7 Secrets of a New Dad came to me in the middle of the night and I need to share with you what I have discovered, not so much about being a new dad, but the sudden transformation I have gone through.
I have worked on an award-winning television show in Law & Order. I have made a movie by using 22 credit cards and won the Newport Beach Film Festival. I then sold that movie to Lions Gate for worldwide distribution. I have seen my name credited as Writer on episodes of prime-time television, cable channels like HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. I have been nominated as Best Director for a commercial with the American Lung Association. I have been trusted with adapting a New York Times best seller for 20th Century Fox and Samuel Goldwyn Films. I have been a ghost writer for Random House for the sequel to a New York Times best seller. I have climbed Mt. Whitney with a man who summited the 7 tallest peaks in the world. I have written a middle grade fiction novel that has been endorsed by 9 Teachers of the Year.
While all of these accomplishments are great for the ego wall of fame, none of them compare to the to the feeling I got when I first looked into the eyes of my daughter Emery Jay just 10 days ago. I was told by many that having a baby would change my life, but I had no idea how much change I would experience. This journey I am now on has given more meaning to my life than any of the accomplishments listed above. So, with that, here are my 7 Secrets of a New Dad.
SECRET #1 – TEAM EFFORT: While a new Dad might think he doesn’t know what to do with a newborn baby, he can be sure that his wife is going through the same thing. Remain calm when you’re in the batter’s box. If you see your wife getting frustrated, step up to the plate and take over. This will allow your wife to have a minute to re-group. This tag-team approach will keep you both sane. Again, stay calm because if you freak out, your baby will feel you freaking out. A newborn baby is new to the world. Everything he or she is going through is brand new, so stay calm and chip in. Wash bottles and be prepared for the unexpected.
SECRET #2 – SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP: You are no good when you are over-tired and during these first weeks of your baby’s life, you will become sleep deprived. When the baby goes down for a nap, close your eyes and grab yourself a cat nap. You’ll be surprised how far a 10-minute nap will go. The “to do list” can wait.
SECRET #3 – WARM WIPES: While the idea of a warmer for your baby wipes seems like Babies-R-Us is trying to sell you something you don’t need, you do. Your baby is always warm inside of that blanket, but a cold wipe on the bumm can be a rude awakening. Warm those wipes for a clean wipe.
SECRET #4 – BUY THE APP: Nobody likes to have their pants rips off and their bumm wiped, which is why your baby cries during the changing. On the second night of the wailing cries, my wife turned on the SLEEP MACHINE APP of her iPhone and tuned it to WHITE NOISE. Placed near your baby, it mimics the sounds of being inside the womb and BOOM….the crying suddenly stopped.
SECRET #5 – WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK: Your doctor says one thing. Your family and friends say another. The shelves at Barnes & Noble are filled with opinions on what, when, why and how you should care for your newborn, but remember there are different strokes for different folks. What works for some ‘expert’ author, doctor, or family friend might not work for your baby. The key is to find out what your baby likes and dislikes. You do this by trial and error.
SECRET #6 – THE HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK IS TRUE: Dr. Harvey Karp is a pediatrician right here in Santa Monica, California and he is AMAZING. His 5 S’s will get you through that first ‘hell’ week like a charm. I swear it’s like boot camp or something because all of this is new to you and the baby. Dr. Karp came up with a system to help. See the video here for Swadling, Side/Stomach position, Shushing Sounds, Swinging, and Sucking. It works more often than not.
SECRET #7 – THE FART MACHINE: Newborn gas is a natural by-product of digesting lactose, proteins and other nutrients. While you think you’re doing something wrong when you feed or burp your baby, you are not. A good set of bottles helps, but the gas and fart machine will continue. We have experienced some success with Gripe Water, but nothing is a cure all until the baby’s digestive tract becomes ‘experienced.’
BONUS TIP: THE POWER OF THE CAR SEAT: If your baby is really pitching a fit, put her in the car seat and go for a drive. 😉