The real survival guide for new dads 2

 

This is a continuation of our The real survival guide for new dads series. If you’ve missed our first installment – feel free to check it out here. Otherwise, let’s keep this parenting train moving. Just a heads-up first though: this post is a bit heavy on some of the darker realities of parenting – poop, pee, and vomit. If this affects you, reader discretion is advised.

 

Babies excrete fluids, solids, and some weird combination of the two.

 

One thing you need to know up front is that babies love to spit-up, throw-up, at times projectile vomit, pee, and poop. They don’t seem to care whether it’s in a diaper, on the carpet, in your hair, or … in your mouth (yea, I wen’t there – story to follow). Because all of these things can happen frequently there are a few points to cover.

 

Let a nurse walk you through changing a diaper.
These individuals were amazing – in our experience – and a treasure of knowledge for new parents and babies. We want to make sure we utilize that to the best of our ability…

 

I went with something like, “I don’t know exactly how to do this. I don’t want to mess up early and hurt the baby or who knows what else? I want to make sure I get it right so that when we get home I’ll know what to do.” Something like that and a smile toward one of those amazing nurses and you’ll accomplish a few things: 1) You will learn the proper method for changing a diaper, and more importantly 2) that puts off you needing to change said diaper for at least one more time. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your requests and make sure to ask different nurses, and this method could sustain you throughout your time in the hospital – that’s a win.

 

Do not be afraid of taking a few classes. 

 

You didn't take the classes??? You can't handle this.
You didn’t take the classes??? You can’t handle this.

 

If you’re lucky (depending on your perspective), your wife will want to take you to some class before the little one arrives. This could be something like Infant Care or Birthing. If you’re anything like me, these classes can be highly valuable. I had zero baby experience before Clara. So little in fact, that I went out of my way to avoid holding, ‘talking’ to, and interacting with the little humans.

 

Naturally then these classes were key. We learned a ton of what to do and what not to do with one of the major topics being how to properly change a diaper. This was awesome intel, but after Clara was born I realized that the real deal and the plastic mannequin (we called him Jose) had little in common. Let’s compare:

 

Clara (I am sometimes smiling) M.
Jose (I am always smiling) M.
I have life!
I do not…
I will cry and tug at your heart-strings from time to time
I’ll never cry and you will always be happy when changing my diaper
I like to squirm, generally move about, and explore this new world
I enjoy chilling exactly where you put me
My clothes don’t seem to fit exactly right
Clothes? Who needs clothes?
Your timing and efficiency are vital when dealing with me
Dude, take your time – I literally have about 300 years here. Spoiler – I don’t have to pee

 

Changing a diaper correctly is the perfect combination of speed, coverage, hazmat spill clean-up ability, and luck. At the beginning everything may seem to go wrong but no worries – you will get plenty of practice and eventually perfect the art.

 

The point here is you can get great stuff out of these classes, but take the content with a grain of salt.

 

 The muddy river. 

 

Different river...
Different river…

 

A friend of mine once told me a story. I’ll paraphrase. We’ll call him Jack and his baby Susan. Susan hated the bath, despised it in fact. If there’s one thing we’ve learned though it’s that there comes a time when a baby needs cleaned off. Jack and his wife Jill (see what I did there?) were at a loss and sleep deprived when they came up with an amazing idea. Maybe she’ll tolerate the shower?

 

Susan was in her glory! She loved watching the water bounce off her dad’s chest and loved getting rinsed off herself. She was happy and clean. Jack and Jill were so proud of themselves so they’d make a fun time out of it. Jack and Susan would be in the shower while Jill ran assistance from outside. This was a well-oiled machine who’s level of enjoyment rivaled that of a day at the water park… Until…

 

Jill heard a groan and perhaps a bit of cursing as she was sitting on the ground one afternoon during shower time. Jack told her he felt this warm sensation running down his side, to his hip, down his thigh, and finally to his foot… That was a slow moving river. Much too slow for him to be lucky enough to have just been peed on.

 

Jack and Jill realized their shower decision was better than initially expected. If you’re going to get pooped on, I’d say the best place for that to happen is in the shower – just wash, rinse, and go on about your day.

 

Poop in the tub is a thing. Babies get constipated at times and we’ve seen that bath time could help relieve that. Clara, unlike Susan, loves everything about the bath.

 

You new dads may be thinking, “Where’s the teachable moment here, Mike?” No worries, I got you.

 

You want to watch out for the face. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. For the rest of you, perhaps, just know that there is a distinctive face your child will make when she is attempting to relieve the bowels. When you see this face I advise you to do one thing, and only one thing, as fast as humanly possible. It becomes a mad dash not to get her out of the tub – this is going to happen and there’s not much you can do to protect the tub. No, first you need to get the toys out of the blast radius. You do this for the following reasons: 1) now you don’t have to clean the toys in addition to the tub, your baby, and (at times) the shower curtain, and 2) some of those toys have holes in them where water loves to seep its way in and explore. If poop finds its way in that toy it’s toast. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s go to (insert favorite store for baby toys here) every day to buy new rubber duckies. That’s neither fun nor good for the budget. Take it from me – save the toys.

 

After the ducks are clear you’re going to want to tend to the obvious next – the children.

 

Boys are not the only ones with the ability to acquire a target from distance.
Explosive diarrhea is a thing, and it affects baby girls just the same. If you don’t believe me ask Clara’s former babysitter, my sister-in-law.

 

A couple rapid-fire points to consider for the new dad’s among us. I feel like these don’t need context.
-Better on you than on furniture or carpet. You can always wash. Do your best Secret Service Agent and take one for the team.
-Either designate 1) a separate budget line to cover the cost, or 2) a place to wash out poopy clothes in your house.

 

Someone else’s vomit in your mouth = not as terrible as it sounds. Being a new dad is a ton of fun, especially when you’re first starting out. It’s a ton of fun to play with the baby and teach her to do new things. One of the most fun games Clara loved playing was the airplane game. You know, you’re laying on your back and holding her up in the air above your body. Maybe you give her a little push up into the air so gravity can catch her and send her back your way.

 

Point number 1, and definitely the most obvious, is to catch the baby. Don’t drop her and she’ll love it… Second point is to be cautious of timing on this one. I can attest to this personally.

 

Much like swimming, it’s not the best idea to feed baby the bottle then play airplane. You’re excited, she’s excited, her mouth is open, and she’s laughing. You see that and how can you not smile yourself? This is amazing. Pure bliss. You have an ear-to-ear grin and things are going so well until all of a sudden breakfast transfers from her stomach to her mouth… To your mouth…

 

Wait an hour after eating to play airplane, it’s better for both of you.

 

Thanks for reading our second installment of The real survival guide for new dads! Feel free to check out New dad 1 and New dad 3 for further dad truisms. If you’ve enjoyed this post please subscribe to the blog so that every new post comes straight to your inbox. You can also check out the YouTube channel (MikedUp Blog) or follow Mike on Twitter (@RealMikedUp). Have a question or comment? Let us know by commenting on the post or emailing Mike at MikedUpBlog@gmail.com. We’re glad you’re here. Thanks again and talk soon!

 

– Mike
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6 Comments

  1. I raised five children…now grown and I have eight grandchildren. Babies basically have four needs…hunger, sleep, cuddling/stimulation and fresh diapers. New dads….unless the baby isn’t feeling well, if crying, it’s one of the four above reasons. My advice…be more concerned about the teenage years !!!

  2. I can certainly attest to the projectile poop! Little Miss Clara has some skills! I learned quickly not to care too much about messes on my clothes.

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