This day last month, we gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. His name is Lucas Emmanuel. It’s been a sleep deprived thirty one days, but with plenty of learning along the way.
For the fathers and fathers-to-be, this is for you.
1. You are in charge of an actual human being. Surprise surprise. That’s a big responsibility. At some point that human being will grow up and be able to fend for himself, but right now, all he has is you.
2. You plan your days in two hour shifts. That’s how often the baby needs to breastfeed on average. Keep that in mind as outings with the wife and baby can stop at a moment’s notice.
3. Never underestimate the power of an extra hour of sleep. You’ll never know when you can have it back.
4. The wife goes through a lot. This is especially true if she’s breastfeeding. She takes the brunt of the sleepless nights, has to breastfeed (I’m told it hurts a lot), and has an uncontrollable need to worry about every little thing. Yes, that’s a muta. Or, the much scarier word, sleep crusts.
5. Going out with the baby is like packing for an overnighter. You bring all of the necessities; diapers, clothes, a blanket, alcohol, baby wipes, a car seat, a stroller just to name a few.
6. Breastfeeding is better, cheaper and healthier. At least, so I’m told.
7. Think of your day to day schedule as an outline that’s probably going to be broken. Don’t get too attached to it.
8. They say the days go by fast. It doesn’t feel like it right now, as I hold the baby on my left shoulder trying to burp him while typing this sentence with my right hand.
9. The sooner you accept that your six to eight hours of straight sleep is gone, the better you will handle it. It’s goooooonnnnneeeeeee.
10. Try not to match the baby’s energy levels when he cries. Cradling him really fast or saying things loudly probably won’t encourage him to sleep. Would you be able to sleep if a giant picked you up, talked to you loudly and shook you vigorously?
11. Thank God for relatives who want to carry and hold the baby. Every break is much appreciated.
12. Speaking of breaks, a dependable yaya is a Godsend.
13. He will test your patience. Just remember. They are babies. They are supposed to cry.
14. A regular baby cries when he is either hot, cold, hungry, uncomfortable, needs to burp or has too much poop in his diaper. Check those off the list when he acts up.
15. You and your wife will have very challenging moments. Take a deep breathe. Work it out. Then be gracious.
16. The baby won’t laugh at your jokes or look up to the airplane flying above. Surprisingly, they don’t do much. He might give you a high five if you wait long enough though.
17. Seriously, why won’t he laugh at my jokes?!?!
18. Beware the Poop. You will be surprised by the distance that thing can cover. When changing diapers, be very aware that there is a ticking time bomb right in front of you. The stories of poop exploding like shrapnel are real.
19. I find myself checking if the baby is alive. I get paranoid if he stops moving and simply sits there. That’s when I feel the need to nudge him a little bit. In the hopes, he’ll nudge back. After all, keeping him alive is the number one priority.
20. Know the personality of your baby. At first, I didn’t know what this meant. I probably still don’t because I only have experience with one. I was under the impression that all babies were the same. Apparently, that’s not true. Our baby complains when it’s too cold. He doesn’t like air conditioning. When he gets fussy, we walk outside and when the sun hits his skin, he calms down.
21. At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell him apart from other babies. For the first few days, I was certain that if you placed him lined up with ten other babies, I wouldn’t be able to pick him out. Then one day, I was mulling about my day and I thought of his face. There it was. His beautiful red closed eyed face.
22. He still feels unbelievably small. I’m waiting for that age when he starts to become less fragile. Then I can finally give him a proper firm hug and tease him a little.
23. The baby also makes weird grunting/whizzing/breathing sounds. I probably should have named him Anakin instead of Lucas.
24. The baby seems to be more comfortable in the bed. As much as I want him to get used to the crib, I also want to have a good night’s rest. I guess I sleep in the floor.
25. The wife doesn’t have the same sense of humor as me when it comes to the baby. She did not like this cartoon. Still funny though.
26. There’s always that one cradle/dance/exercise motion that calms the baby to sleep. Figure it out.
27. I can’t wait till he gets older. I’d love to be able to talk to him and ask his opinions about stuff. Before you know it, he’s going to be able to drive and maybe even one day crash the pickup.
28. If you guys plan to breastfeed, meet with a lactation expert. Before meeting with her, the baby didn’t poop all day. Then right after meeting her, he pooped five times in twenty four hours.
29. You will be talking about poop for a while. We were told to keep track of the color and texture. We have it written down in a note file. Brownish yellow… or as I like to call it, anapog. It’s weird.
30. It’s true. Everything changes. I still look at him and can’t believe we have a son.
31. We have no idea what we’re doing. You probably won’t too. It’s ok. Really it is. You could prepare as much as you want, but nothing can compare to the real thing.