Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat. I heart you

We’ll be running out of newborn diapers soon, so I just ordered a box on Amazon.  It’ll be here in 2 days shipped free at a cheaper price than the stores and without tax. What’s not to love about it? I’m sure there are times that it may be cheaper to shop with coupons and a sale at Target, but you can’t beat the sheer convenience of having stuff shipped with the click of a mouse. No traffic, no parking, no lifting and no lines.

I’m not currently a shareholder and I don’t work for them, but I’m obviously an Amazon evangelist! I’m an Amazon addict and spend way more than I would if it wasn’t so easy or if I had to go out and pick it up.  I have opened my wallet to Amazon and it’s ok.  Thank you for doing what you do.

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JJ’s First Friend

One of my best friends and his wife just gave birth to their lovely baby boy, Trevor.  We are so happy for them and know they’ll be fantastic parents. They were kind enough to invite family and friends over to their house the day after birth and we were fortunate to be able to drop by today.

When we met Trevor, we were instantly transported back 7 weeks to when JJ had just arrived home with us. It was surreal to see how much JJ has grown in this short time and the difference between a newborn and a justborn. Their size was easy to compare as they had come into the world just 6 ounces apart. I will also admit being jealous at watching my friends put their son down for bed.  They simply put him down without a fight, cry, or whimper from the baby. Unless he’s very tired, JJ will try his best to continue to be held.

While there, we were asked if we had any “special” advice and I thought it’d be worth sharing with other new and future parents.

  • Cover the private part when changing the diapers.  All it takes is a split second to get sprayed. They happen to have a pee cover cup type thingie that made me laugh. We don’t have one and have gotten by with using an extra wipe.
  • How many wipes should you use when you change a diaper? AS MANY AS IT TAKES
  • Buy a wipe warmer.  It seems frivolous, but it saves many a cry in the middle of a Winter night.
  • Only fill the wipe warmer up half way. If you fill it to the top, the top ones don’t get very warm.
  • All diapers are not created equal.  We recentl tried a box of Babies R Us diapers and have been most disappointed with the amount of leaking and blow ups we’ve experienced.  I know I had written that I thought they were all the same, but I stand corrected. Too bad I have about 20 boxes of them (that’s probably about 1,500). We find them to be generally ok during the day, but prefer a “name” diaper during nighttime.
  • Get the best washer and dryer you can afford. I’m amazed at how much laundry we do. We just bought a new dryer for the new house because our old one was electric and the house is gas.  These machines are worth their weight in gold (maybe silver considering today’s prices).  I have no idea how people used to do this by hand.  Who has the time? Laundromats have a place in society, however, nothing beats the convenience of throwing a stack of soiled onesies into the washer, pressing  a button, and having them all clean and ready to get spit up on again in a flash.
  • We have a small library of baby care DVD’s that we purchased ranging from “The Happiest Baby on the Block” to Breastfeeding to First Aid to Baby Massage etc. I’m happy to share these with anyone near and far (I digitized them) so jsut drop me a message if you’re interested.
  • Place a new diaper under the old diaper when doing a diaper change. That way you can just slide the old one out and you’re set to wrap and go.
  • Babies are sturdy.  My friends were so gentle in changing Trevor’s diapers as we were when we started.  However, now that he squirms, kicks, and rolls, we literally resemble a pit crew as we “throw” his arms and legs into a new onesie.
  • Do what you want.  It’s your kid.  Don’t listen to anyone you don’t want to (includng me). Everyone wants to share their experience and they don’t mean you harm by telling you to do X, Y or Z.  However, there will be times you disagree.  In an effort to keep the peace, I’ve learned to just say “OK, I’ll try that, thanks for the advice” as my pat answer no matter how much I disagree (giving the baby water, wrapping the baby in 10 layers, ignoring the baby). I used to express my viewpoint immediately creating a point of contention unnecessarily. Knowing that my wife are the ones caring for our son, we use the best knowledge and throw out the worst.  It’s as simple as that.
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Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

JJ did a Chinese New year workout with his Auntie Chan Lil!

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Breast is Best

I never thought I’d do a post on breastfeeding, but there’s was just a sit in at Targets across the country because a breastfeeding mother who was covered up was thrown out of the store. As the story ran, there were a lot of comments from people that simply didn’t know much about breastfeeding. So, I thought I’d do a quick post to clarify a couple of things. If you’ve chosen to bottle-feed, all the more power to you.  However, as we chose to breast feed and faced several hurdles starting out, I wanted to provide some insight into what we learned and our experience so you may know what to expect.
First of all, almost all benefits in the world go towards breastfeeding:

  • It contains active infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals that give increased protection against infections in the first months, when these can be the most serious.
  • It contains the perfect proportion of nutrients that your baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calcium.
  • It is easily digestible.
  • It may protect against allergies and asthma in the future.
  • It may decrease a baby’s risk of obesity in the future.
  • It may contain some fatty acids that promote brain development.
  • Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose weight more easily.
  • It comes out the perfect temperature
  • It’s always available.
  • It’s free.

Knowing all of this, who wouldn’t breastfeed assuming there’s not a health issue etc? Pre-pregnancy, I assumed that the baby came out and a mother’s breasts just started flowing with milk. Such is not the case. The fact of the matter is that breastfeeding is HARD WORK. Hard, hard work. It’s hard work for both the baby and the mother especially early on as the mother needs to build her supply and the baby will need to learn how to latch on to the breast and suck. It’s harder than you think because early on milk isn’t flowing instantly. It hurts starting out and an improper latch can bruise the nipples, cause sores and bleeding.

Taking that into account and it’s no wonder why bottle-feeding is popular, not to mention the convenience of a bottle. Once the formula (or pumped breast milk) is in, the bottle’s nipple literally just drops milk into the baby’s mouth with little to no effort. As a newborn, would you rather work at getting your food by sucking or simply sit back and have it free flow into you?

Assuming a new mother still wants to breastfeed knowing it will hurt starting out and she will be tired beyond belief, the earlier she starts the better. Literally, minutes after the baby is born is perfect. This is necessary so that the baby’s sucking action can send signals to the mother’s brain to begin producing milk.  If you start off formula feeding, it’s very hard to switch later on as the mother will lack a milk supply and will most likely refuse to eat from the breast after becoming accustomed to the bottle. The first couple of days, the breasts will only produce a couple of drops of a creamy, high-protein, low-fat “milk” called colostrum.  It’ll take roughly 3 to 4 days before the milk kicks in. From then on, the breasts need to be continually “eaten” so as to signal to the mother’s brain to keep producing. Without feeding or milking like this, the mother won’t develop a supply to which she could eventually pump and store for later feedings or even bottle feedings that daddy and others can do.

Going back to the Target issue that inspired this post,  there were a lot of posts about pumping the milk at home and giving it to babies in bottles at the store. Unfortunately, newborns simply can’t switch back and forth between breasts and bottles. Newborns become accustomed to the shape and flow of its mother’s nipple early on. Switching on them causes confusion and often leads to an outright refusal of the mother’s breast forcing the mother to bottle feed. This logic of nipple confusion also applies to pacifiers.

In an effort to personalize this post, we knew all of this before we went into labor thanks to our classes. After JJ was born, we attempted to breastfeed.  However, we became quite disappointed when JJ wasn’t latching on properly to eat and was effectively not eating. After a couple of attempts, it was advised to begin bottle feeding, despite knowing we wanted to breast feed as there was a fear JJ would quickly become dehydrated and malnourished if he didn’t get any food. We obliged in the best interest of our son and started with a couple of Similac bottles. 

When he was released from the hospital, we continued to try breastfeeding, but continued to struggle literally to the point of tears.  It was painful to watch as the father and I hired multiple lactation consultants to see if they had any tips at all that would help. The general consensus noted two early problems: the epidural literally knocked out JJ so he was sleepy early on and as he was a smaller baby, his mouth was too small to latch on properly. Despite the struggle,  I’m happy to say that after about a week of down right struggling and pain, my wife pushed through and our baby boy is happily breast feeding to this day.

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Baby powder isn’t for babies

With the nature and time constraints of parenthood, some of my posts will inevitably be short, especially updates from my phone.

Here’s a quick example of the numerous conflicting advice: to use soap or not.  If it was up to Johnson and Johnson, you’d be washing your baby with J and J no tear shampoo while he’s still in the womb.  Our doctor and a lot of web sites are advising no products to avoid any potential sensitivities and to allow his skin to shed and repair itself.  In addition to J and J, there’s no short of other websites, Doctors, companies, etc that are pushing products on your kid immediately.  For now, we’re going au natural and sans product despite the fact that we have tones of it all. 

One more big fact, the doctors don’t recommend baby powder for babies. There is a fear that the fine spores of the powder will irritate the baby’s respiratory system and cause complications. Who knew?

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The Umbilical Cord (stump)



So, JJ’s umbilical cord stump fell off 12/12/11 at 9 days old. It usually takes about 2 weeks.
I had no idea you had a stump before the birthing classes. After the umbilical cord is cut (I cut JJ’s), a knot is made and the stump is the left over exposed part of the remaining umbilical cord.  Day after day, it dries itself out until it eventually falls off. Before it falls off, parents need to keep it clean to prevent infection by rubbing it with alcohol swabs and avoid contact with it mainly from the diaper by folding the front down to avoid irritation.  Now that it’s fallen off, we’ve saved it. I hope he treasures it in the future. Speaking of which, I have no idea where mine is…

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My Little Ironman

JJ is getting so strong now! He came out of the womb all muscle as far as I can tell and is just now starting to plump up. However, he’s still strong as all get out. This is best evidenced when we change him as he will kick, push, and punch with amazing force at times.

In addition to his muscles, another recent discovery is how much he loves the warm air of a hair dryer after a bath. You can literally see him calm down as he warms down in his naked glory. He’s sooooo cute!

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Peanut Pics


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The Mighty Aspirator

Babies are classified as preferential (obligate) nasal breathers AKA they typically only breathe through their noses. It’s theorized this is due to the soft palate being so close to the epiglottis until they are older (~4-6 months). The reason I bring this up is that since that’s the only way he breathes, we are constantly ensuring that nothing is blocking his nose (physical items like blankets/toys as well as mucus and other foreign matter).

Since he has a tiny nose, you and he can’t “pick” it and using tools like tweezers etc can cause damage.  Therefore, you will typically use the oh so handy aspirator to clear his passage ways. One of the nurses at the hospital taught us to wedge one at the foot of his basket/crib so we always know where it is and can find it immediately.  This has been great advice!  Another trick we have learned is to use saline drops to loosen/soften the boogers so they are easier to come out.

We’ve even purchased an electronic one that looks like a mini-vacuum.  I’m still undecided how much I like it, so I’ll review it in a future post!


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May I have $42?

panhandler-1I was in the parking lot of Babies R Us today strapping JJ into his car seat and was stopped by a woman in a late model car with a pre-teen/ teenager in the passenger side and a toddler in the back.  She began talking about how I looked like a nice guy and she’s a nice lady and the world is crazy blah, blah, blah. As I don’t typically small chat in the parking lot, I cut her off and asked what she needed. 

She started off by flashing a driver’s license and explaining she needed medication for her child and that she didn’t have the $42 to pay for it. She said she’s a single mother that’s fallen on tough times and $42 would solve her problems.

I thought for a second (is this a scam? does she need it? what happened to asking for $1? her rims look nicer than mine…) and before I tell you what I did, what would you have done? 

I felt for the situation she described and know of plenty of friends and acquaintances struggling through this and that. I couldn’t help but imagine being in those shoes having to beg on your child’s behalf if push came to shove. However, part of me also thought it was a scam as she found money for her car, clothes, etc Heck, she might have had an IPhone and a Grande Latte that I didn’t see.

Yet, I’ll never know if her story was true and such is the nature of spontaneous giving. I once read a study about how people will only give to panhandlers that appear to need it. If a clean cut homeless person with clean clothes and clean hands and nails approached you who literally had nothing having lost his job, house etc, you probably wouldn’t give him anything if he told you the truth about his situation. However, “dirty” up the same guy to fit society’s stereotype of a homeless guy and suddenly wallets start to open as he looks like he needs it now. This is a never-ending struggle as the homeless need to look more desperate than they are as we continue to question their motives and situation in the blink of an eye.

I sincerely hope this woman needed the money and that it went to her son’s medicine.  I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for kids and hungry people.  You’ve seen what I eat routinely, so I can’t help but feel incredibly fortunate and equally guilty when I see someone hungry. As long as I’m in a position to help, I will continue to help and look forward to teaching my son about being humble, giving back, and appreciating everything and everybody in his life. We are truly lucky indeed!

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