While cargo shorts are certainly not “high fashion”, they allow new dads to hold baby related items in the side pockets when your hands are full. While it’s essential to have a fully stocked diaper bag, sometimes it’s faster to hold a small burp cloth or tissues in your side pocket to deal with spills or runny noses. Just make sure to empty your pockets before you throw the shorts in the wash.
The mom blogs talk about getting scratched and clawed by your baby during feeding. However, if you’re a dad, you may not actually think about the number of times that your baby will scratch your face and neck when you’re holding them.
You have spent your life hearing things like “take it like a man”, or getting bumped and bruised and letting it heal on its own. Well if I could go back to myself as a new dad and make sure I put skin care treatment, or topical ointment on those cuts, I would do it immediately. No matter how often you clip your babies nails, she can still find a way to scratch you. I was scratched by my daughter hundreds and hundreds of times (I used to wear a lot of V-Neck T-shirts while holding her, which was not only a fashion mistake, but a physical mistake that led to several scratches on my neck.) While those cuts healed, you can see the remnants of those marks on my skin because I did not address it and it truly annoys me.
As soon as I addressed the newer cuts with a mix of Neosporin and vitamin E cream, the marks did not stay and my skin healed properly. However, the older cuts have led to a minor discoloration on one spot on my neck, which is not very noticeable, but to be perfectly honest, it’s very annoying to me. This blog is not only about strategies that were successful, but also strategies that came from my mistakes. Take the few seconds to address the multitude of cuts you are likely to get while holding your child and you’ll be golden.
Good Luck Dad
1. Feed the baby during take-off- Not when you first get into your seat, not during taxiing, or when you’re “about to take off”, but when your plane is wheels up. It can be a challenge to push your child’s normal feeding time (within reason,) and they may be cranky or fussy during the change to their routine, but it is often essential that you make them wait on the bottle until take off. One of the main reason babies cry on a flight is the air pressure that causes their ears to hurt. Solution: Ways to reduce pressure include pacifiers and bottles during take-off and landing when the pressure changes are most significant. The sucking motion helps them be calm and it can naturally relieve the pressure in their ears.
2. Try to pick a flight that goes with their sleep or nap time- If you can time it right, your baby will spend a valuable portion of the flight sleeping.
3. Keep them awake in the terminal- If you catch your child nodding off 30 minutes before you board, sing a song, play peek a boo, and pick them up. Traveling with a baby is exhausting, but don’t allow your child to “waste” that precious nap on the ground.
4. Always check your luggage in baggage claim- If you are a travel pro who packs efficiently in a perfectly sized carry-on, remember that traveling with a new human being is a different experience. When you are traveling with the baby, sometimes there is nothing more valuable than a free hand. You normally carry on to “save time”, but you will almost certainly move slow and be delayed as you wait for the stroller to come out of the gate check and find a family restroom to change diapers. By the time you get to the baggage claim, your luggage will likely be ready to come out.
5. Plan for extra time at security- this should go without saying, but you will need extra time for security to screen your food, bottles, stroller and miscellaneous items.
6. Buy a cover for the outside of your stroller- Use a stroller cover to protect from dirt, debris, and the elements. All it took was one rain storm for us to stop us from leaving our gate-checked stroller uncovered.
7. Never check your child’s food/snacks- My wife and I completed our first leg of our flight but were faced with a six-hour weather delay at Newark. We found that Amtrak was still running and would get us home sooner. We negotiated a travel reimbursement that would pay for the cost of our train tickets but found out we would not get our luggage until the next day. The baby formula was in our luggage and we had just enough to get by, but we cut is close and won’t make that mistake again.
8. Use early boarding – My wife and I were so accustomed to our travel routine that we literally forgot that there is early boarding for family traveling with infants. Fun fact: Orlando airport rarely or never allows early boarding for families with children, because of the large number of families.
9. Wipe down the seats and tray tables with baby wipes- Planes move from passenger to passenger and while trash is picked up, the seats are rarely wiped down in between departures. During the flight, your baby’s hands will touch everything so use the baby wipes for a clean area.
10. When the flight lands, double-check the seat pocket and search under the seat- It’s easy to forget, but this tip has saved me from leaving books, toys and other needed materials during the flight.
When people see a baby in the seat next to them, many assume the worst. However, there is no greater feeling than stepping off the plane and hearing the following: “Wow… the baby was really good,” or “I didn’t even realize there was a baby on the plane.” Please use these tips to make the most of your travel experience. Good luck!
Your kids respond to music and sounds and get distracted just like we do. Saying “stop” or “no” is not as effective if you have the TV in the background, nursery rhymes playing off a device, or your child is holding a stuffed animal that talks or makes noise. When your child starts moving independently and you’re trying to shape behavior and teach lessons, try turning the TV or music off before you do. A stern voice in silence beats yelling in noise.
Babies are instantly attracted to the brightly colored, noise making devices that we always seem to be reaching for. When the baby gets a hold of your phone, they can be locked in and often fuss if you take it away. However, if you go to accessibility settings for color filters on an iPhone, you can make the phone a grayscale color that is far less appealing to baby. Accessibility shortcut also allows you to toggle colors on and off by tapping on the home screen three times. If you use android, go to Developer options and select “Simulate color space” to enable “Monochromacy”. Grayscale also saves battery life and when you’re not around baby, feel free to switch it back to normal
You’ve got it new dad! You’ve picked out the perfect outfit, carefully moved your child’s arms through the sleeves (in the midst of major arm flailing), only to realize the outfit is too small and the buttons at the bottom do not clasp. This can be a stressful moment if you are headed to an appointment or to meet family and friends. Now you have to look for another outfit, only to discover that the matching bottoms are nowhere to be found.
Babies grow super fast and their clothing is always getting messy and rotating in and out of the laundry bin. It can be a challenge to hold your child in one arm and find a perfectly matching outfit with the other, especially if you are in a time crunch.
If you are expecting to leave the house, always plan your child’s outfit in advance and lay out two options in a specific location to save you time and stress prior to your departure.
My daughter had just started to crawl and was having a very wiggly and cranky morning. Did I mention that she was also teething? We had just taken a stroll around the neighborhood, and I put her down for her nap. This gave me a chance to make a customer service call that I had been trying to make for a few days. Now, there are two of the things I truly hate in life:
- Customer service calls
- Wasting time
It took me several minutes to reach an operator, and when I did, I was sent back and forth to different departments. About halfway through the call, my daughter woke up from her nap, much earlier than normal, and started crying for my attention. I continued the call as I picked her up and changed her diaper.
When I finally reached a supervisor who was ready to resolve my request, my daughter began to crawl into the kitchen. I ran to catch her, with the phone in my hand. That’s when she used her baby ninja skills to reach up and press the bright red “End Call” button on my phone.
I was ready to scream
I was ready to scream, as I realized that I had lost over 30 minutes without getting my service issue resolved. Looking around my cluttered living and dining rooms, I thought how I would have to be “on” again, with no parenting breaks. I put my daughter back in the crib, let her cry, and called my wife. I told her that I didn’t think I could do “this” anymore.
Thankfully, my wife talked me off the ledge, and the rest of day was fine between my daughter and me. But that singular moment was the only time that I’ve ever regretted my choice of staying at home with the baby. I shared this story with another parent at a public library Story Time session. This wise and experienced parent mentioned a feature on my phone called “Guided Access”.
Guided Access simply means that you can disable the touch feature on your iPhone (there’s a similar feature called “Touch Lock” on android devices). It not only prevents touch from being enabled, but it can also be customized to block out specific portions of the screen, and not others. In other words, this feature could have modified the phone controls and prevented my daughter from ending my customer service call.
I’ve come to realize the importance of having these conversations with other parents and how sharing our experiences and guiding others can save us time, stress and money. I found the solution I was looking for, because a Guy Did Ask.
Here is a link to my YouTube walk through about how to prevent your child from ending your calls by using this feature. And here is an article with overview of how to enable Guided Access.
Let’s keep the conversation going.