5 Things Steve Learned In His First 5 Days Of Being A Dad
Well, it's been 5 days since I officially became a Dad and I've learned a few things so far. Before I get into the things that I've learned, I want to thank everyone who reached out to my wife and I during the pregnancy and gave us advice. It really has helped a lot and we hope to continue to get great advice from our family, friends, and anyone who has a wise tidbit to share.
Now let's get right down to the 5 things I've learned in my first 5 days.
Literally everything little thing about taking care of Charlotte was scary the first few days. My wife and I couldn't even sleep because we had to be either holding Charlotte or watching her in her bassinet. What we came to find out was that none of it was actually scary, it was all just new. Nothing catastrophically bad was going to happen. She wasn't going to somehow climb out of her bassinet and fall to the floor, she wasn't going poke her own eye out with her sharp nails, and she certainly wasn't going to pass out from crying. It all seems scary at first, but within a few days the basics of child care are second nature. It also helps to have an amazing nursing staff to answer questions 24 hours a day while you are recovering in the hospital.
When we got home we started to prep everything that we wanted to give to Charlotte. We had bottles, pacifiers, and pumping supplies that all needed to be sterilized. What we didn't realize is that these things didn't need to be sterilized after EVERY USE. So the first day home, I spent hours boiling, and reboiling everything that was going to go near Charlotte. Luckily after a call to the hospital and a few chuckles, they assured us that we only needed to sterilize before the first use, after someone was sick, or every once in a while to keep things clean. That saved me a lot of stress and time. I was actually using sterilized tongs prepare bottles the first night home... Wow, that seems dumb now.
They aren't kidding when they say babies are poop factories. The first day in the world, Charlotte dirtied over a dozen diapers and has pretty much hit that mark every day since. We are still learning about how often we should change her, because sometimes after a little fart, I will go and change her, only to have to do it again a few minutes later. So if you can give some advice on how long to wait before a change, that would be helpful. At least once per day I find myself changing her, and then changing her again 5 minutes later.
Even with my parents helping out when we got home from the hospital, we were extremely sleep deprived. Instead of taking turns sleeping, everyone would be awake all day and then around 11pm we would be arguing about who would stay up with Charlotte. After a few days we got a schedule going so we could get 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. We still aren't sure what will happen when I go back to work on Thursday, but we will work together to make sure we don't go crazy from sleep deprivation.
My friend Scott told me this a few days before Charlotte was born, and it really is true. Caring for a newborn isn't rocket science. You feed them, change them, and love them. That's pretty much it for the beginning of their life. The only hard part is the fact that you don't get any sleep. I'm sure things will get more difficult as Charlotte gets older, but I'm glad I was told this because it really put my mind at ease. It's crazy how quickly certain aspects of caring for Charlotte became second nature. Let's just hope we don't hit any major roadblocks in the coming weeks and it stays relatively smooth sailing for these first few weeks and months of her life.