- The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
- Expecting Better and Cribsheet by Emily Oster
- Baby Sign Language Made Easy by Lane Rebelo
For heading to the hospital
- Know your wife’s birth plan in and out. She’ll be in pain and appreciate someone advocating for her.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet a lot. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive.
- Take snacks and bottled caffeine. The nurses will bring things for your partner, but you are mostly on your own. I recommend the canned Triple Shot Draft Lattes from La Colombe. Gatorade is good to have on-hand for your partner, too.
- Make sure the carseat is in the car, not at home. The nurses will want to do a carseat test with your infant before you leave.
- Pack your bags early. Our baby came a month early, and we had just packed our bags two days before.
- There is a chance that the baby will come out blue and won’t cry immediately like in the movies. None of the books mentioned that and it was the scariest two minutes of our life. The nurses jumped into action, but didn’t seem panicked, then two minutes later we heard Charlie cry for the first time.
For the first couple months at home
- You never have enough burp cloths. Keep them around at all times, and enough so that you don’t need to do daily laundry. The muslin ones are the best.
- You don’t need to use your partner’s huge diaper bag. I had this Small Cafe Bag from Tom Bihn that is perfect for running around town. It fits a couple of diapers, burp cloths, wipes, a bottle, a changing pad, butt paste, an extra pair of pajamas, and a toy.
- A good carrier is essential for having free hand to get things done around the house. We use the Beco Gemini and like it.
- Take the baby as much as you can and let your partner sleep. They just did a ton of work and still wake up every couple hours to feed the baby. If your partner is open to pumping, that is a great way to allow them to get more sleep while you feed the baby.
- For the first couple weeks, Amanda and I took shifts: Me 8pm-1am, Amanda 1am-6am, me 6am-12pm, both of us 12pm-8pm.
- Take it upon yourself to be in charge of washing the bottles and pumping stuff if you are using it. Remember that most dishwashers have a sanitize cycle. That + a basket for all of the pump and bottle parts is clutch. Handwashing works too, but throwing everything in the dishwasher before you take a nap and having it ready when you wake up is nice when you have to wash stuff twice a day.
- A portable sound machine for the baby and a nicer one for the off-duty parent will help your sleep greatly. The Snooz is really nice.
- You’ll be surprised by how natural it feels to hold your baby, even if babies kind of scared you before. Everything changes when it is your baby.
- Also, I usually have a weak stomach and start to gag at the sight of puke and poop, so I was pretty worried about it. 7 months in and I haven’t vomited yet, but get puked on by our baby multiple times a day. Totally different when it is your kid.
- When you and your partner are sleep deprived, feelings and tensions can run high. Take a breath and give yourself and your partner grace. Everything will be okay.
- Fathers can get something akin to post-partum depression, too. It is a gigantic change in your life, a big added responsibility, and all of a sudden you are sleep deprived. It takes a toll. It is okay and normal, and you should think about talking to a therapist.
- People will give you lots of unsolicited advice that is probably outdated, especially if they had kids 30-50 years ago. Smile, say thanks, then completely forget/ignore it.
- You may need to set boundaries with your parents. Make your wishes known for when they can come visit, how they can help when they want, and what your boundaries are.