The good daycare’s also have long waiting lists. We were on our waitlist for 15 months and fortunately got off the list just as my wife was going back to work.
I haven’t read any other replies, so forgive me if this is redundant.
Don’t buy too many diapers of one size up front, or preemptively. Meaning, we had about 2 packs of size 1 diapers left over from when my daughter was just a couple of months old. We ended up giving them away, and it wasn’t a huge financial loss of course, but it was still a pain. Also, we had some spare size 4s left over when she recently changed to size 5. Luckily, the size 4 ones still “fit” and we were able to use them up, but you don’t want to risk it with too small/too large diapers.
I cannot reiterate this enough. My daughter was born Dec 13, 2016. She’s now almost 11 months old. The first few months, she was of course getting physically bigger, but not a lot was changing. Then she started smiling. Then she started laughing. Then she started crawling. Now she crawls at lightspeed and has taken numerous steps, without even thinking about it, from the couch to a toy or the chair, or whatever. The last week or so, she’s been mimicing words we say and yelling at the dog when we yell at him to drop her toys. It’s surreal how much development happens in such a short amount of time. We recently came across a few infant sized diapers, and compared them side by side to her current size 5s. It almost brought tears to my wife’s eyes. And, admittedly, I felt a little sad, but in a good way.
People really don’t reinforce enough about how much development happens in the first year. My daughter, while still technically an infant, seems to be becoming her own “person.” She even has started fake-laughing at us, when she expects us to laugh at her for something silly she did.
Trust me, if you spend as much time with your kid as you can, you’ll look back when you’re planning their first birthday party (wife’s idea, not mine), and realize how quickly the first year went. And I’m sure it remains the same throughout your child’s life, but I don’t have any experience parenting further than about 10 months right now. Good luck!
ETA: one last thought: DON’T OVERTHINK THINGS! I cannot stress this one enough either. There have been many 4am battles between my wife and I about what to do in certain situations. For instance, my daughter woke up around 2am recently with a 102 degree fever. We were unsure why, so we called the doctor’s 24/7 line. We got a call back around 4am from the nurse, telling us to give her acetaminophen, monitor her temp, etc. However, that 2-4am time was very stressful because naturally, you think your child is near death. Of course, this is ALWAYS a possibility, and it’s not worth risking your child’s life because you are too casual about it. BUT! What we learned from that situation, is we need not stress, and just let time play out. Of course, the following day, she was perfectly fine with a normal temperature.
This is not financial advice, but it’s important to go easy on yourself for awhile after the baby is born. Things that you might otherwise do, like cook from scratch, clean on a certain schedule, etc…can all go out the window temporarily while you both adjust to your new life.
Our nurse line was an extension of the practice we go to. They were helpful and plenty of times discouraged us from going to the doctor/ER and instead had us try various things to bring down temps, alleviate barfing, etc. They would also follow up with phone calls a few hours later to see if temp had dropped or if the temporary remedy had worked or not. Usually we called at night when doctor’s office was closed. Most of the time when they recommended we come/go straight in, there was a problem that needed actual medicine. We used the nurses during office hours as well, but those were the actual nurses in the office.
More on the diapers: you won’t know if your child has an allergic reaction to a certain brand of diaper until you try it out. Moms and dads will register for “Pampers only please” or “Honest Co only please” and then find out that their kid has a terrible diaper rash for whatever reason to that brand. Some kids don’t care and you can put them in any/everything.
Same with bottles, some kids hate a certain type of nipple/bottle. Don’t pick a bottle and go all in until you know the kid will use that bottle. The fancy stuff does not guarantee anything.
God this is so true. I think it is natural for dads to feel like they’re overwhelmed and to want to get some time away, or with their friends. Moms too, but I think there’s a maternal instinct that kicks in for moms that dads don’t automatically have. Make sure you spend time with the baby and really take in how great the great is, it will help make the awful nights and hard work feel easier.
@Jaytrader’s write up is so spot on. From 0-1 Year you get to watch the final development of the baby and then the start of a real person emerging. At birth their eyes are going to probably be gray, and completely blank. I’ve never seen anything like it, and watching them develop over months is so beautiful. They start crawling and try to mimic, laugh and smile.
If you think the first year is fun, the second is even better. from 1-2 you really get to see a personality emerge. They’re completely dependent on you until one day they aren’t. And development comes in these really amazing spurts, where all of a sudden something they could never do before they’re now doing.
It hits home at some point that you’ve now got a completely new person under your care. Unlike anyone before or anyone after, and watching that is so amazing and fun.
And then they turn 2 and you can’t stand it.
I have a two and a half year old daughter, here is what I have learned.
Toys, don’t bother with anything expensive. To this day her favorite toy is some crappy doll she found at the dollar store. Somebody else mentioned Costco for formula and whatnot, we used Sam’s Club. Their wipes are top notch in our experience. We also had to use formula a lot and found Sam’s Club to be the cheapest for us. Buy a box of diapers at a time, they could literally grow out of them before you finish a box. Also car seats have an expiration date.
We never bothered with baby proofing things for the most part, just where chemicals are stored. Instead we constantly reminded our daughter when she was getting into something she shouldn’t be. It worked out fine. We also didn’t really do the baby talk thing, just spoke like we would to anybody else.
Be prepared to look at poop, like a lot. Not just when they need you to change their diaper either. My daughter is at her most proud when she has a huge turd sitting in her potty and EVERYBODY has to come see it or she throws a fit.
Also good luck getting any sleep.
This gave me a huge smile, and not going to lie, teared up a bit.
Not necessarily a trait exclusive to children
Haven’t seen it posted here…
But Amazon Mom (Prime)…subscribe and save on the diapers and wipes. We’ve never bought diapers in a store. Prices are great and just one less thing you’ve got to ever worry about.
We also switched to Peapod grocery delivery. I was actually surprised how reasonable it is…not sure if available in your area…but 2.5 years later we still use them every week.
Again…time becomes so very valuable…and grocery shopping with little ones isn’t relaxing.
Enjoy. Goes fast. As a dad it took me a little while to really “bond” with my son, having never been around a baby before. But after a couple months I was there. The first 6 months is both hard and kind of boring…if that makes sense. There is a lot of sleeping…but not for long periods. You can actually take them out and about and do stuff. Or even get away yourself.
At 6 months they really start waking up to the world…and then it’s on. 1-2 is just a great time. Watching someone daily experience basic things in the world for the first time is really incredible. As is the walking/talking and mimicking everything they hear/see.
Now my son is 2.5…and he’s getting a little sassy, but still makes me laugh more than anything else in the world.
Final note…keep an eye open for any post partum issues with your wife. It’s a LOT more common than you’d think…and not a good thing. It’s talked about a bit more these days, but still carries a stigma. Don’t be shy about talking to doctor right away, if needed.
Not that I’m some expert, but I wanted to weigh in on a few things here with my opinion and experience since it’s so fresh. Not saying @rascott is wrong, because YMMV when it comes to kids and parenting. But, a few points I wanted to expand on and give credit for him mentioning certain things.
[quote=“rascott, post:29, topic:2024”]
But Amazon Mom (Prime)…subscribe and save on the diapers and wipes. We’ve never bought diapers in a store. Prices are great and just one less thing you’ve got to ever worry about. [/quote]Seconded. I only buy diapers in store if it’s toward the end of the month and we’re running low.
[quote]We also switched to Peapod grocery delivery. I was actually surprised how reasonable it is…not sure if available in your area…but 2.5 years later we still use them every week.[/quote]We did this while it was free, and even if it wasn’t free, it’s a huge time saver when the child is under 4-6 months of age. But…
[quote]and grocery shopping with little ones isn’t relaxing.[/quote]I have to disagree. Maybe it’s just our daughter, but we have not had a single issue bringing her anywhere so far. She loves looking around at people, doesn’t get upset, and overall is “perfect.” And, I don’t say that just because she’s my kid. We have literally never had a problem in a store with her. If anything, she blabs and yells at people and we have to give them the look like, “yeah, sorry, 10 month old, what are you gonna do, right?”
[quote]Enjoy. Goes fast. As a dad it took me a little while to really “bond” with my son, having never been around a baby before. But after a couple months I was there.[/quote]See, I read about this. I didn’t have that issue at all. I bonded with my daughter nearly immediately, even though my wife was nursing. I think this is a preconceived complex that soon to be dads read about, and it gets to their head. I’m one of the least affectionate/emotional people I know (trust me, my wife has been complaining about it for years), but I fell in love and bonded with my daughter within the first few days of her life. I guess YMMV, but my advice is not to read into the hype.
[quote]Final note…keep an eye open for any post partum issues with your wife. It’s a LOT more common than you’d think…and not a good thing. It’s talked about a bit more these days, but still carries a stigma. Don’t be shy about talking to doctor right away, if needed.
[/quote]I agree here.
Regarding shopping etc…yeah it’s fine at 10 months old…Restaurants, etc…too.
But it got a LOT harder when he got older…I’d say starting around 18 months or so. Once they are fully mobile on their own, they don’t much care for riding around. Or one day is fine…but next day it’s “Get Down! Wanna Get Down!” Plus they want (demand) to get things off shelves and open them. A simple no to a 14 month old often works. A no to a 30 month old is likely to trigger an emotional meltdown.
We have a really good kid overall…but we still have a handful of total meltdowns every day now…over silly little things. Something that was non-existent until the last several months.
If she’s able, breastfeeding saves a lot of money. There are usually lactation consultants available to help when she gives birth. She should check with her health insurance; you get a “free” breast pump per pregnancy - Spectra S2 is great.
Except for reading about it, the rest is exactly the same for me. Either it wasn’t written about, or I was too busy reading everything else.
Join bjs or Costco. Buy in bulk store brands.
Term life insurance for both you and your wife should be bought now.
Our youngest is 6 now so it’s been a little while since the pregnancy/newborn phase. However, we were able to save a ton of money by finding thrifty ways to get free or discounted items.
While the wife was pregnant, we both went to pregnancy/childhood education classes at a Choices Pregnancy Center to earn Baby Bucks (google Baby Bucks). Our nearby center was fairly faith driven but we didn’t let that bother us as the videos were actually very educational for soon to be and new parents (especially if you are a first time parent), covering everything from pregnancy stages to early childhood stages. They have a shelf full of videos you can watch in a private room and earn Baby Bucks that you can later apply for all kinds of things in their ‘Store’, from infant clothes, blankets, burp rags, diapers, formula, and all the baby food our child could eat during that transition period. We had a decent amount of time between my wife not being able to work during the later stages of her pregnancy and time I was able to fit around work to save literally hundreds of dollars worth of items throughout the first 12 months of our child’s infancy and toddler years. Also, the staff there was wonderful and supportive for my wife, which was a great bonus. We ended up donating a lot of items back to them for the great cause after our son outgrew or no longer needed them.
Don’t buy any new clothes during the first 2 years. We were able to find more than enough clothes for our son from getting free or discounted bags at craigslist or shopping at a thrift store. Our son grew out of just about everything within a couple months and we constantly had to be upgrading in sizes. It’s really fun to go shopping for that cute new outfit (we did but ended up returning them unused). Save yourself the money because they outgrow those outfits so fast.
Wife wasn’t able to breastfeed so we were stuck with Similac. As mentioned, signup for the websites to get free samples and coupons. I also started couponing for nearby stores to get discounts on diapers and Similac items. This may not be for everyone, but we also were able to do great with buying unopened cans and cases on Craigslist from other parents who overstocked and were unable to use them before they came close to expiring (I think sometimes we funded WIC families that just resold them, but it did save us a ton of money on expensive namebrand formula). We also stocked up on many discounted boxes of diapers this way too.
Don’t buy new furniture or changing tables, etc. Like most all of our furniture, we found free or inexpensive baby furniture on Craigslist. We actually got a lot of free baby items on Craigslist. It also felt good reposting them back for free to other families after we were done with them. Some of the most appreciative people I’ve ever seen were new or soon to be parents who received free items in times of need.
One of the few things we did buy new were baby bottles, binkies and infant toys for sanitation reasons. We had to go through 2 or 3 types of everything to find something our picky son wanted (there are a surprising variety of types of bottle nipples with different material and hole sizes). Toys were also hit and miss sometimes. He would care less about several things but was great when he found his favorites.
People mentioned many things already about the stress and sleepless nights of having an infant so I won’t repeat it, just to say that it is real. We didn’t sleep a full night for our first 12 months. We also found that it varies a lot from one child to another so some parents are in bliss with an easy child and others can really struggle with a fussy one (and this can also vary if you have multiple children). Go easy on yourselves and find a new pace and rhythm to your life with your little one.
One final thing I’ll mention if you are a first time parent is that a lot of parents tend to freak out about everything being perfect or making mistakes. After you have a couple kids you’ll realize that fear is not so necessary. You will make tons of little mistakes all the time as a parent so don’t worry so much. Kids are great by being resilient. Just try hard not to make major mistakes and keep in touch with your doctor or pediatrician if you have any major concerns. They are a life saver to help keep your wits about you as you learn the ropes.
Enjoy those early moments as a parent. They are some of the most wonderful times you will have with your child and it goes so fast. You will find you want to think back on some of your favorite moments when you are struggling with a 2 year old or as they grow into their teenage years.
There was a thread like this recently on FWF, but I can’t figure out search functionality to dig it up.
Other than that, I have one piece of advice to add (I have a soon to be 2 yr old, and on on the way). If your wife is not a FragileDeal disciple (or even if she is), begin (lovingly) indoctrinating her now. The parenting instinct, but especially the maternal instinct is strong, and with all of the blogs and stuff out there, it is hard enough with my wife who is very frugal by nature. Setting the expectations early around hand-me-downs, cheap toys, and the bare minimum goes a long ways in preventing unnecessary purchases, and even more importantly, unnecessary arguments about unnecessary purchases. When baby is crying and some blog is telling you that 500 dollar stuffed animal is just the ticket to a good night sleep, its great to be on the same page.
And being a dad is so awesome. Enjoy it, and good luck!
Here’s the most recent one I can recall:
Indeed. Look into sleep training and discuss it with your wife in advance. When a baby is very new they’re growing super fast and they will wake up very hungry every few hours. This will be hard for everyone, especially the mom, no matter what. The good news is that once they grow a bit bigger, they can get enough milk/food in a feeding to not get hungry again for longer. For an average or larger sized infant (by weight %), this is probably around 3 months*. Then, with some timing and some planning, you can have them sleep for 4-6 hours in a stretch. This might not sound like a lot, but it’s a huge improvement and the sooner you can make it past this hurdle, the happier you all will be.
This is what worked for us. Get them good and full so they aren’t hungry, and then put them in their crib in the dark, leave the room, and then leave them alone. Yes they’ll cry, possibly for an hour or so initially, but eventually they’ll get tired of that and fall asleep - what else are you going to do alone in the dark when you’re full, you can’t really move on your own, and there’s no stimulation? Get one of those video monitors so you can see they’re ok from the next room, and unless they’re throwing up or something, leave them alone and don’t go in to disturb them. Do not go “check on them” - if they’re asleep, you could wake them, and if they’re still crying, you’ll just train them that they should keep crying until you come back. That is not what you want to train them for.
After the first couple times, they’ll learn to fall asleep by themselves pretty quickly and they’ll understand the routine. Same time of day, same place, same quick goodbye. A week should be long enough and after that they might only cry for a few minutes before putting themselves to sleep. After a couple hours you might sneak in to check if they need to be changed, which you can do quickly and then leave again, hopefully without disturbing them.
It will be hard for the mom especially to hear their baby crying at length and not want to go hold them, comfort them, etc. that’s good maternal instincts, but if you train them to only fall asleep when you’re holding them and singing to them or whatever, you’ll have to keep doing that every night for the next couple years or else they’ll pitch a fit. Don’t go down the road. Again, the baby monitor should be helpful to reassure her that the baby is not in danger.
Around 2.5-4 months is a good window for sleep training since they can just understand the basic routine. If you miss this window, they will get big enough to start moving around in their crib, later pulling themselves up, and they can stimulate themselves enough when they’re alone that they may not easily fall sleep. Then it might be not until you can reason with them or they can understand on their own the concept that they’re tired, and that’s more like 2 years to get them to sleep on their own. 1.5 years of pretty good sleep for the adults will make a huge difference in your quality of life.
** if your baby has some health issues, you may need to wait longer to do this. Premature infants or ones with low weight or trouble eating will need to be older until those issues are resolved before you will want to try this.
Thanks - thats not the one I was thinking of. But yours is longer (and probably therefore more helpful).
How do you dig it up? The Web Archive doesn’t allow me to search. (Feel free to PM or post a link to a thread discussing this if it exists, in the interest of not derailing this topic)