In my excitement to see my children after a day at work, I almost always forgot to ask whether they had been winded after their evening feed. In my enthusiasm for a cuddle it caused many accidents, many of which were totally unexpected.
One Friday evening I came home after a day at work and picked up our daughter. As usual, I didn’t ask my wife any questions, put her on my shoulder, where she promptly vomited all down the back of my jacket. It was Friday, so I was pretty relaxed and just changed it. My wife and I were going to neighbours for drinks, the babysitter had arrived and with a new jacket on, off we went.
After 45 minutes of hugs and hellos we were chatting to a group of friends when suddenly one said, “Mark, what the heck’s that on your trousers?” You guessed it, my little princess had puked right down my trouser legs too and I hadn’t noticed. At that moment everyone worked out what the unusual smell had been (I think the parents of babies become immune to the scent of milky vomit) and a bit of ribbing and exaggerated gagging ensued for the rest of the evening.
It’s a fact, babies will be sick on you. Of course, this may mean you have to take your stuff to the dry cleaners, but who cares. Your child didn’t do it on purpose, even if she is smiling at you and has that unspoken look on her face ‘caught you out there dad didn’t I?’ She certainly didn’t have any ulterior motives for doing it, so don’t blow it out of perspective.
It’s not worth getting upset or annoyed when this happens. It will happen to you many times, but in the end, it is always worthwhile when you see your child’s little smile after she has got rid of the wind in her tummy.
This is an eternal dilemma for you as a Dad with your baby. If you leave him crying, does it mean there is something wrong, or is he just trying to get your attention and testing the boundaries. So how can you settle him down?
It is of course normal that your baby cries when you first put him in his cot at bedtime, but if you spend some time with him before leaving his bedroom, it will always help. You can talk to him and tell him stories that you have made up, but what will work best is to sing him some songs. They can be lullabies or nursery rhymes and from you, not always his mother.
You may think that you can’t sing to save your life and that his mum sings much better than you, but don’t be put off. Your baby will love to hear Daddy’s voice before he goes to sleep. He will listen to and appreciate your dulcet tones as if you are the greatest Diva that ever lived. Your voice really is ‘music to his little ears’ and he will never be bored of hearing your voice.
You will be amazed just how quickly you recall the lyrics of the songs that you sang when you were a little boy. The more you sing the more you recall the words and the better you will become. In fact you will find it very soothing for you as well. You will find that this is very high quality time that you are spending with your baby at the end of the day and it will relax you both.
In fact, it is the start of a vital, intense and incredibly rewarding relationship, that you as a Father will have with your child, that will last for the rest of your life.
It may not seem like it at first, but getting ‘Happy with the Nappy’ is a key moment of high quality time with your baby. This can be really difficult to imagine, particularly at the beginning, as you change that first one while holding back the instinct to vomit. But don’t worry, you will get to experience some very intimate, funny and of course, messy times together with your baby.
At the time they may seem distressing for you, but not your baby, but they’ll also be times you will recount and laugh about for the next twenty years. Not to mention the potential of embarrassing your teenager in front of people, even if you don’t do it deliberately. They may not all be ‘rosy’ moments and absolutely nothing can prepare you for that first really smelly one, but treasure them nevertheless.
In fact, you’ll wonder how something so small and cute can produce something so toxic and revolting. When this happens, you may be tempted to let your partner take care of the nappy changes, but resist this. As she probably does most of the input, you should do your share of the output!
Of course beware of changing your child’s nappy just before you are going out. There is nothing more frustrating than having to change your suit and shirt as they have just been soaked by a jet of warm yellow liquid. Then to see the look of contentment on your child’s face, together with that little smile. It puts it all into perspective and you can’t stay annoyed for very long. In fact it then becomes one of those special moments to treasure.
So get involved with this important part of your baby and ‘Get Happy with the Nappy’.
Having a baby is not just a case of reproducing you and your partner in mini form. It is a chance to share in every aspect of bringing a new being into the world and playing an integral part in its development. It is also about having fun. This is one of the most important aspects of having a child and just because he is a baby, it doesn’t mean the fun can’t start right from birth.
Even such mundane tasks as changing a nappy can be a fun time together for you and your baby, even though your initial instincts might be one of horror. And it can be a real challenge to change a smelly nappy, and still enjoy doing it!
But once you have got over the initial repulsion, and you become immune to it, after a while you can make the whole experience fun for you both. Once the dirty nappy is off, and before you put a new one on, you can blow bubbles on your baby’s tummy, or tickle his feet. He will love this, and his little smile to you as you do it will be absolutely priceless.
It will be the same at bath time. Once the mundane task of washing him is done, although he may love this too, let him splash you, and watch your facial expressions as you pretend to be shocked and horrified. He will love it….
Very often there are times when your baby just won’t settle. It could be that he is slightly under the weather, or has trapped wind, or is simply having a grouchy day. But you still need to be doing things around your home, and can’t afford to just to stop everything.
There is a way to continue getting things done and at the same time, calm your baby down. I discovered this purely by accident after a few months, and wished I had known about it earlier. Your baby will feel soothed if he is near you, and can feel your warmth and smell, and feels some gentle motion? How can you do this, you might ask, and still be getting things done?
Lie your baby along your forearm, it doesn’t matter which one. If you are right handed, he is better on your left one. His head should be towards your elbow, while he is lying face down along your forearm. You should then hold onto his upper leg quite firmly, but not too hard. Safe enough for him not to have any risk of you letting him go.
You are then ready to start doing things which need to be done. Your baby will be happy, as he is moving with you, feeling you, and can see what is going on. You will be happy, as you will be less stressed, and feel able to be getting on with things that need to be done.
Hopefully this will help you. Let me know if you try it.