Being a father is a very different thing to being a mother. First, we don’t carry the babies inside our body. We never endure the pain from giving birth, and we never have to breast feed them either. All these factors make us, the fathers, feel rather distant from the little ones. It seems odd though right? I have been asked about this and I have asked others about this in numerous occasions. Many would say that they will come a lot closer when they are a little older when their dependency towards the mother diminishes. Thats when they start to walk and run. Their spirit of exploration normally satisfied by the adventurous nature of fathers. That doesn’t mean that mothers are not adventurous but in most cases, guys are the one who runs around and do the ‘lifting’.
So, that leaves probably the good part of their first two years being close to mother.
This is probably the biggest shock to any parents who have their baby or babies home the first time. One of the biggest and the most difficult thing is the breaking of rest pattern. The baby probably needs feeding every couple of hours and it’s a 24/7 job. I am not joking. In most cases, mom and dad takes turn to feed so one can rest a little in between. That’s only when you have one. In our case, feeding two of them is a monumental task! Instead of demand feed them, we have to work out a feeding schedule. I would definitely recommend this to any parents who have twins or more. Otherwise, it will virtually impossible to feed them and rest. Like anyone would say, first look after yourself then your baby. It is true because no one else will look after your baby after all. So if you are ill then your baby is not going to be looked after well anyway. So trust me, make sure you can rest and eat too!
Even with a schedule, it is still a daunting task to feed them day in and day out. Especially at night when you have to wake up so many times to feed them. This breaks your sleeping pattern and you will end up looking like a vampire. Don’t worry, your hard work will soon be over. Our babies soon extending the in-between feeding time from a couple of hours to around 3 hours. It may not sound much but man, it’s a break (ok, a mini break)! The next thing is getting them sleep through the night but this is something that you cannot push.
Sleeping is only something that I could bear but man, the most difficult part is how you can cope with their cries when you are absolutely exhausted and sleepy. I lost my temper a few times because they kept crying non stop. This is something that every parent will have to learn to recognise different cries. Since they don’t talk, the only way to communicate is cry. They cry when they couldn’t sleep, they cry when they are hungry, they cry when they want to poo, they cry when they are not comfortable. So yes, they cry for everything! But each baby is also different. Ashton cries very loud and sharp while Annabelle cries very gentle with more deep breaths.
Recognising cries is something that only the parents know.
When we started bottle feeding Ashton at home, we noticed that he had a very bad reflux. Yes, he literally threw up everytime we fed him. We didn’t have a solution either. We tried different colic drops without any luck at all. Ashton also seemed to need more milk and cried more often than Annabelle. Eventually, Sue’s sister asked us to try the baby milk for hungrier babies. Umm… guess what? It helped! Not to the extend that Ashton wouldn’t threw up but it was definitely less frequent and he didn’t cry as often. Perhaps he’s a boy.
Man. Baby’s reflux is by far the most annoying thing. I would recommend a bucket every time at least for the first couple of months and always feed them in an area where you can clean easily. They’ve already ruin my rug, carpets and seats!
Talking about mess. Baby poo can be equally horrible. A little tip without going into detail. Always wait a little with the old nappy before changing a new one. They often wee or poo when they first sense the cold draft to their bottom. Wee isn’t too bad but poo is the more difficult one to deal with or predict. A little more horrid stories to come in my next blog 😀
April is also the first month that we encounter baby illness. Ashton had a bad temperature. It was a worrying time for any new parent. He cried unusually long and couldn’t go to sleep. Lucky that he was still feeding but he definitely looked more tired than usual. It was difficult to decide if we needed to take him to the hospital but luckily, his temperature didn’t reach 39 and eventually back to normal after two days. The end result, Ashton lost a little weight during the two days.
At this stage, they are more of a sleep-eat-poo-cry babies. But cuddling them was the best experience in my view. Rather like a koala bear. They hold on to you, gently and quietly. They sleep rather quickly after each feed and even watching them sleep was fun. Being a working father means that you won’t get many chances to see them until you are home. By then you are already tired from work but as soon as you see your baby, some reserved energy just burst out of nowhere.
Despite all the unexpected, we learnt a great deal more about babies and becoming better parents. More importantly though, when you see their first smile, you will just forget about everything.
Ok, I did promise to write something though right? Yes, we bought a couple of electronics that help us get through the day. In our view, a baby monitor is a definite necessity. You don’t need a fancy one but if you can afford one with video function, then it’s the best thing you can have. After some research, we finally chose iBaby monitor. It’s the only baby monitor on the market that can be controlled via any iOS devices. It’s great because both of my wife and I have iPhones. The monitor can be controlled remotely via the touch screen to tilt and turn. With a speaker connected, you can even talk to your baby. It works with both Wi-Fi and cellular so I can still see them while I am at work. There isn’t any negatives but if I have to picky, then the slightly slow response (a half a second delay for each input) and the lack of capability of zooming. I presume that either can be improved via software or firmware update in the future. But iBaby is good if you have any iOS devices.
Also, we bought the Angelcare baby nappy bin. It isn’t necessary but it really does help by storing the used nappies and sealed up the smell from it. We bought it at a baby show for half the price so it’s good to check it out too when you have a chance. It’s not expensive either and each cassette last a good week and a half. When you are using a fair amount of nappies everyday, like we have two babies, this bin is a god send to keep everything tidier and cleaner.
Finally, we got a Gro Egg room thermometer. I like it because its small and lights up. I don’t like it because it’s not as accurate. I constantly get a 2-degree discrepancy when it compares to my other two thermometers in the room. It isn’t the end of the world so I just accept it and adjust it with a mental reading that is two degrees lower everytime.
My next blog will have more fun stories about them when they start to interact with us!
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