As soon as our baby daughter entered our lives, we started fully grasping the notion that parenthood is a full-time commitment. However, reading every parenting book available hasn’t prepared us for the wonders and setbacks that such a tiny creature can cause, especially at the very beginning, so we learned many valuable lessons along the way, and every day has been a new opportunity to adapt and grow.
For me, a first-time dad, the first six months of our baby girl’s life have been the most curious and most beautiful ones so far, so I’ve compiled a list of a few useful tips that will come in handy once you start your parenting journey, during the first months in particular.
Feeding time – dads can participate, too!
At the very beginning, your baby will solely depend on breastmilk and formula, so as a dad who wanted to take part in the feeding process, using a breast pump helped not only step in for my wonderful wife and let her sleep a while longer during the night feeding cycles, but also bond with our daughter.
Even when she didn’t cry, I learned to recognize the specific signals that indicated hunger, such as tilting her head from side to side, or sucking her fingers. It can take a while before you learn the best feeding position for your baby, especially if you are a dad, so accept the learning curve and don’t shy away from participating in these crucial moments.
While every baby’s schedule is different, keep in mind that every minute of sleep is essential for both the mental and physical development of your infant. Before they hit the 6-month mark, many babies will still wake up several times during the night, and this number will slowly decrease in time, leading to a single or maybe two night-time “wake-up calls”.
To ensure quality and comfortable sleep, especially during the first year, look for reliable baby cribs, and you can even get a convertible one that can later be uses as their bed. Don’t forget water-proof mattress pads and several sets of cotton sheets, and you’ll be good to go as far as bedding goes. There are also travel-friendly cribs perfect for parents who spend plenty of time on the road or have a vacation coming up.
At first, you might be tempted to pick your little one’s clothes based on the level of cuteness, which is perfectly understandable. However, you need to keep them simple, for easier changing, comfy and snug, and of course, steer clear of buttons and ribbons, because they could be a choking hazard.
For babies this young, all they need in addition to nappies are comfortable wearable blankets, perhaps swaddle wraps, bibs, and similar cotton items, while you can also find a baby sling or a carrier you can use for babywearing (they are dad-friendly, too), which is a very convenient and intimate way to spend time with your infant. Plus, it’s healthy for their hips, spine and neck, and they will be les fussy in a sling!
Baby-friendly skin care
It’s crucial to find a reliable skincare product range that is suitable for your infant, especially if you’re dealing with child eczema or other sensitivity issues. For example, our daughter’s skin just loves the mild Sebamed baby products, perfect for protecting her skin’s moisture and natural pH balance, all of which was Greek to me before I realized regular baby soaps don’t help with the irritation and dry patches on her skin.
She also has a full list of her favourite bath toys, so if your baby is fussy during bath time, a toy might help calm a crying infant and turn it into a fun, enjoyable activity. Another must-have for fidgety infants is no-slip padding for your baby tub or a bath seat. Make sure to get several cotton hooded towels, because your standard cotton ones might be too big or even too coarse for your infant’s skin.
Although parenthood is a never-ending learning process, and a set of skills you need to master on a daily basis, getting to know your infant through these everyday baby-care activities is a truly invaluable time that will have an important role in building a strong emotional bond between you and your little bundle of joy.