While I am not a doctor, a pediatrician, a nutritionist, or a psychologist, here are my learnings from having been a parent of two kids for the last 2 years, and read 30+ books on the subject.
Calm Down – It’s going to be wonderful
Most parents will make sure to tell you how difficult it is to have kids, how from now on your life will revolve around your kids, and how many dangers there are around the corner.
What I think? There has never been an easier time to be a parent. Ask ChatGPT and YouTube any question, even the most embarrassing. Get everything delivered at your door.
Our parents (and their parents and everyone before them) didn’t have diapers, amazon, electricity, Netflix, Food delivery, none of this. It was much much harder.
Mostly it’s going to be beautiful. You will learn along the way, and the all journey it’s going to be the best meditation/zen/self help course you will ever take. You will love them like you have never loved before.
Here are some topics to explore around some basic areas
Babies are resilient
Don’t be fooled by every company wanting to sell you something to protect your kids. Kids will fall and stand up again. You can’t avoid some little bruise, but let yourself and your kids grow free from the anxiety of death.
What we did with our infants was:
- Change diapers as close to the floor as possible. Avoid high changing stations as most of the accidents from people we know happened with their babies falling while changing diapers. We bought a very inexpensive changing pad, and changed our babies on the floor and on the bed. Having to balance the theory (never leave your infant alone!) and the reality (you will get distracted, or even just having to get a diaper, a cream, a wipe, or find a phone for a cute photo) we decided to be realistic and change diapers on the floor. It’s not as cute, but it removes 99% of the accidents.
Weight, Breastfeeding, and Formula
In the beginning there will be a lot of anxiety around the weight of the baby.
Is she growing? Is she eating enough? As for the previous point, there is a lot of money to be made from selling baby formula. A pediatrician office will be full of samples. A doctor wanted to put our first child on formula as during the 2-week visit at the pediatrician, our kid was slightly below his initial weight. We didn’t listen, and we have a very healthy baby boy.
I can’t recommend you not to listen to your doctor, but I would recommend you to listen to yourself. Everyone has an agenda. And only you can make the final decision of what is most important for your baby.
Schedule or no schedule
There are 3 main theories
- Feed every 2-3 hours
- Feed when the baby cries and wants food
- Follow a schedule and adapt by the specific needs
The recommendation you will get are around keeping a human alive – which is simple. If you feed your baby every time she cries, you can be sure your baby will be alive. You can also make sure that you won’t sleep, and that you won’ t be able to make plans, and that your baby will learn to cry when she wants something.
We follow a simple method from the BabyWise book, which basically says that babies don’t know what they want, they will cry as it’s their only way to communicate, but by being smart and following a smart schedule, you can get them to sleep for the entire night very fast, and also create a predictable schedule which will keep everybody happy and calm.
How to Maximize sleep, the 4th trimester
Sleeping is when the growth happens, and when parents recharge to be loving and attentive and happy around their child. We use the schedule (previous topic) to provide enough hours of sleep, but also time for us the parents to get other things done. Our baby boy who is 2y is sleeping from 8pm to 7am now, and takes a 2-3 hour nap every day from 12 to 3ish.
Our baby girl is only 3-week old, and she is already sleeping longer during the night.
We always focused on Feeding as soon as they wake up, to maximize their limited energy, then change, play, cuddle, and back to sleep. If you reverse and play first, and then feed, you risk that your baby won’t have energy left, and only partially feed, and later wake up really hungry setting up a snacking schedule instead of proper feeding sessions.
We used a white noise machine at the highest volume to block any sound. It helps the babies sleep so well, and avoid any accidental sound (a door, an object falling, someone shouting, a car passing by) to wake them up from their adorable naps.
We also swaddle both as much as possible. We have been using these cute swaddle/sleep sack to keep our babies relaxed while sleeping. They have a reflex (moro reflex) which tends to wake them up, and somehow they find it very calming to have their motion limited while sleeping.
We changed an impressive amount of diapers in the beginning. It’s annoying to have poop and pee in your pants. Kids ate it as much as you would. So we used diapers with a yellow/blue line to signal any liquid spill, and change as soon as we saw a blue line.
Happiest baby on the block is the book to read to learn more about the 4th trimester
We introduced solid food around 4/5 months. Boiled vegetables, and soon meat like beef and lamb. It’s impressive how easy babies start to chew meat from a bone, even without any teeth. By one year, our baby was already eating with us, the same food we were eating. We slowly replace a few breastfeeding sessions with solid food, and now we are having breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we only have to cook one meal for the entire family. You don’t want them to eat bread? Don’t eat bread. You want them to eat more broccoli? Eat the damn broccoli.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
While there are a lot of theories, we found the secret being to simplify:
- buy less things (alarms, cameras, toys, clothes)
- a simple schedule
- spending a lot of quality time with our kids
- protect their naps and night sleep
- taking a lot of photos and videos to relive these beautiful moments
- certainly, don’t buy any toy that claim to make your child intelligent. Spending time with them will make them feel loved, and that’s really all they need.
For the fun part
- Buy a tripod to take a lot of beautiful photos and videos.
- Buy the Rayban stories glasses to capture every moment without your phone in between.
- If you are the husband, change a lot of diaper and make it fun.
- Buy a digital photo frame (Google Nest Hub for example) to relive all the moments
- If you have family far, buy for you and them a nice video conferencing system so that they can spend quality time with the baby. We use the Facebook Portal (unfortunately discontinued) and my son really enjoys talking to his grandparents who are all very far.
- Read the book Don’t shoot the dog – a book about dog/mammal training, thought me a lot about reinforcing the posit
- Read Good enough parent https://amzn.to/3NMK8Pb to feel guilt free about not being able to be perfect in every area.