time you have sex? You should work out how to have a sex life before having a baby. You now get to sleep with the sexy mother of your children, and, if you take advantage of this great opportunity to be a great father, she will likely very much want to share her sexy mom bod with you.
Daycare will probably be necessary for your happiness, which is important for the baby's happiness, and to make society as a whole function. Even if you have the money for one of you to be stay-at-home, dealing with a baby gets annoying after many consecutive hours, though this can work if the working parent works from home or there are other people coming over sometimes. Because babies need vaccines before attending daycare, most daycares won't take babies until they are a couple months old. I have no experience with more than one kid, but, in the case of multiple kids besides just a baby, your brain might be kept busy enough, and they can help watch each other, so daycare could be unnecessary and be more expensive than going back to work. In the case of one kid, daycare allows the baby to socialize, which doesn't seem super important for the first year (or two).
You and your parter will need to take a couple weeks off of work. Because babies need vaccines before attending daycare, someone will need to take a couple months off of work. Regardless of what your employer wants from you, these are minimums.
Assuming you don't have daycare yet and that you are just figuring out how to be a parent, a newborn is a 1.5 person job. One person could technically do it all, but it is really nice to have someone else to prepare meals, to talk to, to help with baths and trimming nails, and to hold her from time to time, especially if there are other responsibilities or the baby is difficult. My understanding is that most newborns do not let you put them down most of the 24-hour day (or even let you sit down for much of it). By the way, a trick is to wait about 10 minutes after baby falls asleep to put her down.
Daycare, especially full-time daycare, is not great for babies under 1 year old. At this time, one-on-one positive attention is frequently needed to help them develop secure attachment. However, if home life does not provide this type of attention, daycare can be an improvement from home at any age. By the time a child is 2.5 years old, a good daycare becomes a good thing giving new experiences and interactions. With this said, daycare is never a horrible thing, especially for girls for some reason. Daycare before age 1 will only make the average child slightly more aggressive later in life.
If you are a parent and are expecting your parents to provide free daycare, you are in the wrong unless they want to, but keep in mind that children raised by elderly grandparents are often developmentally behind, though I suspect that babies (under the age of 1) are better off with grandparents than daycare. If you are a capable grandparent and are not willing to help out from time to time in ways that actually help the parents, you are in the wrong unless the parents keep popping out more kids. Especially if both parents have careers, raising babies needs empty-nesters and others to help out. Grandparents signed up for this when they decided to become a parent assuming we support them to find love and live full lives in return. Honestly, it gives them something important to do for once. Keep in mind that grandparents should have the freedom to do many of the fun things with the baby, because they earned it! When my wife was in the hospital for several weeks, my mom coming by for several hours most days to cuddle the baby was very helpful, and, even though there were some minor protests, she enjoyed it too. My dad also would have come, but when he offered to cut his long vacation short, I told him that I didn't want that for him.
As for children getting knocked up, I suppose I would feel the responsibility to raise my grandchild if it were already past the time for early-term abortion. I will certainly try to give my child a rich life so that they do not need to overly cling to high-school relationships or try to get married before age 25. I will teach her to have safe sex only when she's ready and that teens can get IUDs. She will know that her getting pregnant too early will damage many people's lives. If I had a son, I would teach him very similar things. If you are too awkward to talk about sex with your child, man up and grow up.
Perhaps it's because I've seen the grandparents give advice to teenage parents to prevent them from killing the baby, but I had the idea that the new grandparents would be overflowing with wise or useful advice. Instead, each person had at most one or two useful tips or behaviors worth emulating. Grandparents simply aren't interested in the details and will go off on some other thing such as stories about when I was a kid or how things are different now. They probably never figured things out enough at the time, and, if they did, they don't remember anymore. Good resources are your partner, a male friend who is a parent, and, if needed, other recent parents. With this said, my mom telling me a couple times that I was doing a great job as a parent really made me feel better.
I was excited by the thought that my wife's parents were interested in cooking for us once the baby arrived, but this wasn't what I expected either. Meat was half raw, veggies were very mushy, dressing was expired for years (rancid), foods were microwaved in plastics that were not microwave safe, much was extremely processed foods, and food was often delivered at times when my wife and I were both out of the hospital and not working. Other than this, it was delicious! As was the case with any parents, strings were attached. In this case, strings were to satisfy the mother-in-laws ravenous social appetite for chat (barking up the wrong tree with me). She is very unable to take constructive criticism (a trait this is incompatible with me and with growing as a person), so, many years ago when I first was trying to help by pointing out that some other salad dressing was vastly expired and rancid, I quickly learned that she does not care to be informed of anything.
Babies are very stupid and very smart, but mostly very stupid. Animals whose babies come out of their moms being able to do many things can never become very smart because their brains are not flexible. Humans, on the other hand, are almost a blank slate at birth (except for various reflexes that help feeding and survival), which allows for the development of much more general intelligence. Since human babies have the potential to be smart and to quickly learn, they can be considered smart if you really need to think that.
I don't think we should need to think that our baby is smart. Babies need love and attention to form secure attachments with as many adults as possible. They need to know that they are incredibly important to you. They need unconditional love, not unrealistic parents who believe that their children are perfect and can do no wrong, which prevents growth and learning because how could an already perfect child grow? Let's nip the naivety in the bud, and lovingly know that our newborns are stupid! Once they can understand our attitudes and words, we let them know not to be afraid of failure because, at this age, the truest failure is not trying to learn and improve!
Babies do not learn object permanence until many months, which means that they have no good concept of who you are other than being sensory patterns that are familiar. Newborns do not become attached to you, though we can bond with them. How thankless!
A baby's brain is very slow. Did you tease her upper lip with a pacifier for 5 seconds then she pushed it away? Immediately try again because her brain may not have realized what was happening yet.
At the end of the day, we don't have any idea what goes on in a baby's mind, though scientists do have data based on some limited observation that gives us some hints. Though it seems very obvious to me that newborns have no meaningful concepts. The are mostly the lowest levels of thinking: sensory and motor processing. Heck, many adults are bad at higher-level thinking! Though, at one month, they do start to understand some very basic cause and effect.
For about a month when my wife was quite pregnant, I was weirded out by the thought of having penetrative sex because of the baby being there. Now that I see how stupid babies are, there was clearly nothing to worry about!
To give babies some credit, even fresh newborns have preferences, perhaps formed from bouncing and sounds heard in the womb. Preferences imply a certain amount of sensory processing. Familiar things can be processed more easily, so baby is learning enough so that things can be familiar. Also, around one month, my baby started pushing away bottles or pacifiers when they were unwanted, which either means that she has an awareness of her body and the consequences of her actions or just that, after accidentally doing it a couple times, she learned that a particular motion moved unwanted things from her mouth. Though, this behavior lasted only a week, so I think it was just random reflexes or something.
Regardless, knowing how stupid my newborn is (she didn't react at all to objects like my hand moving quickly towards her face until 3 months) does not affect my love for her because she has such great potential to finally become a human being one day. Maybe when she turned 3 months old?
Some newborns mostly only poop in certain situations. For a couple weeks starting shortly after 1 month, mine mostly only pooped while I was feeding her. I think that during feeding is a common time for babies in general, which is nice because then I can change her right away preventing diaper rash and diaper blowouts. Regardless, when a baby poops, wait a few minutes because she likely just started! One day, she pooped just a bit when my wife was feeding her than much more after I gave her a pacifier shortly later just. After this, she was "cured" and pooped whenever!
Colic is defined by the amount that a baby cries. It is likely not fixed by treating gas (rather, the crying can cause gas), and it rarely is caused by a known complication. Most of the times, it seems to be just a phase that all babies go through but just more severe. Babies during the fourth trimester tend to get most fussy towards the middle (at 6 weeks) then get less fussy as the fourth trimester ends, typically mostly in the evening. I believe that babies get fussier as they start rapidly grappling with the complexity of the sensory world and motor world. At birth, I don't think they can tell the difference between musical instruments and talking, and they cannot smile in response to happiness. As they develop, they can start to tell the difference between things, giving them much more to process and prefer, and I believe that the old comforts of the womb are the only things that can soothe the terror of losing their naivety. As reflexes go away and new desires emerge, the baby may get frustrated with what they need to do to get what they want. Some rare nights, I could figure out what she wanted: to stare at lights or be moved into weird positions. Most nights, various mixtures of the 5's were needed to calm her. Some nights, the problem was gas.
From what I've read and experienced, try to feed baby as much as possible at each feeding rather than frequent feedings. Of course, if baby is hungry, feed her, but I just let her take her time and some short breaks or even doze before giving up. Gently wiggling the bottle can also inspire her if she got distracted. If she starts dripping lots of milk because she is no longer swallowing, I stop. The first time I tried feeding her frequently instead, I eventually put her on her back and she vomited onto her eye and over the carpet. This was when she was a couple weeks old. The next time she vomited was at 8 weeks when feeding her an hour after a previous meal.
Even though true sleep training shouldn't start until 4 months or older, there is plenty to do to help prepare! The first thing is to have a dark house after a time such as 7pm or 8pm, and play brown noise so that everyone can sleep. Baby is to be swaddled as much as possible during the night. Try to do minimal playing with the baby at night: only diaper changing, feeding, and calming. This eventually clearly gave my newborn a good routine that made her know that night was for resting, and, starting around 8pm would almost always be her longest sleep of the day. Another thing I learned from experience is to not overly snuggle the baby just bedtime but to allow her to have a bit of a fit, which is perhaps why many people recommend a routine bath just before bed. Lastly, I read that, during the day, some people suggest that baby should not go more than 4 hours without eating if you want her to sleep through the night, so, several times, I woke her during the day to feed her, especially when it is nearing her bedtime.
A bit after 2 months, the next thing I noticed was that my baby was learning that snuggling next to me in bed meant sleep, which is great when she is fussing and needs to sleep, but she learned that this was now the only way to sleep at night. When I realized that she seems to have the ability to learn how she likes to sleep, I decided to try Harvey Karp's "wake and sleep" strategy by moving her to the bassinet even though it would wake her up (not to be confused with the much more well known "wake to sleep" method). She needs to learn to sleep away from me! The idea is that falling asleep again from a mild awakening in the bassinet can teach babies to do this. Unlike if she were to sleep next to me, she would then often start fussing in her bassinet at various times throughout the night, so I just put my hand on her to calm her back to sleep. I feel that the most important thing is that the baby knows that I will be there when she needs me, so I always calm her, but I don't have to linger. I have read that some babies can do sleep training at 3 months, so this laying this small foundation at 2.5 months seems appropriate, even though I usually am too asleep to do it. Regardless, getting her out of my bed allowed me to ease my back and arm cramps from the safe position I would prop myself up into. Harvey Karp's book recommends to only do this when the baby's tummy is full (she recently ate and ate enough) else baby will wake up, which I have experienced to be good advice. Though, I quickly stopped doing this because, in her bassinet, my baby would frequently wake up needing me to calm her by placing a hand on her body.
My wife and I have always marveled at how bad some couples are at handling issues like finances, sex, chores, and children. We strongly believe that bank accounts should be kept separate, except for using something free and secure like Zelle to reimburse the other for half of large shared expenses (or, if one person because a stay-at-home parent, Zelle could be used more frequently for other reasons). Strict accounting is not appropriate, and the more frugal person will end up paying for more shared things, especially for wise investments, which is only natural. Enjoy life and go on trips, but, if you are too financially irresponsible to live within your means, don't have kids or get married. If there is no overlap between the size of the desired family, don't date for long. If the other person has red flags such as a victim mentality that they won't address, science tells us that we should break up sooner than later.
Regarding chores, whoever wants something done should be the person to do it, but make sure to generously try to make your total contributions as large as possible. And we can't complain when we are unwilling to do the chore, so, when my shirts always end up in a wrinkled pile after laundry, I can either do the laundry myself (even if 80% of it weren't hers, I'm good) or live with it. There will still be some conflict. I make far fewer messes than my wife and am initially more organized, but she also cleans and organizes much more frequently than I would to counter her messes. However, she sometimes messes up my organization, and, since some of the cleaning responsibilities have fallen to me, I am annoyed by how much harder cleaning is when simple preventative measures are not taken. I'm a visual person, so, if someone moves my stuff, a bunch of information is destroyed, and my wife now tries to remember to let me know if she moved something, and there are a couple things she does to prevent the worst messes that I have to fix. In return, I work on using complement sandwiches to bring up issues because she experiences anxiety and reaches all kinds of untrue conclusions when I ask her to do something. To her credit, I know of a person who I am not married to who not only moved around my stuff, but changed the settings on my clothes dryer and threw away some of my stuff!
With a family, coordinating chores, insurance, and life needs to be more explicit, but the same principles of generously helping out in ways that you can and being considerate of the other person still apply. I hate shopping, social media, and social events, so my wife was the one who got all the baby stuff from stores or people. I like simplifying and organizing, so, once the baby was here, I made streamlined systems that allowed us to being coordinated. She had to take powerful meds at night for a couple months, so I took night duty and, especially at first, did much of the baby handling during the day, while she would support me.
As my wife recovered and felt better, she would ask how to do things, and sometimes I would point out how to do things, but, because I was doing most things and I was open to her sometimes trying things her way, she was happy to listen. Attention to mechanical detail isn't her strong point, so I let some things slide. We are two rational people who can make things work! In general, the person who isn't doing most of the work should listen to their partner, and the person doing most of the work should encourage individuality in their partner.
If your partner is not mature enough to take responsibility for their family and you have kids, I am so sorry, unless you already knew that they were irresponsible, which you probably should have. We are all young and stupid once, which is why I think that 25 should be the minimum age for marriage or having children. This simple rule would fix various issues in the world! I personally dodged a bullet by leaving a long-term relationship from my youth in my mid 20's. A person having been in relationships with many irresponsible people is a huge red flag. Work on your self awareness and on managing your insecurities, because healthy, responsible people are not interested in people who base important decisions on insecurities. Learn to be happy being single before getting in a relationship!
May I suggest that the true secret to making things work is being wise and smart? Out of all of the life and relationship disfunction everywhere in the world, there is almost always a stupid decision that started it. Smart and wise people can navigate around the insecurities that cause many of our core problems. No, the bandaid of "being nice" to prevent hurting weak people's feelings is not the true solution at all, though it becomes necessary for the people who are unwilling to grow. We need strong people who value facts and wisdom and who can truly know themselves. Of course, all children need us to be nice because they haven't possibly outgrown their stupidity yet!
I found that some people (most women) tend to make being around babies seem uninspiringly boring. Yes, babies are often eventually cute, and snuggling your own baby is amazing. This is enough for many women who go on and on about it and buy unnecessary little outfits for them. It is very possible to very much enjoy babies but in our own way, and we don't have to feel pressured to be as gentle or civilized as society might expect. Women should not feel pressure to care about silly things like outfits either, even if society demands that they keep up certain appearances. If they want to care about them, that's fine too!
When my wife was in the hospital, she was unable to communicate much, so I had to guess what she might want. I came across some Halloween outfits, so with the help of some great ladies who really got into it, we did a photo shoot on Halloween because my wife loves photos (because she is creative and fun rather than because of societal pressure). I can't say that the photos were super fun for me to organize, but it was nice to do something for my wife, and maybe the baby will like it when she's older. It is nice to have cute nice photos to send people, though I still prefer sending the funny ones.
Some cute things I do enjoy is a small Christmas ornament of a baby stroller and monthly photo props that baby holds at each month for a photo (in their normal but still cute clothes). Other than these few cute things, I wish to immediately donate many non-useful gifts that my wife received for the baby that weren't from the registry (no one needs more onesies, which are 10 cents each at our local used-children's-stuff store). I'm on the fence regarding baby books. I certainly never cared about when my first tear was or what song was popular, and I can't imagine wanting to do one for future children, which makes me think that it is slightly spoiling her. Personally, in my digital journal made of monthly text files, I have a unicode symbol that denotes baby things, where I write about what baby is doing, so I could use this and photos to come up with interesting slides or whatever one day. You know, to show her prom date.
Short of carrying the sofa the baby is lying on, I have figured out every single possible wacky way of carrying my newborn that she might enjoy. This and other things bring me joy. I love explaining to her funny things like how when she eats turkey one day it will go in her feed hole, down her neck, and through the gullet to her poop shoot (nutrients will travel through her blood tubes). Due to her many silly (loud) farts, I explain to her that in her past life she was a stinky stinky cow who was such a good cow that, when it died and became a cow angel, it could come back as a cute human baby. Since my baby is highly active with long and slender legs, I narrate to my poor wife about how our baby will soon leap up and grab hold of the not-moving ceiling fan, then leap to the other now-slightly-spinning ceiling fan to crop dust us with her farts to shortly after let go at the correct time to land in the spot of her choosing on her fingers and long toes to claw her way back to us. I have never technically tossed her, but she loves the feeling of free fall (with my hands always touching her). In addition to normal songs, I also sing silly songs to her that often are not for the easily offended, which I will probably clean up before she turns one year old. I will probably do many things differently as the baby gets older because we just need to do what the baby needs rather than making things all about our needs, but I will try to not live up to society's expectations when it is affecting my ability to enjoy my baby without actually affecting my baby. I really just want to be there as she experiences new, sometimes scary, things!
Pee is fine. As long as you aren't regularly drinking large amounts of it, don't worry about it getting on clothes, though consider mopping up anything that can be mopped up, and maybe throw peed-on things in the wash the next time you planned on doing laundry. Of course drenched clothes should be removed to dry as it can bother baby. If the pee is poopy (from traveling through poop), then it's time to wash hands (and whatever else).
Don't use wipes for diaper changes that are only pee. It's best for baby and for you.
Poop is a different story. Use all the wipes! The wipe-front-to-back rule is great, but some people take it too literally. Obviously, you have to wipe the baby's back in the direction towards the butthole.
Once baby starts eating more than formula at 6 months, the poop will start to smell bad, so you might want a diaper pail. We obtained one for free, and, to prevent having to constantly maintain it, we only put the poopy diapers in there.
When changing diapers, the only way that I can reliably not get peed on regularly is to change pee-only diapers very quickly. Yeah, sometimes she'll immediately pee in the new diaper, but who cares. For poo diapers, if they aren't super full, I blow cold air for 10 seconds with the hopes that any inspired pee can be aimed into the old diaper. Some weeks, she would always pee immediately, so I learned to always try to wait 10 seconds for every diaper.
Some people use wipe warmers. We were given one from someone, but it dried out the wipes and generally seemed like a hassle, and it doesn't help the problem. The cold air is what usually seems to make her pee. Also, why would you get your baby used to warm wipes? Though I hear that some babies just hate cold wipes, especially in cold homes.
I hear that, because disposable diapers are so absorbent, you don't actually have to change pee diapers for many hours such as all night! This could be useful knowledge! I wasn't able to use this information for a newborn because she cried frequently enough that I kept changing her wet diaper in case it was the reason for the crying. Regardless, do eventually change baby's diaper to prevent diaper rash. Though changing a poopy diaper is much more important for preventing diaper rash and preventing huge messes.
My newborn had long scrawny legs. If yours does too, in addition to making the diaper tight enough, slightly lower where you fasten the velcro to wrap the legs tighter, but not so much that her little butt pops out. Then, even if it's cold, use a simple bodysuits (the clothes with snaps around diaper, often incorrectly called onesies) to secure the diaper to her little bum, which come in long-sleeves, which can include little cuffs that act like optional mittens. If wearing footie PJs (actual onesies), the long legs won't fit well and will prevent fabric from holding the diaper in place. Since I can only use a bodysuit and I dislike all the socks and pants and mittens that just fall off anyway, when I put her down, I just lightly swaddle her legs in a blanket to keep her legs warm in the winter. Socks especially are useless. I like this system because I get easy skin-to-skin with her legs! Note that hats can be useful outside since blankets won't cover her head in winter and shade is needed in the summer, and, since hands always break free from a blanket, mittens can be useful too, though jackets take care of everything! I also eventually came around to the need for pants and socks when a baby carrier of mine had her little legs hang out of my jacket. Pants were useful in my daycare when they would put an extra layer on her if she had exposed legs. A somewhat obvious trick is to fold the bottom to make a cuff to prevent the hat from falling into their eyes!
Actually, Pampers (Swaddlers, their main product) have tighter legs! I thought maybe this was just because they are a bit smaller, but, once I moved up to Size 1 from Size N, their legs were still nice and tight (and my baby's thighs and butt were bigger)! Advice I was given was to not worry about a bit of money and move up a size as soon as possible to help prevent diaper blowouts. The next size up looked much larger making me hesitant to try it, but I took the advice and the diaper fit very well! It also seemed to be held up be her tiny bum better allowing for onesies!
Get the bodysuits with extra snaps making them much easier to take off when soiled and, once you figure out how, only slightly harder to put on. The normal bodysuits have to be taken off by pulling them down over the legs. I once used scissors to cut off some silly fancy bodysuit that my wife put on my baby because it was not made with fabric stretchy enough to be taken off without possibly hurting her. Also, the outfit was a very dark color, which made poop impossible to see (light non-brown colors are best!). Regardless, a small trick is to secure any middle snaps first whenever changing the diaper.
You will likely have to get up close and personal with your baby's anus. The best way of taking her temperature, especially at a young age, is via her anus, though this is far less stressful than you'd think. Put on a thin coating of Vaseline, then insert just the entire metal tip.
The best way of applying Butt Paste is with your finger, and the crack and anus are the most important parts! Wipe excess inside the clean diaper, then wash your hands. I'm not sure I actually needed any Butt Paste, but prevention is better, so I tried it several times to nip some very minor redness in the butt (bud).
I used receiving blankets to swaddle for the first couple weeks until she got stronger, then I needed larger swaddling blankets to wrap her in. I also would use SwaddleMe swaddle wraps when she would throw a fit or not calm down at night. At first, I would swaddle only when often needed and then until the next diaper change and feeding. But, at night, swaddle whenever you can! Soon, the swaddle wraps with velcro become then only things that will let you put the baby in the bassinet. Stop swaddling when the baby starts to roll over from back to belly when swaddled (maybe a month after rolling over without a swaddle). At night, put her down to sleep with as minimal interaction as possible, with the exception of feeding her as much as you can.
I was initially often worried if baby was too hot or cold. You'll know when she's cold because more than just her hands and feet will be cold, and she will eventually cry. If baby is being held or worn, she will likely not be too cold. My newborn would get tremors when cold even though the internet said that babies can't shiver yet. Also, against common wisdom, she seems to like being in the cold with little clothes much more than I do! If a baby is a bit too hot, many parts of her body will feel hot, but she likely won't cry, though her face might get red. Being too hot is more serious, especially because of the lack of crying, and being hot can cause SIDS.
There are many advantages to burping a baby over your shoulder: you can use a burp cloth on your shoulder (muslin are of course the best, and get a lot of them!), baby gets to be vertical, baby gets a bit of tummy time, and, if you really put them over your shoulder including their arms over your shoulder, you'll get out even stubborn burps. My baby is highly active (starting after 1 month), so, if not swaddled, this position lets her slowly wiggle down into some other strange position that feels more free and more like her choice making her happier. If you don't want baby to fall asleep on your shoulder and stop feeding, burp her over your knee!
I think the only time to wake a newborn up is to keep a good feeding schedule by waking her if she hasn't fed in more than 4 or 5 hours during the day, and this is only when she is a couple months old. You truly must have a great reason to wake a newborn! Generally, do not do it!
A couple times, when she seemed like she should be waking soon at night, I got the horrible idea to wake her so that I could feed her then sleep rather than getting woken up very soon or waiting awake for her to wake up. This might work, but it also can cause her to wake up and cry until she gets hungry, eats, then falls asleep at exactly the same time that she would have anyway.
Advice that a great nurse in the hospital gave me is to change a newborn's diaper before feeding. I started doing it the opposite way for a bit because she was becoming a fussy eater who would eat well if not done after throwing a fit during diaper change, but I soon learned the error of my ways when the diaper change would wake her up and cause her to throw a fit for much longer. I should have just skipped the diaper change!
If you have carefully built a life that does not contain mess, you probably don't need a will or any power-or-attorney forms. If you eventually discover that one of your children is a jerk, then consider a will and power-or-attorney form. Regardless, use Google to find the legal default of what would happen if you died or became incapacitated just to make sure you are happy with it.
Avoid giving another parent always or never advice. A parent told us to never be the one who breaks eye contact with our newborn. Well, guess when she always looks right at our eyes: while we're changing her diaper. I'm glad that this parent could bond that way, and I read that eye contact is beneficial. I like looking into her eyes even when changing a diaper, but I don't need pressure to follow another rule. Even little stuff adds up. When my wife was very sick, someone kept saying things like "you don't check your mail every day?" and "you don't know the last time you took a multivitamin?", when my wife usually checks the mail because I would only do it once a week (unless I'm rarely expecting something important in the mail), and I never really remembered to take my multivitamin because taking multivitamins isn't that important. Yes, this person was an older female relative. Yes, it was my mom.
Though, probably avoid giving stupid advice in general. I have been told several times to cherish time with my newborn because it goes so fast. No one with a baby on the internet feels this way. It does not go fast, and newborns are the worst stage. The empty nesters have just forgotten. Something much better to say is, "The days are long, but the years are short."
When dealing with family, you will get unwanted advice and will likely have to set boundaries. Regarding advice, people can talk all they want, and you can do whatever you want. Even if they are family, they cannot do whatever they want. They must obey you around your child, or they are not invited. Anti-vaxxers are a common cause of drama a family when they want to be around your baby. Relatives not obeying rules like not facing baby at screens is another cause. My incompetent and controlling mother-in-law is another cause, though she is welcome around my baby as long as she follows the rules.
To help you feel better about your relatives, listen to this juicy story. When my wife was in the hospital, the doctor recommended that only close family visit during the brief visiting period each day. My mother-in-law couldn't be bothered to visit her daughter or watch her granddaughter so that I could visit (children were not allowed to visit), and instead kept stressing me out with other things on top of this negligence. When she finally was going to visit for the first and last time, I get a call from her during visiting hours about how she is making pudding at home and had given a power-of-attorney form to the hospital, which she did completely without asking me. So, she could go the hospital to place herself at the center of power and center of attention but couldn't visit during visiting hours when her sick daughter probably wouldn't be the best audience for her social vampirism. Luckily, even though she was a lawyer, the power-of-attorney form was invalid because it wasn't dated or notarized (and no witnesses), so she was a very incompetent lawyer. Apparently, she had all of her kids sign a power-of-attorney form when they each turned 18, trying to get power over them even after they get married. Why is she this way? Probably her parents never much wanted her causing her to never be able to take any criticism or be able to not be the center of attention.
Women can drink alcohol while breastfeeding! They just have to wait many hours before feeding again until the alcohol is out of her bloodstream. There is no need to "pump and dump" unless to ease discomfort of mother.
I have noticed that people who should know how to hand a baby to someone don't know. Unless you want me slowly caressing your breasts, just normally holding the baby and walking towards me is not how! The giver needs to at least put their arms or hands perpendicular to baby. You know, actually hand the baby over.
I thought I had to suck out boogers whenever my baby was snorting due to congestion. It turns out that babies will swallow most boogers (some are sneezed out). You only have to suck them out if they are bad enough to cause trouble feeding! Use saline drops first, and I have learned, regardless of how much I think my technique has improved, never to use anything rigid to scoop out boogers!
A trick for the bulbs is to not have a more than a second between sucks, else the booger goes back. Another trick that sometimes works is to use the suction to grab on to a booger that you can then pull out, so you don't always just wait for all air to enter bulb before removing the bulb. Regardless, this is tricky, so the most important trick might be to use a Munchkin ClearNose instead!
For the first 6 months, shade is better than sunscreen, and baby sunscreen is better than sunburn on their easy-to-burn skin.
Screen time is bad! For babies, just turn their head away from the TV. As the child gets older starting at 2 years, they can be allowed to start the process of getting more screen time and more diverse media. As they start getting screen time, the best is to co-view with them so that it can be interactive. Video games are better than television. Here's the trick: the first time you give them a non-educational video game, they'll never go back, so keep it educational for as long as possible! If you wait too long to give them a phone (9th grade for example), they won't learn to use it responsibly, so start it phones in middle school and provide many rules and restrictions.
Does your newborn grunt? It can be normal! My baby grunts like an old man, especially when she's tired.
Obtaining things was a very useful skill for my wife when she was pregnant. It turns out that most parents are eager to give away their old baby stuff, and there are stores that have various used items for very cheap (especially newborn onesies and bodysuits because everyone gets tons of these at baby showers). From people my wife or I knew and from Facebook pages where people give away things by lottery, we got a lot of large items for free. Car seats should only be obtained from people you trust to ensure that they have not been in an accident, but we also got this and 3 bases from some generous people we trust.
We got most of the other items from an Amazon gift registry for our baby shower. I highly recommend this! If you do this, mark the stuff you'll need in the first several months as "must haves", which is something Amazon lets you do. Encourage people to ship items straight to your house, which is an option that Amazon lets you provide. Explain to the baby boomers that they have to order the item through the actual gift registry else someone else might order the same thing. We put good thought and research into our registry. I was personally annoyed by the crap we got (either useless or stuff we already had) from people not using the registry, though some of the random stuff was nice.
Be creative. To get diapers, we had a raffle at our baby shower, where diaper boxes above size 1 got you a ticket. Also, I got diapers from parents whose kids sized up before using the whole box. To get books, we asked people to bring a book to the baby shower and encouraged them to right our daughter a personalized note in the front cover.
I assume that your baby has not reached puberty yet, so bathing does not need to be frequent: once a week is plenty. Soap and shampoo are not needed, and I recommend against it (partly because it hides the great scent of a natural head!), though shampoo may eventually be necessary once hair eventually grows in enough. I took the little sponge that the hospital used on her. I use it for everywhere but the diaper area, and I clean the eyes and head first. I clean it with soap between baths.
The hospital gave our baby her first sponge bath, and I gave her another one a week later. Mine was a complete disaster. I learned to use a small (bathroom) sink. A bit more than a week later, her umbilical cord was off and sufficiently healed, so I could take the baby into the shower after my shower. This was great, though I greatly could have used someone to hand her back and forth (at the end, they can get baby using baby's towel). If doing the shower approach, especially do not use soap because it is slippery! Even without soap, a wet baby is slippery, so I always have a thumb-and-middle-finger grip around the back of her neck or her upper thigh.
You should of course Google the important places on the body to clean, and even Google didn't fully teach me something. At the time of her first non-sponge bath (technically, a shower), from all the guck I found in and around her privates, I learned a great lesson about how to change diapers: after cleaning the baby, you often have to spread their legs with a hand to get poo out of that area, and, for a girl, you have to also really get inside the labia majora's folds (certainly not the vagina itself!) sometimes with the help of a finger or two to spread things. About a week later, my next bath/shower showed a much better diaper area, but I still used my finger to rub the traces of crap out of the crease of her leg and to scoop out bits of stuff between her folds. Does your baby boy not have folds? Oh.
The next attempt was to use the bathroom sink, and it was still helpful to have a second person, but the baby enjoys the shower much more! No rush, but I'll probably switch to the tub as baby gets too large for a safe shower?
My wife got this neat water-activated temperature-sensing bath duck. It works just fine if you pour water over it for a bit. Honestly, the ideal range (when it turned green) seemed too hot for my showers! Keep in mind that I don't take super hot showers like many people do. The baby was perfectly comfy deep in the yellow. Keep in mind that, if you sit it on something wet after the bath, it will stay on for hours or days because the water is trapped underneath!
Some people buy body wipes to clean baby between baths. A wet washcloth is all you really need, and my newborn very rarely needed even this. Dried formula around the mouth will get wiped off by the burp cloth at the next feeding. I did once need a cotton swab for wax on the outside of one of her ears, and, when she vomited into her eye, I had to run that half of her face under the kitchen sink.
For me, going on walks with baby or wearing her was what I was looking forward to doing once she arrived into this world. For a newborn, I highly recommend a stroller that just lets you plop your newborn car seat into it and, for when baby is older, has a normal forward-facing stroller mode. I do not recommend a stroller with a bassinet mode because it is weird and awkward. Strollers are great for going to certain restaurants because it gives baby a "chair", though the car seat alone acts as a great chair (to be put on floor or table). If you have your car seat attached to your stroller, you can also remove it to swing or rock baby as needed.
In my mind, there are two types of baby carriers: ones for lounging and ones for walking around. For lounging, I liked the "stretchy wrap" carriers, especially this, but my wife preferred the full complicated wraps. The idea is, if baby is not being fussy, to put her in one of these just after feeding her, then she'll nap while you move around, and she'll stay asleep longer than if you just put her down. I also read that baby's who are snuggled more cry less, and this seems to be a great easy way of giving cuddles!
We also had obtained one of those carriers with straps (a soft structured carrier), which is great for walking but not for sitting. Baby and I are so comfy and stable in this! Our newborn was too small for it, even if I padded the bottom with a blanket (unlike her legs, our baby's torso is on the small side). In a month, she fit! Carriers, especially if worn under your jacket, help her stay nice and warm during the winter! Though, unlike the "stretchy wrap" carriers, her feet hung too low for my jacket and would get cold.
I learned that babies are just fancy tubes. The mouth is the tube's entrance, and the diaper takes care of the exit. To properly maintain flow through the tube when a milky breast isn't nearby, we need to understand bottle physics! Milk flows when there is more pressure just inside the nipple compared to outside the nipple. If the vertical liquid height is too large, there can be too much pressure and the flood of milk can make baby gargle and spit, so hold the bottle at an angle instead. If the bottle was removed from the fridge then immediately turned upside down to feed baby, the cold air in the bottle will expand as it quickly warms, and baby might spit.
Baby's suck reflex is great at reducing the pressure, but it can only do so much. As liquid is removed, the air stretches and provides less pressure, and baby will no longer get milk. My baby actually kinda likes this as it gives her extra time to be held while sucking. I recommend eventually moving the nipple to the corner of baby's mouth to break the seal to relieve the vacuum (rather than pulling it straight out, which distracts baby too much). You will have to do this more frequently if the air pocket in the bottle is small. If the liquid height is too high, even if baby takes a small break to cry or look around, air cannot always flow back through the nipple to relieve the vacuum, so hold the bottle at an angle. For night feedings, you can feel and hear the bubbles when air enters the bottle, so use this to know what is going on!
Capitalism provides us with many solutions to this problem! You can buy various "anti-colic" nipples and bottles, though they should be more correctly called anti-vacuum because they reduces the vacuum in the bottle. Or, to satisfy the marketing team, anti-gas because they possibly reduce gas in baby's belly because baby doesn't have to suck so hard. I had some Dr. Brown's bottles (with green vents), but even the Level 1 sized nipples flow too fast (9 mL/min) for my baby for the first month or two, especially with the anti-colic vents in the bottle. Another solution is using bottles with plastic liners. The solution I used was some slow nfant brand nipples I had that fit the Dr. Brown's bottles (as well as the pre-made disposable formula bottles my pediatrician gave me). They were 6 mL/min. They have a little vent built in. They usually work unless the liquid height is too high or the tiny vent wasn't probably cleaned (it's hard to notice if it's clogged), or the vent got weird somehow when tightening the nipple onto the bottle, perhaps from over tightening. Personally, I feel that all these vents are just a scam since my baby burps the same amount with or without them, though some parents claim that it helps their baby. I actually prefer bottles without vents because they don't ever leak too much and they are easier to clean. By the way, consider buying 8-ounce bottles so that you won't ever need new ones when baby is older, but these have a larger air-cushion that can cause milk to flow too fast.
Though, capitalism kinda sucks. Here are many reasons. Nipples—rather the rings or collars or whatever you call them—don't fit all bottles even when they look like they should, though you can sometimes get around this by swapping out or replacing just the silicone nipple. Many (most?) nipples such as Dr. Brown's are stupid shapes that do not help latch, though my baby could latch well onto their narrow nipples after growing to 9 pounds. And why do Dr. Brown's nipple rings have grooves on the inside where the silicone meets for seemingly the only purpose of trapping milk and germs? Just because one nipple ring works with bottle brands A and B, another nipple ring working with bottle brand A does not mean that it will work with bottle brand B. Lastly, I would think that the most important part of a nipple is having a consistent flow rate, but for both brands I tried, there was one nipple that flowed much faster than the rest (note that disposable nipples will always do this as they get older).
Nipples sometimes but rarely leak around the ring, but this can be quickly fixed by just loosening the nipple, twisting the silicone part of the nipple around a bit, then retightening it.
"But wait," you say, "where is the mathematical analysis of how bottle angle affects pressure?" Great question! Fluid pressure is proportional to vertical fluid height above the nipple's hole, and, ignoring the details of the bottle's complex shape, the fluid height is proportional to the cosine of the angle between vertical and the bottle. This angle goes from 0 degrees (straight up) to 90 degrees (horizontal), producing this graph. What we learn is that deviations from vertical do not initially much affect the pressure! That is, the slope at 0 angle is 0. Even "half way" at 45 degrees, there is still 71% of the pressure. This is why we should actually look at where the fluid line is compared to the nipple, which can be easily done without any mathematics! Keep in mind that a vacuum in the bottle can shift the whole graph downwards, and if the graph is below zero, bubbles can relieve the vacuum. Anyway, I wanted to find bottles that are wide with nipples that are narrow to avoid extreme changes in fluid height while having a good nipple, though I soon realized that narrow bottles are great because you can feed baby at more angles without the milk collecting in a corner of a bottle.
Do you keep spilling formula on the counter? I make bottles just next to the sink so that I can pour powder over the sink and have easy cleanup in case I still somehow spill. Pitchers or wide bottles avoid this problem. Also, stir or shake the milk quickly to prevent hard clumps from forming.
The pediatrician told me to aim for feeding my 4.15 kg (9.16 pound) baby 900 mL (30 ounces) of formula per day. Yikes! Much better advice is that babies will eat 2 to 2.5 ounces of formula per day per pound (130 to 160 mL/kg), and just feed them when they are hungry. As my baby got older, there were days she ate less and there were parts of those days that she ate even less, and I learned to not worry about it. At 9.16 pounds, my baby should have been eating 23 ounces per day at most, which is the much more common advice I could find online. No one, including the pediatrician, wants to give a too-low recommendation because people are stupid: (1) they forget that babies grow and need more over time, (2) they may be counting formula that is tossed down the sink, (3) they may not understand that 3 oz both now and 4 hours ago is not 6 oz in 4 hours but is 6 oz in 8 hours, (4) they can't measure accurately, and (5) they hear 30 but it sounds like 20 to them. Even if people weren't stupid, babies spit up, and poor latches cause milk to be wasted. Obviously, the correct answer on how much a baby should eat should be a range. My baby was not exactly following her growth curve due to low body fat, which might explain the doctor's huge number, but I can't worry about things that I cannot control.
I tried Pampers wipes in the hospital and at home, and the stupid things required two hands because you could empty the whole thing with just one slow pull (a quick flick of the arm could take out no less than 1.5 wipes). A fantastic nurse at the hospital recommended predicting the number of wipes you'd need and taking them out in advance with two hands. To a much lesser extent, Honest wipes did the same thing, but only two wipes at a time would come out. Maybe this is intentional for wipe warmers where it is hard to get a fallen wipe? Either way, I found this highly unacceptable and strange! Fisher-Price Smart Care were garbage for a similar reason: by the time you get your fingers through the tiny hole, 5 come out in a big wad, and stuffing them back through the hole is difficult. RICO brand is great!
All babies are different. My dad was potty trained at 12 months (chamber pot trained to be exact). My brother and I were consistently sleeping 8 to 11 hours straight at 2 months. My daughter was rolling from front to back on various surfaces including carpet just before 2 months (she is tall and thin, and we do a lot of tummy time).
I was surprised that babies not only need help being calmed when upset, but they also need help getting relaxed enough to sleep. Crying often means she needs gentle holding because she's tired or just needs to be put down. I would have thought that going to sleep would be the reaction to being tired, but I guess crying is the catch-all response.
It's not called a binky. That name exists for boring historical reasons and sounds like blankie. Paci is obviously an improvement. Or call it a sucky sucky. Do not Google it. If someone Google's it, call it a dinkus.
I have seen many people shove a pacifier in my baby's mouth then hold it in there for several seconds. Do you want my baby to hate her pacifier? I desperately want her to love it! Just gently tease her upper lip then slightly put pressure to put it in her mouth. If she pushes it out, try one or two more times. If she holds it in, before you let go, you can actually pull on it, so that she has to resist the pull and really suck it in.