questionscan you help a guy out with tips/tricks/babyhacks…

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Congratulations !!
I'm an aunt, so I get to spoil the kids. You don't want my tips ;-)

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Congratulations!!!! My little girl is 20 now. Time flies.

My 2¢:

While it might not take a whole village...It is nice to call up Mom and ask for help once in a while. She raised you, and you lived through it.

Do not be afraid to leave your child with a responsible adult and spend time with your wife.

Child sniffles are common. It isn't the plague. Most likely. I promise.

Most of the time people mean well when they give you advice. Remember to use what you can, and discard the rest.

Every child is different. What worked for your best friend/sibling/parent may not work for you.

Frustration, anger and helplessness goes with parenting. Then she (child) smiles at you, and it is all okay.

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Sleep. Sleep every possible chance you get once she's born.

(This is a trick answer -- you will not get more than four hours sleep at a time for the next 4-6 months.)

Babies don't need nearly as much stuff as catalogs, emails, and TV commercials will insist they do. Really. Try not to get get crazy about it. More stuff = more cleaning and more laundry.

Don't buy much in the way of baby clothing until she arrives. "Newborn" sized clothing is remarkably often the wrong size for any given newborn. If friends ask what you need (besides more sleep), suggest 6-9 month size things if the weather then will be roughly appropriate. That was my mom's advice to me, and it was a real advantage when my son (who's now [cough] 44) grew just a bit and I didn't have to buy a bunch of clothing for him.

Hold her and cuddle her. A lot. Totally ignore people who tell you you're going to spoil her. It's not possible.

Enjoy every minute of her, and take lots of pictures.

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P.S. My first grandchild is due in early September. You and I can swap baby stories!

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@magic cave: Congrats on the upcoming grandbaby!

"Sleep. Sleep every possible chance you get once she's born. (This is a trick answer -- you will not get more than four hours sleep at a time for the next 4-6 months.)"

And once you can sleep again, sleep some more. You will need to save up for when she goes to her first sleepover, gets her drivers license, starts dating. Seriously.

The bit of advice I got that has stuck with me was from a friend who had her first baby just a couple of years before me. She said that she noticed that every time her daughter went through a cranky stage, shortly afterward the baby could do something new.

Cranky
Turns over by herself

Cranky
Sits up

Cranky
Crawls

etc.

Her theory was that the baby was cranky because she was trying to do something new and was soooo close but not quite there. After she put this theory together, it was easier to get through the cranky times because she chose to see them as the prelude to a new adventure!

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@belyndag & @magic_cave speak wisdom from experience. Don't pass up a chance to sleep.

At first you will be alternately in awe and terrified. It gets better.

The one bit that held true for me was that tough times seem to take forever while you go through them, but as soon as they pass it will seem like the tough times went fast.

Speaking of going fast, all the little sayings about the young 'uns growing up before your eyes are true! Enjoy every minute of it, and don't let anything keep you from her.

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If you get a baby swing that takes batteries and lacks a wall adapter, then do yourself a favor and check out this baby swing hack. It saved us $5 a week for 12-13 weeks each time we had a kid (3 kids).

Just get a DC adapter power charger between 4.5 and 6 volts (one from an old cell phone would work) that has at least 750 milliamps. Cut off the end off, and splice the wires directly to the battery contacts.

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@belyndag: I love that theory -- and I'm sending it to my son. Thank you for the congrats; it's an exciting time.

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Oh, and when someone tells you that girls are easier to raise than boys, rest assured that they didn't have any girls!

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A nurse in the hospital when my first was born (40+ years ago) told me to give him everything he needs and half of what he wants. I still think it was good advice.

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Disclaimer: I'm not a parent. I do have 15+ years experience working as a volunteer with youth/teenagers in various groups and settings.

My one piece of advice for parents is this: "Don't freak out!".
Remember, whatever is happening, you are not the first person to go through this. Others have dealt with this and lived. You probably aren't going to completely screw up your kid right away. And you won't make good decisions when you're crazy stressed/scared/freaked out. Take a deep breath (breathing is important, remember to do it often), calm down for half a second and then deal with it.

Also, as your kid grows up, not freaking out about things (at least not openly) will help keep the lines of communication open. And kids and teenagers who know you'll be cool about stuff are more likely to actually talk to you about stuff. I'm not saying don't discipline kids. You've got to do that. But do it calmly and rationally and explain the whats and whys to kids in terms they can understand.

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When the baby cries in her crib, your first impulse will be to go to her and find out what is wrong. Go with that no matter how many people tell you, "You're just going to spoil her."

The whiny little "spoiled" brats that we see did not get that way because their parents were attentive. It is usually because their parents ignored them until they felt guilty enough to try to "pay off" the kid with some kind of reward. It is because these kids feel insecure, that they feel the need to test their parents love, constantly.

The child that feels confident that Mom and Dad will be there when they are needed is far more capable of soothing himself. Certainly, even the happiest child will test her limits and need to be reigned in. So, an occasional tantrum is to be expected. But, it won't be because you rocked them to sleep when they were an infant.

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Looking ahead to solid food time (because time will FLY by): hide starches in vegetables -- starches like beans and rice.

Morning oatmeal is fine (and you can get lots of other good stuff into that), but don't give the kid a piece of bread or potato until she's over 2. Many (maybe most) kids between 1 and 2 go through a stage where all they're willing to eat is starches. If there are any with the meal, they'll eat those and refuse everything else. So that'll be it for that meal. Best to know in advance and prevent by just never putting chunks of starch on the plate to begin with.

Hey, congrats!

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Ooh! I just remembered: hair. Never get into an argument with your child about she wants to do with her hair. (Translation: pick your battled, and hair ain't one of them) No matter what she wants to do with, it doesn't matter. It will grow out. Whether she wants to look like everyone else or totally individual, it's only hair. And it's on her head.

True story, from days when I worked in a juvenile-court system: Straight-A 16-year-old student kept running away from home. Her reason? Retired military daddy wouldn't let her date boys with long hair, and in Florida in 1970, all of them had long hair. My son was six months old, and I promised myself (and him) that I'd do my best never to argue about hair styles with him. There were some serious temptations (anyone remember that "shelf" haircut?), but I think I managed.

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I expected one or two replies... but you guys are awesome! I'm going to have to bookmark this to go back for the "don't freak out" stuff.

As far as sleep goes, my pregnant wife is having vivid dreams and LOVES to act them out at night, so 3-4 hours of sleep has been the norm. It is always wonderful when your wife yells, "OH NO! I need a haircut" in the middle of the night -- but is SOUND asleep (she just got a haircut). Practice I guess.

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Only kidding, of course.

My tip, get yourself some Chux! Use them on the changing table for the first few months and you'll save yourself from changing the cover/pad in the middle of the night when she catches you off guard. Surprise!

Edit: oh, and make sure the nurse shows you how to swaddle the baby correctly.

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@capguncowboy: That's a great tip, the only way to get my son to sleep for about 3 months was by having him in his swing, I wish I had converted it over. I can still hear the noise it made when I think about it now 6 years later. I'll blame my lack of initiative and inventiveness at the time on sleep deprivation.

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@belowi: Clothes dryer or driving around in the car. We had a colicky period (three weeks, non-stop crying unless I was holding and jiggling him) in which I got totally desperate. And slightly crazy. Putting him in his little carrier and putting it on top of the empty but running clothes dryer helped, as did a few miles of driving around aimlessly.

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@magic cave: Colic here, too. Even walking him didn't work. The only time in my life I was hysterical. First born, you think you're doing something wrong. Went to the pediatrician with double bags under both eyes. He told me to make a bottle of (can't remember the amounts) of bourbon and karo syrup. The first decent sleep either of us had and things were much better afterwards. Only used it once but it was a life saver. When the second one was born, a different pediatrician came in the hospital room and said he was fine except for a little bit of colic. I sat straight up and told him to tell the kid he better get over it or he was going to be an orphan. I think he even backed up a few steps.

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@pooflady: [laughing] Your doc's "prescription" reminded me of something my internist told me a while back. His wife had just recently delivered their fourth child, the other three were under age seven, and the entire family was about to attend a military flight-school graduation for a friend and then attend the friend's wedding the very next day. The graduation was almost 200 miles from here, and the wedding was 300 miles from the graduation. (And all in the same state!)

I laughed about the lunacy of two adults, an infant, and kids aged 2, 4, and 6 all in the car for those long drives; he laughed back and said, "Yep, for the two-year-old it's gonna be a "Benadryl in the sippy cup" weekend."

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I would say to "remember the good times". What I mean by this is don't focus on the crappy parts of being a parent, like the no sleep, baby crying all night, no free time or worrying about the baby getting dropped or hurt. Instead remember the good things about being a parent. Like when they start to talk or how they get excited to see you after you come home from work. When they start crawling and then walking. (some of these will be a couple years away of course). Every time my 5 year old gets me angry I have to stop and remember how special he is and how many fun times we have had. The good really does outweigh the bad and as long as you remember that you will enjoy it more and be a little more tolerable of bad behavior.
Since I stared doing this the time I spend with my 2 year old is much better and I am really trying to enjoy it before he grows into his evil older brother... ;) Enjoy the ride because it will fly by!

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Don't over react, and buy a bigger car than you need.

there was recently a good condition Taurus Wagon on my local CL.
Seller said " Need to get something bigger, Got a Kid on the way"

You don't need a Ford Expedition, or a Suburban for a kid or 2. a normal sedan will work just fine.

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@bsmith1:
RE: Chux!

How do they differ from Puppy pads?
just going by the pic on amazon, they just look like Puppy pads.

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@earlyre: I suppose not much except for shape and price. Puppy pads may be more absorbent. These are rectangular and fit a changing table nicely. Same as doctor office uses on the baby scale.

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Learn to swaddle well - it makes a big difference in getting the kid off to sleep. We were having a hard time till we saw the Happiest Baby on the Block dvd from Harvey Karp's book of the same name.
Keep in mind the kid will probably get more upset as you swaddle them but will calm down quicker and sleep better+longer once it's done.

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Love, of course.Don't try to be perfect. You'll make little mistakes and figure things out along the way.It will be ok, I promise. Never ever lay her down near the edge of anything, like when you're dressing her or changing her -- even babies who can't roll over, still wiggle and move. And fall off. Get a rocking chair and soothing music DVDs. Learn songs to sing. You'll be pacing the floor with her and those songs will help quiet her down. You'll probably sing the same one 100 times in a row as you walk her to sleep. Whatever works. :-) My little one had a fussy tummy, so something called "gripe water" was a godsend. Your sleep is important. Your wife's sleep is even more important. Super super super important. Moms are tuned into the baby 24/7 and it is very, very difficult to pull back from and rest. READ books to her, even when she's a baby in your arms. Goodnight Moon, Time for Bed (Time for bed little goose, little goose. The stars are out and on the loose...) is my favorite,

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@earlyre: Chux cost more than puppy pads and they're shaped differently. There's no functional difference at all. Go where the price is best.

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Always remember. You cannot make the world fit the child. You must find another way.

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Mine is 7, and she's definitely daddy's little girl. Takes after him waaaaay more than me. Congratulations!!

--sleep while you can, all you can. It helps your patience exponentially. Make sure your wife does too. Women tend to use sleep time as 'time to get things done'...not necessary.

--she will be her own person. I'm a soldier...she is a princess. Don't even try to force her. It will frustrate you.

--don't be afraid to put her down. You're going to want to hold her every second...but you will get things done and she will learn to move and play and work by watching you do the same.

--keep having fun. Again, she will learn how to be a part of a healthy relationship by watching you be with your wife, with friends, etc.

--let her get dirty.

--let her get bumped and bruised.

--teach her to explore. The world is hers to learn.

--let her fail. And teach her how to take responsibility for those failures. (Once she's older)

--say no.

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take care of yourself. Some people put everything into the child. She has time to save up for or pay for college...you need to save up for your retirement. Or you'll end up in her guest room when you're 80.

-- yes she's a girl...teach her how to be your self rescuing princess.

--love every second you have with her. It flies.

Remember, nobody knows how to deal with a tiny stranger perfectly. Love her and you will be a good parent. We all feel like we are messing the kids up...but step back and see how happy and healthy she is and remember you caused that. You're both going to do a great job. :)

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Buy used when appropriate, especially clothes. They grow fast

Be consistent. That is really the key.

And pick your battles carefully. Once you pick the battle, you HAVE to win. No exceptions.

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if you ever feel like "i'm such an awful parent" : there are ALWAYS examples of WAYYY Worse parents no further away than your TV, or Computer.

Watch, or remember an episode of some dreck like Jerry Springer.. most of those folks have kids. you've gotta be doing better than them.

and if that doesn't make you feel better about your parenting skills, there's this story out of france the other day:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/07/04/france-kindergarten-killed/12214391/
trust me. You're fine.

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Best advice I got was to let the baby stay overnight in the nursery while I was in the hospital after giving birth.

New parents often are so excited by the birth that they don't want to miss a moment which is understandable. But If you keep the baby in the room, the night feedings start on night one and especially for the mom she is exhausted from the birth experience. If you leave the baby to the nursery for the first night or two and you sleep you at least start out as a new mommy or daddy fully rested.

Your child will not know, remember or resent you for not keeping them in your room the first night or two while in the hospital.

You get all of the nights once you are home to make up for it. : )

Congrats on the baby!

Second the comments about swaddling. Very tight. Practice ahead of time. It seems like such a simple thing but it really does provide a newborn comfort.

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@capitalggeek:
You are right.
Consistency really matters. No wavering.
Mom and dad have to be the boss and must always show a unified front.
Children are smart. They know when they have the control and are adept manipulators from a very early age.

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Time flies. As I've seen answered here before. Just remember each day. They go by so fast, and before long you'll find yourself missing your little girl. Save the little things, cards she makes for you, pictures she draws, notes she leaves. Those memories aren't re-lived later or something you can reproduce. Never loose those thoughts.

Do your best. She won't ask for anything more.

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Immediate tips:
* Swaddling. Learn it; love it.

* "5 S's" from "Happiest Baby on the Block". Worked a treat on my daughter.

* BORROW the above from a friend or library - do NOT waste your own money on it because he took enough material for a 2-column pamphlet and expanded it out to a $20 book. Waste of cash, so just go read the summary someplace.

* "Burp Cloths" are generally worthless. Non-absorbant, far too small and too expensive. Get a couple packs of dirt-cheap traditional cotton cloth diapers - a 12-pack should be around $6 at BrU.

* Support your wife - after your wife's done her part for a middle-of-the-night feed, get up and change the diaper, re-swaddle and put your daughter back to sleep. Her job ain't easy. Be a man and help.

* Go to the Army surplus store and buy your OWN diaper bag so you don't have to schlep around those horrible Vera Bradley prints. Tactical is Tacticool.

* Enjoy the first couple of months where your daughter will sleep through anything.

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@philmills: Continued.

* Swaddling blankets - we liked the 48x48 bamboo ones from Aden+Anais. BIG and STRETCHY is what you need. Anything smaller (hospital ones, most receiving blankets...) is useless after the first week or so.

* Save receipts. You will get more receiving blankets than you will ever find uses for. Keep a couple (5 max, IMO), return the rest and buy diapers/wipes. Ditto for cute newborn clothes. We never got a chance to wear 2/3 of what we were given - babies grow FAST.

* In a couple of months, the SwaddleMe sleep wraps w/ Velcro flaps will be VERY useful when she gets squiggly enough to break out of your best traditional swaddling wrap job. Own a couple of these because they will get pooped/peed/puked on a LOT.

* Start your diaper changes with a fresh diaper in place and ready to go underneath your daughter. Saves time and moves, adds an extra leak barrier under her for sneak-attack pee so you don't have to change out your changing pad as often.

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@elemay: meant to write CD, not DVD. no need to encourage screen time for kids at any age ;-)

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Baby Hacks: Secret of the Baby Whisperer- Tracy Hogg- Has several charts that describe why the newborn is doing what he/she is doing. Very good for diagnosing problems.

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Hyland's colic pills for gassy fussy times. Side-to-side swing. Infant massage for gassy times too -- rub in large circles across the abdomen, left to right as you're looking at her. Gets things moving.

Read The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, The Birth Book by Wm Sears, and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon. Those are my three book recommendations to get you from here to baby.

And don't buy too much stuff. It will propagate on its own. You will be amazed.

Don't buy gifts for her. Give her your time instead. It is more valuable.

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Babies cry because that is their only means of communication. Pick them up, feed them, change them. With my first we tried to religiously stick to the feeding schedule the hospital told us to. He cried all the time. We ran the vacuum, we rocked him, we let him sit. Finally, we decided to see if he wanted to eat. That was it. From then on if he cried, we fed him. Babies won't eat if their not hungry.

One of my sons was colicky. When he had troubles, I would place him on my lap, face up, feet toward me, hold his legs, and gently rock them up toward his belly. It seemed to help when he was fussy.

The most important tip- if you get frustrated, put them down and walk away. Take a minute for yourself, Put on headphones and crank music while you walk them. Take a drive with them. Hand them to your partner and say "Your turn!"

I had 4 boys, my youngest is 8. I can't even remember my life before kids. If it were possible, I'd have more. Every day with a baby is a new milestone! Enjoy!

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Accept any help anyone offers. If someone offers to go grocery shopping for you, hand them a list. If they offer to help with laundry, give them sorted piles of dirty clothes. If they offer to cook, give them a list of foods you're allergic to.

And best of all, if they offer to babysit, jump on that offer before they change their mind.

Mazel Tov and good luck!