Expecting a baby? Dads — read these instructions carefully

Sarah Lifestyle

Welcoming a new baby into the world is an adventure filled with joy, challenges, and a steep learning curve. For expectant parents, especially dads who are keen to be hands-on from day one, preparing for the arrival of a little one goes beyond decorating the nursery. It’s about equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills to ensure the well-being and comfort of both the baby and the parents. The journey of parenthood is rewarding, yet it comes with its own set of challenges that require patience, understanding, and a dash of humor to navigate successfully.

One of the first realities new parents face is the dramatic change in their daily routine, where the baby’s needs dictate the schedule. From feeding and diaper changes to soothing and playtime, each day is a whirlwind of activities centered around the newborn. This can be both exhilarating and exhausting, as parents strive to provide the best care for their baby while managing their own needs. It’s a delicate balance that often requires adjustments and compromises to find a rhythm that works for everyone involved.

A common challenge that surfaces for many new parents is dealing with sleep deprivation. Babies have their own sleep patterns, which can leave parents longing for a few uninterrupted hours of rest. The constant cycle of feeding, changing, and comforting a baby throughout the night can take a toll on one’s physical and mental well-being. It’s a universal issue that parents across the globe can relate to, and finding effective solutions is crucial for the health and happiness of the entire family.

Addressing sleep challenges involves a multi-faceted approach, one of which includes creating a comfortable sleep environment for both the baby and parents. For babies, ensuring they have a safe, cozy place to rest is paramount. For parents, investing in the best memory foam bed can be a game-changer. A quality bed that provides the right support and comfort can make those precious hours of sleep more restorative, helping parents wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to face the day’s adventures. Incorporating other strategies, such as establishing a bedtime routine and learning to recognize the baby’s sleep cues, can also significantly improve sleep for the whole family.

Expecting a baby? Dads – read these instructions carefully. Your baby can’t get anywhere without your help. Here’s how to activate his mobile mode…

How to carry a baby

Your baby can’t get anywhere without your help. Here’s how to activate his mobile mode.
Vertically Put one hand under his neck and head (neck muscles are barely developed at first, so make sure the head doesn’t loll). Place your other hand so that it supports his back and buttocks. Lift the baby to your chest.
Horizontally Turn your baby on to his belly. Place your hand on his chest after reaching your arm between his legs. Your other hand goes firmly on his back. Lift.
Rocking Always hold the baby in your left arm: he’ll be soothed by your heartbeat. Place your right hand under his head and neck, and your left under his buttocks and back. Move your right hand toward your left arm, cradle his head in the crook of your elbow, and let his body rest on your underarm.
No throwing It’s a common thing for new parents, an expression of exuberance: playfully toss and catch the baby, launching him straight up into the air. Don’t. There have been cases of au pairs being convicted for manslaughter after they shook babies in their care. Since then, several studies have been done to determine the effects of tumbling and shaking on a baby’s brain. The verdict: even innocent-looking behaviour such as playfully throwing the baby up in the air can lead to accidental brain damage. The phenomenon is known as Shaken baby syndrome, something that occurs after the brain hits the inside of the skull, possibly triggering nerve damage in the neck. The consequences can be very serious, including paralysis, speech abnormalities and cognitive problems.
Material and provisions Whenever you take the baby out of the house, have the following ready:
• Food (if needed)
• Bottle of sterilised drinking water
• Toys
• Nappies and wipes
• A change of clothes

How to bottle-feed a baby

You’ll need some practical and social skills, and patience with demanding customers. Practical necessities: bottle, teat, measuring spoon, fresh milk powder, bottle warmer.
Do this:
• Wash your hands.
• Boil the kettle and allow the water to cool for no more than 30 minutes. You want the water at about 70C to kill any bacteria in the powder.
• Pour the water into the sterilised bottle.
• Add the powder. How much powder to how much water is indicated on the packaging.
• Fasten the teat on to the bottle, pinch the end of the teat and shake the bottle. Continue until the powder is completely dissolved.
• Check the temperature. Dab a few drops on to your wrist. The milk can be a tad above body temperature. If it’s too hot, hold the bottle briefly under cold running water.
• Sterilise the bottle and the teat after each use.
• Warm the teat under hot water until it’s approximately at body temperature.
• Position the baby in your lap so that his head rests comfortably in the crook of your elbow. Hold up his head a bit, making sure it’s in line with his body.
• Place the nipple in his mouth, aiming at the soft palate. Make sure that he closes his lips around the entire perimeter of the teat.
• Stop the feeding after 5 to 10 minutes. Lift the baby toward your chest, and gently stroke and pat his back in a circular motion. Keep at it for a couple of minutes; this allows him to burp out the air he took in during feeding. A breastfed baby may also burp.
• Resume feeding until the baby stops drinking. Don’t pressure him to finish the bottle. Allow him to suck on the nipple even if he takes in no additional food. Burp the baby again.
• Because the valve that closes the stomach is not fully functional yet, some milk may come back out. Milk flows quickly from a bottle, so many infants drink more than they can handle.
• The bottle’s milk stream can be too limited, depending on the size and number of holes in the teat. The holes are too small/few if the baby sucks in his cheeks; if the baby spits out the milk or is having a hard time swallowing mouthfuls, that points to the opposite problem. Check to see if the teat is working properly by holding the bottle upside down. The milk is supposed to leak out at a rate of a few drops per second.
• Always discard any formula that the baby doesn’t drink.

How to change a nappy

Workspace Choose a work surface (also known as a changing table) that’s at least 30in wide and 22in deep, and that’s between 36in and 42in high. Make sure that it extends an inch or so towards the front, so that you’ll have a place for your toes.
Safety A safe work station has smooth edges and doesn’t tilt or wobble, not even when its doors or drawers are open. The back and sides should have an elevated edge. Keep it away from radiators, and make sure that there are no furnishings around for the baby to grab on to, such as knobs, handles, hooks, or curtain cords. Never leave the child alone on the work surface.
Materials Cover most of the work surface with a thick pad, preferably the kind with raised edges. Hang a mobile over it to distract the baby. Keep the following materials within reach: moist baby wipes (use only after the baby is at least four weeks old: these wipes tend to contain alcohol that could dry out a newborn’s skin); cotton wool; baby wipes or wash cloths; baby oil or cream; and a generous supply of nappies. You’ll go through about 4,500 nappies in your child’s early years. Sorry about that. Use a nappy bin to temporarily dispose of used nappies. The odour of nappy bins can be somewhat neutralised by a deodorant; some fancy models automatically wrap the nappy in a germ-killing plastic bag.
Changing the nappy Your baby’s tangible output should be guided into a soft, flexible shell that you secure around his or her nether regions. You can choose between cloth nappies and disposable ones.
Removing your baby’s output
1 Wash your hands.
2 Prepare the necessary materials. Take a wash cloth moistened in warm water that’s been allowed to cool to approximate body temperature. Or go for special pre-moistened baby wipes. Do not use soap.
3 Put the baby on the work station surface, on his or her back, and pull back the nappy.
4 If the nappy is only wet, move on to step 7.
5 Gently grab the baby’s feet and pull them up.
6 Wipe upwards for a boy, downwards for a girl as this will reduce the chance of vaginal infection. Do not open the labia.
7 Dispose of the nappy.
8 Clean the area with a soft washcloth soaked in warm water. Use a clean one for every nappy change.
9 Make sure the skin folds, the insides of the thighs, and the buttocks are dry before continuing.
10 Open the new nappy completely and place it under your baby with the closure tabs facing up at you.
11 Centre the baby on the nappy.
12 Fold the front of the nappy over the baby’s genitals. Let a boy’s penis fall forwards.
13 Fasten the side flaps.
14 Ensure that you can slide one or two fingers between the nappy and the baby’s belly. Don’t let the nappy cover a newborn baby’s navel stump.

Why is your baby crying?

In the field of baby management, effective communication is the absolute key to successful product development. Communicative skills such as play, speaking parentese and offering consolation are all part of the baby manager’s skill set.
Communication tools Your baby comes with a limited but effective way of communicating: making a terrible racket. The average baby cries for about an hour each day. There’s almost always a cause for these crying spells. Here are the most common ones.
Discomfort Change nappy, check if he is too cold or too hot, make sure that clothing is comfortable and not too tight.
Hunger Give milk.
Irritation Remove the source of irritation, such as excessive light or sound.
Stomach cramps Burp the baby, or put him on his back and move his legs as if he’s cycling.
Loneliness Physical contact should help.
Fatigue/exhaustion Relax the baby; feed him, bathe him, talk to him, rock him.
Illness Consult a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.