So we are about to have our first child...any tips or afvice?

Title pretty much says it all. About to have the first little one. We’ve been told it’s a boy (via ultra sounds) and all looks well thus far (a few gentic tests here and there have caused me some sleepless nights). She’s ready to pop any day now (though I’m hoping she holds on a wee bit longer).

Nursey is put together, new car has been purchaed, baby monitor is a go and car seat is being installed tonight. Bought the bugaboo stroller which was much more expensive than I expected. Otherwise we’re good to go, nervous but good to go.

Any tips or advice would be most appreciated…other than my getting a spell checker to help me with my thread titles. And any advice really means any advice!


(Bolding/font size mine.)


Heh thanks but the ‘She’ is the better half who is about ready to go into labour. It’s been a tough pregnancy on her.


I have a couple of pieces of ‘wisdom’ that may come in handy. First, no matter how cool the latest baby gadget seems, it’s really surprising how little you really need for a small baby. You will need (probably) far more diapers, creepers and Onesises than you think. The other stuff, you’ll need less.

Second, whatever phase the baby is in at any particular time, keep in mind that it will pass. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phase you love where he coos and smiles at everything, sleeps for seven hours straight every night, never rejects any kind of food you give him, etc. Or a bad phase where he cries approximately 36 hours a day (if you think there aren’t that many hours in a day, try listening to a baby cry all day) no matter what you do, spits up on every piece of clothing/furniture you own, and rejects feeding to the point you fear he will starve to death. Whatever the phase, it will pass. So if it’s good, appreciate it while you’ve got it. If it’s bad, know that it’s temporary!

The only other thing is this: babies are not nearly as fragile as they look. I mean, sure, you shouldn’t go flinging them against the wall, or let your Great Dane use him in a game of tug o’ war, but the first time you let him roll off a piece of furniture (and it probably will happen), you will feel incredibly guilty. But the baby will probably be fine, and may even think it was fun!

Oh, I’m chock full of advice. But before I go into it, I’ll preface it by saying that you should ignore me completely if it doesn’t work for you or make sense to you.

  1. Get used to not having any personal space. This isn’t a big deal for me now, but when I had my first, it was a huge shock, much bigger than not sleeping anymore.

  2. Buying a sling may be very helpful - for both you and your wife.

  3. If your wife is breastfeeding, make sure she finds a supportive lactaction consultant who doesn’t make her feel guilty in any way. Breastfeeding is “natural” and all, but natural doesn’t equal easy, and your wife shouldn’t feel bad (or be made to feel bad by someone else) if she has trouble. As a side note, if possible, she should learn to nurse in a side-lying position - makes nighttime feedings much easier.

  4. If you’re bottle feeding, don’t let other people make you feel bad. It’s none of their business.

  5. Don’t forget to pay lots of attention to your wife. Speaking from a woman’s point of view, it kind of sucks when all the attention that was previously on you is now on the baby - if you have a lot of visitors, you generally only get the baby when he/she is hungry, which can make you feel a bit like a cow.

  6. Try to take some time out for yourself and help your wife do the same.

  7. Try to enjoy yourselves. I got so uptight when I had my son and for the first few weeks of my daughter’s life that I really felt I deprived myself of some enjoyment. So try to unwind, don’t have any expectations or make promises to yourself (my baby will be breastfed only!, only organic, home-made baby food for my darling!, etc.) - just relax as much as you can and go with the flow. Your baby hasn’t read any of the books you have, so he probably some notions that differ from yours.

Pampers makes a diaper for newborns called Sensitives that has a little yellow strip in front. When baby pees, the stripe turns green. Brilliant!

Grandparents are great things to have around, mostly to keep you from freaking out every time the baby wheezes, snorts, hiccups or barfs.

Take lots of pictures in both landscape and portrait mode. You’ll want these later on for different frames.

Congratulations - our first was born a couple of weeks before Christmas.

As for tips/advice:
-it’s impossible to spoil a six-month old and almost impossible to spoil a one year old; so don’t fret about ‘giving him too much attention’ or the like.
-breast-feeding isn’t an innate skill that all new mothers instantly master. If Mum needs help to the hang of things make sure you ask for (and get) it.
-most babies lose a little weight immediately after birth so don’t freak out if the first weigh-in is down a bit.

  • there’s no point buying lots of clothes in newborn sizes they grow out of them really fast. The flip side is that most baby clothes aren’t worn much so second and third hand outfits from friends etc are fine.
  • We found a baby monitor to be annoying - she’s in the room next door so we just leave the doors open instead.
  • Looking for numerous sources of advice seems counter-productive - every possible approach seems to have its advocate find one book which fits your approach and just refer to that - personally I’ve found Penelope Leach’s advice makes sense to me.

Finally, if it all seems too hard when you first get home make sure to get a checkup. Our baby just wouldn’t sleep for the first couple of nights at home - it turned out she had a minor infection so she and Mum had to go back to hospital for anther week. Sucked at the time, but the breast-feeding expert came round and helped sort out the feeding problems then so worked out all for the good in the long run.

If anyone offers to babysit, accept gratefully.

Screw the housework. When baby naps, Mommy naps.

Everyone will give you advice. Nod, and then do as you think best.


Some things I’ve seen lately that make me want to talk to the parents – babies outside in cool/cold weather with nothing on their heads, and babies being held without support for their heads.

Also, babies need to be kept clean but full immersion baths are unnecessary. Wrap naked baby in a towel while wiping him down with a warm damp cloth – unless he’s been playing in mud, that should be enough. Pay attention to the fat folds.

Other than that, snuggle and cuddle and enjoy!!!

From a male perspective and very new on the parenting front, try and be involved as much as possible, ie do the housework, washing, changing, feeding etc as much as you can when you are around.


If your wife is planning on a vaginal delivery get an extra bag of those massive extra-long overnight pads, she will bleed. Also get some epsom salts. Warm baths are great for recovering moms, and also some Midol. Have frozen peas (or your ice pack of choice) for the moms boobs.

As for baby, as soon as he pops out Vaseline that babies bum cheeks. That first poo is sticky and gross, the Vaseline makes clean up so much easier.

This one saved me a few times, sometimes you just need to let the baby cry. There will be times when you are so tired you can’t think and nothing you are doing is stopping that baby from crying. Just put him down somewhere safe, close the door and take a break. If the baby is crying you know he is breathing. Go to a different room, collect yourself, and when you are better, then see to the kid. A little crying never hurt anyone.

The first few months are an exercise in sleep deprivation. When the baby sleeps, the caregiver sleeps. There is no such thing as a higher priority than sleep in the first three months at least. Don’t worry about the laundry, don’t worry about cleaning up, don’t worry about housework or company or email. When the baby sleeps, the caregiver sleeps.

And a word about advice, now that I’ve chimed in with some: any advice you get is based on what someone learned about some other child. This may or may not be relevant to your child. Check your gut about whether a given piece of advice makes sense to your particular baby and family.

When my son was 9 days old, for example, my father-in-law, who is really a dear man, told me to be careful about running right to him every time he cried, because that would teach him to manipulate us. Ummmmm … no. No, just … no. A 9-day-old isn’t aware of much else at all except his own immediate needs. Months later, when we were preparing for our first international flight with the baby, my father-in-law suggested we not let him sleep much the night before and keep him from napping that day, so that he’d be tired and sleep a lot on the plane. By then, I had enough experience to know that an overtired baby doesn’t sleep at all, so I smiled and nodded and mentally rolled my eyes and ignored him.

When you’re facing a problem, go to websites, books, and message boards. You’ll get all kinds of advice, some of it completely contradictory. Just keep trying different things until you find what is right for you and your family. For almost everything, there is no ONE RIGHT WAY!

Cloth diapers make great burp rags.

If Mom is going to be breastfeeding, have a nice nursing station set up somewhere. A comfy chair, a table within easy reach, etc. I prefered to have mine in the living room so I could watch TV while I nursed, but some people prefer the privacy of the bedroom or nursery. Whatever works for you and baby. Actually, this goes for bottle-feeding, too.

Don’t let a newborn baby intimidate you. The only way you’ll learn to diaper him, soothe him, bathe him is just by *doing *it. It’s sometimes a lot easier for the Dad to get by without doing all this stuff because they’re afraid they’ll hurt the baby. You won’t. And if you don’t pitch in, you’ll miss out on some really wonderful bonding moments.

At the same time, don’t start things you won’t follow through on. If you want your kids to eat healthy as toddlers (e.g. wheat bread, no soda), don’t hand them white bread and coke (or full strength juice). If you want scheduled kids (more or less) start them out with some sort of schedule and don’t let them be up and playing at 11pm. If you don’t want co-sleepers, don’t start, or end it when its still “easy” - getting them out of your bed when they are three and stubborn is a pain (although co-sleeping can be a wonderful way for everyone to sleep early on).

You can’t spoil an infant, but you can establish habits that are hard for you or them to break. They go from infant to kindergartner very quickly and there were a lot of mistakes I made simply by taking the “I can change it later” path because it was easy at the time.

One thing some parents forget is that your baby will arrive pre-programmed with an innate personality. It won’t be visible immidiately, but it’s there. Of course good or bad parenting will affect a person’s personality (I’m looking at you, you spoiled little shits out there!) but it’s worth keeping in mind that your son is not completely a blank slate for you to write upon as you see fit.

You’re going to get an unbelievable amount of advice, some of it directly in conflict with others. It’s okay - humans have been raising babies a long time. You’ll be okay. He’ll be a teenager before you know it anyway!

Like PHS said, you are going to get an unbelievable amount of advise, some good, some bad.

The only thing I would ask is that you keep some perspective on parenthood.

You are not the first people to have a kid. People have been doing this since before we came down from the trees. Don’t act like you are unique or special here.

Being the parent of a small child doesn’t make you an instant expert on human biology, anatomy, sociology, psychology or the science of child rearing. If you EVER catch yourself telling someone that you know everything you need to know about raising a child, I require you to pound your own head with a large hammer for a minimum of five minutes.

A solid hour if that is done in the context of telling a single person that because they don’t have kids, they don’t know shit about kids. Sure, they may NOT know, or perhaps maybe they’re seeing something that you are missing (like as with some former friends who pulled this crap on me - Hey dumbasses, a screaming crying, temper tantrum and toy throwing kid at 11PM is TIRED. Put him to bed. Yes, I know he’ll just cry. So fucking what. Put him to bed already, and be enough of a parent to make him stay there.)

Look, it’s great you’re having a kid. But seriously, most of us don’t give a fuck. Go back to point 1. You’re not the first, you won’t be the last, and while YOUR life now revolves around that kid, NO ONE ELSES DOES. If you catch yourself trying to make other people’s lives revolve around your kid, it’s back to the hammer to the head thing until you catch on.
Beyond that, never underestimate the capacity of a body that size to put out a tremendous volume of noxious substances that it is your job to clean up. :stuck_out_tongue:

My only piece of advice: Wean your baby off a pacifier as soon as you can, or better yet, don’t get him/her hooked on it in the first place. I can’t tell you how many times I had to get up in the middle of the night because the pacifier fell out of my son’s mouth and he couldn’t find it to because it was buried in the blankets somewhere. Also, when we did get around to weaning him from it, it was on a camping trip and nobody slept for the whole night.

Swaddle blankets designed for it with velcro attached. A must.

Bumbo - also known as baby jail, it’s incredibly useful to help him sit up early and keep him in place when he can move later and you don’t want that.

Babybjorn - They’re more expensive than other baby carriers but it’s well worth it.

Get sleep and sex now…as much as you can of both

Most of this has shown up elsewhere, but:

Trust your instincts. Our remote ancestors, without the benefit of baby books and high end equipment, managed to raise their kids.
All kids are different. Follow the lead of yours, and don’t be upset if he doesn’t match what the baby book says he should be doing.
The hardest thing we had to do was to let our oldest cry when she was waking up in the middle of the night every night at 8 months or so. We were worried that she had colic or any number of terrible things wrong with her. After a week of letting her cry it out, she slept through the night and never was a problem again. That lesson works for dogs also.
A babysitter will not kill your child. It is good for them learn how to deal with other caregivers early on.
Never pass up a chance to snuggle with the baby. They get old very quickly.
Start saving for college now.