My wife and I are expecting our first child in January (woo-hoo), and we’re looking for a particular type of book, or perhaps online resource, which is not a pregnancy book (she already has one she likes) and not a parenting book (although we will presumably need one eventually) but a what-should-you-do-before-a-baby-is-born book, about what things to purchase and have in the house, what decisions to make, what financial preparations to make, any other things of that sort we might not have thought of, etc. It’s tough to search for because we don’t even quite know what the category would be for a book like this.
And it’s possible that instead of a book, what we’re looking for is some well-respected website with lots of checklists and so forth.
Anyone have any advice?
Do you have Mothers or Grandmothers available? My best advice came from my MIL. She was a bit pushy though. You’ll have to learn what to glean and what to toss from them.
It’s not as daunting as it seems. You will need diapers, feeding supplies, and a cradle or bassinette. Of course all the little niceties are fun to have. Don’t sweat it, enjoy it. It will end all too soon.and remember babies have been being born for many moons. Congrats!
It has been a long time, so I don’t have a book to recommend. Sorry.
Words of wisdom: You can never have too many diapers nor too many clothing changes. Chances are you will mostly use the gowns that tie like a sack at the bottom and snap-bottom t-shirts, especially for the first 3 months. Get plenty of those. They make changes easy and there’s a good chance there will be frequent changes. Plus, they come in a pretty good assortment of sizes and colors, are made of easy-to-use stretchy cotton, are easy to launder and are reasonably priced. Unless you go out to a lot of places, the baby will primarily live in those.
Keep in mind that sizes Newborn-3 Months may not last 3 months. Kids grow quickly, so keep a few 3-6 month sizes around to be ready. Honestly, it seems like one day the size is good and the next day it’s too tight. Think ahead a little bit because it will take you by surprise.
Beyond that, a book can handle the rest of the checklist. Wish I knew of one to suggest, but it is wonderful that you are conscientious about the situation.
Finally, just enjoy. I’m so happy for you. Kids really do change your life, usually for the better.
And I agree with kunilou. It’s part of that "Hope for the best, plan for the worst " thing. If, God forbid, one of you gets hit by a bus two months after the little one arrives, you don’t want the survivor to be scraping through financially for several years.
Wills and personal life insurance for both of you.
And if you have a house with a mortgage, either include the cost of the mortgage in your life insurance, or get separate life insurance to cover the mortgage payment. You can usually get it from the bank.
Congrats. REMEMBER You are the father, not the babysitter. You are just as responsible for the upbringing as your wife is. Also, your opinion does matter. Her friends, family, and society will be telling her different. I could never win that one with my wife for the first child until it hit “I told you so” stage for the dozenth time.
Lamaze, yes. Well worth the time. If nothing else, doing the exercises together to the extent possible helps you both stay in shape.
Advice? whatever you do is wrong because everyone else has a different idea on how to raise your child. What worked for them will not necessarily work for you.
The baby must feel secure but don’t dote. Crying is not always a bad thing.
Keep predators away. Two, four, eight legged and even those without a form.
Always keep the head aligned with the spine. Even when you feel like throwing them out or when older, roughhousing about, always support the head.
Keep a daily routine. No matter what else happens that day, keep to the routine as best as possible. So at bedtime if you read the story at 8pm, read the story at or about 8pm. Even at grandma’s. After you’ve done the ABC book the 15th time, I started just telling the story. Minor detail changes. When the kids got to reading age then I started to point out the words.
You will never go anyplace quickly again. Every trip out of the house will seem like packing for a two week vacation. My wife had a diaper bag with all the basics always ready to go. She nursed the babies so grabbing a bottle on the way out wasn’t vital.
You’re going to do all these “correct” things for the first child but if you have more, you’ll simplify to the basics by the third or fourth. Keep that in mind. As long as the child is kept safe, comfortable, and secure it will thrive. Most all the rest of the advice you will get is for you and for social appearances.
I don’t think there’s a good consolidated list of the realities of parenting, which is a shame. But you can google all the above 3 categories. One thing to remember with item, as mentioned above, you’re going to do it wrong. You just will. Also, expect to argue more. It sucks, but agreeing on the big stuff (breastfeeding vs. bottle, circumcision vs not, religion, birthing, whether the mom works or not, etc.) is the easy part;the little stuff is the stuff that causes the most disagreement. Case in point: my husband and I once had a shouting match over how I was putting our son into the bathwater. I wasn’t doing it gradually enough. I cannot tell you how many arguments we’ve had that started from something so utterly stupid.
Anyway, my best advice is to google categories or bucket logistical items whichever way feels right to you and expect to have to start over. A lot. And those parenting books are excellent guidelines, but your baby hasn’t read them, so unless he/she isn’t growing, is exhibiting concerning behavior or gets a fever/rash/weird swelling/etc., cut yourselves some slack and just do what works for you guys. You & your wife will feel bad about more or less everything you do for at least the first 20 years (that’s an estimate; my eldest is 12), so there’s no reason to add to it.
All of these are good advice but I would add just a couple of things.
Don’t fill your house with and spend all your money on a whole bunch of baby gadgets and random holders and stuff. You don’t know what your baby will like or what will work for you until you get there. If you are registering for a baby shower or something like that, you can put a lot of this stuff on there, but, you know, keep the receipts.
You only really need a few things to bring baby home. You need a safe place for your baby to sleep (crib, bassinet, cosleeping device), a way to keep your baby warm (blankets and clothing), a way to feed the baby (Breastfeeding aids or bottles and formula), and a way to keep your baby clean (diapers, wipes, a small tub maybe). You will also need a carseat.
After you bring baby home, you can figure out the additional accessories that will work for you. My daughter loved being worn in a baby carrier. Some babies hate that. My daughter also loved bouncy seats and hated swings. Some babies love swings and hate bouncy seats. Some like them both.
My point is don’t waste your money on stuff people say you “need” beyond that one list. Everything else is really dependent on your baby and your situation.
Also - You really can never have too many diapers and wipes. Really. They won’t go to waste.
Yeah, there isn’t that much I can think of, and most of it’s all been said already. Life insurance, wills, and using Amazon’s subscription service for whatever diapers you end up using (or, if you go with cloth, a diaper service).
There is one hill I’ll die on, and that is that no matter how sincerely your wife intends to breast feed, have formula and a bottle available in the house at all times, no matter what. That is not something you want to go pear-shaped. This public service message is courtesy of my own emotional scars.
And not every noise counts as crying. Promise. They also burp, pop, smack their lips, blow raspberries… it’s not necessary to grab the baby out of its cradle every time it makes noise: that does produce full-blown crying.
When we were expecting our son, we took a “Baby Basics” class from a local group called PEP (Postpartum Education for Parents). It was maybe 3 or 4 hours, came with pastries and coffee, and covered things like “What do you need to put in a diaper bag” “How to change a diaper” (I had never before changed a diaper and raised my hand when they asked for a volunteer who hadn’t to come demonstrate, then when I walked to the front of the room, they handed me a diaper and a baby doll and said “the baby needs changing.” “Wait, what?”).
They brought in some parents with a few-months-old baby and they gave the baby a bath there so you could see how to bathe a baby.
They had checklists with supplies.
Looks like that’s a local group here, but I bet there’s something like that where you are. Maybe ask your doctor/midwife/doula/other baby-related medical worker about something like that?
Other than that, don’t worry about it. Babies need surprisingly little in the way of material things. Clean diapers, clean clothes, milk, warmth, and love. Some kind of sling or baby carrier is very useful because you can just wear the baby while you’re doing other stuff. Keeps you from being pinned down to a chair as often.
Have someone teach you to swaddle the baby, and practice on a doll or stuffed animal. Getting that right can lead to much better sleep in the first few months for everyone.
My son couldn’t get a good latch for several weeks, and I had to pump and bottle feed him breast milk. I kept trying, and finally he got it (I think when he was old enough to have enough control over his head to position himself the way he wanted), but yes, he had to have a bottle or two of formula every day, because he was over eight pounds at birth, and just kept growing, and I couldn’t keep up with him when I was pumping.
Have a can of powdered formula, four ounce bottles, and a breast pump. Breast-feeding is just harder than it sounds. Not to mention that I got what I think was bad advice from the lactation consultant. It pretty TMI, but I’ll share if the OP PMs me.
Do you have pets? a dog in particular? I got some very good advice about preparing our dogs for the baby from a dog trainer, and I’ve never seen anything like it in a baby or pregnancy book, but I’ll hold off until I know the OP actually has a dog.
Also, don’t waste money on a bassinet. Babies outgrow them in a matter of weeks, and they can be put in the crib on the first night. We did with our son, and he was fine.
However, if you do not own your own washer and dryer, these are indispensable. Get them. If you don’t have a hook-up, have one installed, or get the little efficiency ones for an apartment. The washer hooks up to a sink, and the dryer does not have to be vented outside (it takes a long time to dry stuff, but not as long as a trip to the laundromat, and that really sucks to do with a baby). We had a regular-sized washer and dryer, and we doing fine, then our water went out for several days, and we had to make one trip to the laundromat. It was hell. Not to mention how fast baby laundry piles up.
I’m done with advice now. Except to say that I don’t think there is a book about financial planning for expectant parents. Anyone with a business degree, some writing skills, and parenting experience, there’s a project for you.
Do you drink coffee or tea? Get a good quality thermal cup with a lid that closes. Not an $8 plastic one, but a $15-25 metal one that will keep your drink warm for hours. As a new parent, this was by far the most important thing I did to keep my sanity. I could make coffee, get distracted by the baby, come back to the coffee 45 minutes later, and it was still hot.
Also, a podcast.
Do not buy a baby-sling that is so complicated it comes with a DVD to instruct you how to put it on. Mrs Piper bought one from an earth-mother kind of store, that billed it as being adaptable to use for an infant and also for a toddler, as they grew. We had more difficulties with that thing than you can imagine. And, when you’re trying to get moving with a little one, the last thing you want is a lot of delays. Buy one for infant size, and then later on trade up to one designed for toddlers.
Religiously check the batteries in your smoke detectors. (that’s good advice anyway, but particularly when you have a little one - if you have a fire, you want to be able to scoop the baby and get out as quickly as possible.)
One of the things to remember is women gave birth while migrating across the prairie - and most of those babies made it. You’ll need far less stuff than you think you’ll need - and money not spent on baby gyms (or books you shortly won’t have time to read) will turn into money for the important stuff later.
Overlyverbose’s financial website link is good. I have my youngest starting college this fall - it will come faster than you think, and you’ll get much less aid than you hope for in terms of grants and scholarships.
Sattua’s advice on breastfeeding is also right on. Don’t allow anyone to carry scars from that - emotional on your wife’s part - physical on your baby’s. If baby doesn’t get hydrated because milk isn’t coming in, baby can end up brain damaged. Fed is more important than how.
Get a pediatrician before your baby arrives, and get a list from the pediatrician on what to have in the house.
Not really what you’re asking for, but I recommend this:
It’s really to make Dad laugh and maybe feel like he’s not the only one going through this, but also surprisingly helpful little tips. (For instance, luckily, I never needed the ‘use your socks as emergency diaper’ tip, but it was nice knowing there was option if necessary)