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This was a fun read. We still joke about "keeping the unit fed/clean", and he's twelve now.

https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Owners-Manual-Instructions-Troub...

Is it the best? No, but it's not just a joke either. Lots of simple things, covered in a lighthearted 'like a car manual' kind of way.

With a newborn, sleep is your challenge. We discovered my wife needs 8 hours, but can be interrupted. I need 5 and CANNOT be interrupted. So I handled things until 12:30am and then Mom took over until 6-ish.

And on that note, during the first few months, if one getting out of bed wakes the other, consider the couch or a guest bed. You do not want to let notions about marital sleeping together turn into being sleep-deprived and hostile toward each other.

If breastfeeding doesn't 'take' right away, get on the phone and have a lactation aid come help. Every kid/nipple situation is different. Trying to figure it out on your own, while sleep deprived (see above) is maddeningly difficult. Hire a guide to get it sorted.

Bear in mind, some kids are slow feeders, so that 4-hour feeding interval might be closer to 3 hours.

As the kid gets older I found it's best to not ask the open-ended "what do you want to do?" Because that leads to tears when the impossible can't happen. Rather have 3-4 plans YOU want to see happen and present it like THEY get to choose. You help them learn agency without setting the situation up for failure.

And it's not until they're about 2.5 years old that they won't accidentally kill themselves. It's up to you to make sure they don't walk into traffic/off ledges, eat/drink something bad, pull furniture/stove pots over on themselves, etc. But at about 2.5 they start to realize they've got some skin in the game and start exercising a little care. I emphasize START, you're still on duty to keep an eye on them.

I was fortunate to be able to handle being Dad at home. It was fascinating witnessing the bias. As in, when we were out and about, people (often women) assuming that it was just a single "Day out with Dad"... oh no, dearie, EVERYDAY was Dad day. And during kiddie gym/exercise/music classes it wasn't until they realized I clearly knew more about strollers/diapers/formula than they did that mothers started to come around.

Pro-tip, babies don't understand words. They do understand emotions. It seems obvious, but yelling at them or telling them not to do something in a drawn-out sentences is as useless as yelling at the goldfish.

Help them, guide them, let them see you as someone they can trust and that loves them. Don't set them up to see you as angry/stressed/disinterested.




I remember the bias; in my case I was never sure whether it was because I was the only father at the local playgrounds, or whether it was because I was the only foreigner there.

But I will say that while children don't understand words (so much at the start) they really do pick up on tone of voice, and emotion. Sometimes there's an instinct urge to shout "Nooooo!!!! Stop!!! Don't do that!!" when a baby/toddler starts doing something dangerous. It'll happen when you least expect it - don't beat yourself up, and try to remember to speak calmly and clearly.




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