Our daughter Hava is two weeks old already. I think because we haven’t really slept, time has passed quite oddly. Fans of the HBO show True Blood (SPOILER ALERT) can sympathize with this season’s premiere, where Sookie goes to the Fairy Land and what felt like ten minutes was actually over a year in real time.
There are things that people just don’t tell new dads. Things to expect, survival tips, etc. Let me remedy that situation with these seven truths.
Breastfeeding can cause painful contraction-like symptoms and heavy bleeding as your wife's uterus contracts into pre-pregnancy size. Overnight-thickness maxi or incontinence pads soak it up. Buying them will not revoke your man card. Trust me.
You’ll be frustrated. Since professionals don’t recommend pumping for several weeks, there is not a lot you can do early on to help with the feeding. Your job is to change diapers and run errands.
I know people say breastmilk poops are mild, but, and forgive my candidness, you’ll want to avoid certain squashes and most mashed sweet potatoes for a while. Thankfully, they don’t smell all that bad. Change more diapers than she does for a harmonious home.
Make a snack basket for the bedroom. Your wife is burning up to 600 extra calories a day making that milk and she'll be ravenous. Those middle-of-the-night feedings are good eating opportunities. Stock up a basket with a variety of healthy but delicious snack options she can keep next to the bed. She’ll thank you at 3 am.
Be patient or go crazy. Your partner is sleeping less than you, guaranteed, daddy-o. And she just had a person fly out of her pookie. Be better than you think you can be at all times.
Get used to your partner’s boob making public appearances. Friends, family, strangers, shoppers at Pier 1, most anyone you come across can grab a peek if they try hard enough. I imagine it’s only going to get worse. But baby’s gotta eat.
The whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing is a nice goal, but not really feasible in our experience. I don’t know about you, but sleeping during the day, especially with friends and family over to see the baby, is not easy. But do try to sneak in naps when you can. Good luck with that, big poppa.
The first few weeks are overwhelmingly special – but they are in no way easy. And sometimes, not pretty. But hang in there, dad, it’s worth it.
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