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Father’s Daze – A new dad’s guide to baby care
2016-04-07 09:29:18
New dads have an image problem. We’re often seen as clueless and inept, with all the natural parenting ability of a canned ham. This is not our fault, at least partly. Unlike women, we were not born knowing what a “layette” is or that yoo-hoo is not an acceptable infant formula. This is why new dads must take some responsibility for this handicap and make an effort to learn what it takes to gear up for daddyhood.

Still, you can only prepare for so much. When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I had never diapered a baby before, so I practiced putting disposables on my wife’s ancient but accommodating childhood Winnie the Pooh. When I stepped up to diaper my newborn daughter for the first time, I was nervous, but I thought I at least had it pretty well under control. I lifted my girl’s tiny legs, slid the diaper under her adorable little bottom—and the meconium (newborn stools) started coming out. And coming out. And coming out some more.
I wasn’t prepared for this shiny black ooze coming from my precious daughter, especially not this much of it. My supplies on hand were quickly soiled as I tried to keep up with the flow. “More diapers! More wipes!” I called, although my wife says my call was more like a terrified squawk. I am now willing to admit that I may have overreacted a bit, but to hear others tell it, you could have mistaken me for Jack Bauer on 24, frantically trying to rescue the planet from evil terrorist baby poop.

I never expected that my helpless sweetheart could throw me into such a panic. Being a new father is like that: It will take you further out of your comfort zone than you’ve ever been and in ways that you could never anticipate. But once you start to figure out your little one and the anxiety subsides, you won’t remember what life was like before you became a dad. (Although there will be days you’ll give anything to remember. Anything.) Here are eight hard-won pointers to help you proudly, fearlessly, and clue-fully wear the mantle of New Dad.

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