Week 1 of Paternity Leave

Mommy went back to work, so Daddy’s at home for the next 2 months – I finally decided to cave and buy a tripod so that we can capture our daily banalities, sometimes starting at 3:45am, but on a good day, 4:30am. Yes, he’s getting 8 hours of sleep now, but that clock starts clicking at 8pm (sigh….)

I’m clearly more excited about his toys than he is…beatthedogup2_web beatthedogup_web

Morning espresso is so important to me…I apparently disturbed him while he was chewing on Geofferey the Giraffe.dadgivemeyourespresso_web

Nevertheless, he agrees to taking a sip because clearly staying awake is the problem for him,dadgivemeyourespresso2_web

And we settle on him eating pear instead of drinking my espresso.dadgivemeyourespresso3_web

He’s clearly content being left in “his” king size bed!Dadleavemealone_web Dadleavemealone2_webDadleavemealone3_web

Three months!

Month 3 through 6 have flown by – and I have missed making his 3-5 month posts. So here goes…

So I now have to catch up on all the fall and winter festivities we enjoyed, starting with his 3 month picture:





He started growing like crazy, and the cute polo onezee we got as a present pretty much lasted one month.

He’s staring at our large Restoration Foucault’s Orb chandelier in this picture (more interesting than the camera for sure):



Pumpkin Patch Fun!

My blog is getting encumbered with more advice, and less fun. We have tons of fun with this little booger, and decided to take him out with family on a pumpkin patch bonanza – filled with ghosts, spiders, pumpkins, apple cider, and pretty much anything he wouldn’t get at 10.5 weeks of age!

We got some awesome family shots thanks to my brother in law, so this post only serves to show off our little guy looking cute and sleepy,

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Mom and baby got some photo love from me as well,

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And that left this little guy done for the afternoon…(3 hours later mind you, not bad!)



We made it to TWO months!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, right? 

This past month has been pretty gascinating. Nope, not a typo. We continued to explore our baby’s GI issues and have had quite an adventure, all leading up to his vaccinations this past week, and his entrance into the public.

So clearly he’s putting on weight, so we can’t be screwing up that badly, right? He’s about 10 pounds or so, nearly double his birth weight, and has grown nearly 2.5 inches since birth (a hair under 2 feet tall!) What we’ve learned thus far:

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, formula, formula, formula. We’ve landed on Enfamil Gentlease after sticking with the Similac brand for awhile – ultimately, his constipation and gassiness from the “foamy” Similac Sensitive were intolerable. We’ve been happy with the Gentlease, which is visibly thinner, lacks the foam, and he takes it with no issue….except spitting up. Acceptance is a virtue when you’re a new parent, and I’m ok trading a little spit up for his general gassiness. Was it the formula, or him growing up? We’ll never know. Cheapest I found Gentlease is at Costco.com, shipped for 4 containers at $104, which isn’t too much more than Similac. Enfamil also sends samples and has partnered with Rite Aid for a total of $30 in rebates to try out their formula – we did, and were thankful for that gentle assistance.
  2. IF YOUR CHILD HAS REFLUX, you should read this: formulary for most health insurance company’s covers only Zantac, which tastes horrible and, in some cases, doesn’t work. We switched per doctors orders to Prilosec, which not only tastes amazing, but we’re giving it once a day and he takes it like a champ. His symptoms associated with reflux are gone. Minor detail most parents don’t know is, you’ll have to pay for Prilosec cash anyhow ($50 out of pocket), so instead of putting yourself through ultimately a futile situation with Zantac, you can just jump to Prilosec. Yes, the insurance requires you fail Zantac to progress – but then doesn’t cover it, so who cares?!?! I don’t care, he’s happy, and I wanted you parents that are reading this to not have to go in circles like us. At least check with your insurance, we have Aetna and were astonished.
  3. L. Reuteri is your baby’s friend. No really, a prospective clinical trial demonstrated prophylactic use of probiotics in baby’s helped prevent colic, regurgitation, and constipation. I am a scientist by training, so I’m looking for a well-designed, double-blind, placebo controlled study to hang my hat on for any thing new I’m introducing to this little guy – this study was published in JAMA Pediatrics this past March, 2014, and it made good sense to me. My son has been going #2 every day now (he was going every 1-3 days before), and he’s able to pass gas much more easily (I’ve also noticed as a parent that I talk a lot more about bowel movements in public, like it’s a pride thing sometimes….”he took a huge ____ this morning, it was amazing!”). Gerber has jumped on the bandwagon and is packaging some of their formula with this probiotic, but literally any sort of probiotic for infants should work (consult your pediatrician first). Some baby’s have the right kind of gut flora, some don’t, so the idea here is to assist in getting the right bacteria into their gut.
  4. Vaccinations are your baby’s friend. In the wake of Andrew Wakefield’s horrible research that was later retracted in the Lancet,  it’s important to remember that despite the vaccinations hurting your baby within the first few moments of the shot (and maybe 10 minutes after), vaccinations save lives and literally are a public health service you are doing for your community. Yes my son was clingy and had a fever the first 48 hours, and yes, I had to use Tylenol after about 14 hours because he wasn’t well. But, he recovered, and despite still being mildly clingy due to an early teething episode, we’re glad we can take him out of the house now!

And so the third month begins – what adventures will we get into? Only my son knows, I’m just along for this wild ride!


The Great Bottle Debate

If you’re like most Dad’s, you’re handling the back end of the deal (cleaning, grocery shopping, bottle making, diaper changing), while your wife is handling the bulky task of keeping your child…alive!

We supplement breast milk and landed on a bottle journey that’s been interesting. We saw others in our family use Dr Brown’s, and that was probably all the research we did since they’ve created a strong space in the anti-colic field with their gadgetry – there are 4 parts to this thing not including the bottle!

I’m definitely of the camp – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so why explore other options? Well, as our son started to wean off of breast milk and transition to be bottle fed, the number of bottles being washed, cleaned, dried, and refilled overnight was a bit much (10 bottles x  4 pieces, ack!)

We tried Phillips Avent – and that worked for not even 30 seconds. I’m lucky that my son is highly self-aware and quick to dismiss things that he won’t entertain for a second. I’m like that.

Then we tried Lansinoh – they make creams for nursing, and we received a free bottle from either Baby’s R’Us or a Pediatric Group’s interview session (more on doing that later)

I was quite impressed with the simplicity – 3 parts, the bottle, the ring, and the large nipple. Cleaning was a breeze, and the fact that it didn’t introduce air while he was aggressively downing his milk made it even better.

Price wise they are all about the same – Amazon had the Lanisoh’s on sale for $18 for a pack of three, which is about $5 cheaper than a Dr Brown trio. Ultimately, you’ll have to see what your little one can handle before you commit.

Packing a Hospital Bag – for the Dad

There are countless posts on what Mom’s should pack in their hospital bag, so I won’t repeat any of those lists. I DO however want to focus on the Dad list, because it’s unique and different:

  1. You will be driving your wife and freshly delivered, beautifully created, gorgeously designed, unique genetic combination of you and your wife, child home somewhere between 48 to 72 hours after you enter the hospital. You need to get them hope safely, and the car seat will need to be safely installed in your return vehicle. I recommend you do this shortly after your second trimester, since you have no idea when your child will come. We did a lot of research, and landed on a European brand that isn’t sold widely here in the US called Nuna.
    • Few reasons I liked Nuna:
      • Easy of installation with solid LATCH anchors, which most cars have, and what’s awesome is that the Nuna anchors have a red and green setting, so you KNOW if you’ve installed your seat correctly (pictured here in our 2010 Acura RDX rear seat here, where it fits perfectly)
      • If your cars seats, like those in the back of my 2012 BMW 335i (F30 body style) are too sloped to put in the seat with the LATCH anchors, you will have to use the seat-belt lock feature, which allows you to get the seat in relatively flat, and minimizes seat belt movement (no more than an inch)
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      • Another neat feature I love about the Nuna, and what actually swayed me in the end, was the fact that it has a solid, single foot that braces the car seat against the floor in front – this feature is seen in many european car seats, and hasn’t made it to the states just yet, but makes good common, physics sense (and yes, it click green like the solid LATCH anchors so you know you’ve done it correctly)
      • There are a few other good add ins, like the newborn insert, a built in mosquito vent, as well as a rear flap that vents, that made this seat a no-brainer for me,nuna5 nuna2 Nuna
  2. Your pediatrician’s information – since within 24 hours, the labor and delivery team will need to let them know about the birth of your child, and there can be many pediatric groups with a similar name (last thing you need is to have your wife scream at you for the wrong pediatric office coming to the hospital, or not coming at all if they don’t have hospital rights!)
  3. PJs/socks/shorts/T shirts for lounging day and night in your wife’s room managing your new born (jeans aren’t recommended since you’ll be falling asleep at all odd hours in whatever you’re wearing), along with sneakers/flip flops for the walking in the halls you’ll be doing with your wife (required in order to discharge your wife!)
  4. A men’s Dopp kit – your wife probably packed her bathroom stuff (whatever she uses), but you may want to shave and/or not smell like BO when family and friends are dropping in for photo-op’s with you and her.
  5. Last, but NOT least, is the Operating Room list:
    • Your cell phone (charged and ready as a back up for pictures to send to family members)
    • Your camera with a spare battery (if necessary, also make sure your external mic has a spare and/or new battery if you’re using a DSLR)
    • Your Cord Blood Kit – we used CBR, just keep in mind the kit needs to stay at room temperatures at all times, so don’t throw it in your car and hope that you will remember it on the delivery day, just keep a small bag with it in there, along with the camera and other items.

We made it, one month old!

I’m sure we’ll look back at this past month years from now and remember it as a complete blur, but I will have to admit, no one EVER warned us how difficult it would be.

There are countless things that we learned with our son this first month, so hopefully I can add some insight for other fathers so they won’t be as surprised as me the first time around:

  1. The first few weeks of your child sleeping doesn’t mean they’ll always be like that – turns out babies are as dynamic as adults, and every week is a different hallmark with their development (duh), which then impacts their sleep, eating, and diaper-creation patterns. how?
    • We went from waking our son up every few hours to remind him to eat, to him doing the duty himself – we were thrilled to know he could start expressing his needs, not so thrilled at the inconsistency of his reminders.
    • Bowel movements went from literally every few hours to…once a day. THRILLED that it’s not as often, but it surprised us, and obviously concerned us.
    • He’s truly my son now – he farts all the time, and needs to be burped more frequently. Thrilled that he belches as loudly as me! However, the fussiness and gas led us to do what most parents that are supplementing with formula to do – the dreaded formula dance. We landed on Similac Sensitive, but the process was truly trial and error, nothing scientific about it. We also realized quickly that the powder form, which is a bigger pain in the ass to prepare, was easier for him to digest with even less spit up than the bottled form that is pre made (he spit up much more with Similac Advance). I’ll have a whole separate post on Formula later.
    • Acid reflux reared it’s ugly head around week 4 – we initially thought it was gas or something else, but some tell tale signs that Mayo clinic and WebMd don’t share with you:
      • he will arch his back
      • cry when there’s a bottle or nipple in his mouth
      • reach for his ears/eyes indicating pain after eating
      • The Zantac that is given at pharmacies is horrible tasting, try it – it’s literally worse than most things adults have to stomach. I still need to see if it can be flavored, but the .75 ml’s he takes twice a day are a struggle, because on top of him suffering from some acid kick back, he has this vile tasting stuff coming back up.
      • How will he sleep with minor acid reflux? This will save you hours of sleep, the Fisher Price rock n’ play has a nice 45 degree incline that will let the contents of his stomach stay down there, and it is slightly “fitted” so that he will feel comfortable and coddled without having to do a tight swaddle (more on swaddling drama later).
  2. Breast pump rental: do this before you go to the hospital. A separate post later will detail intricacies of this – the pump matters, because regardless of whether you’re exclusively breast feeding or not (if you are, get a scale for home so you don’t have to go to the pediatricians office for weigh-ins every week), you’ll ultimately need a strong pump to get things flowing so that as your baby’s jaw gets stronger over time, your wife has adequate flow.
  3. Car seats range in prices and safety – get the one that fits your car correctly and fits your budget best; a separate post will detail the car seat we decided on, and why it’s part of your hospital bag the day you rush to the hospital.
  4. Bottles – you can either buy a dozen of one, or experiment with 2 at a time and see how your baby reacts. I’ll post more about that later (this was an adventure for sure!)
  5. Diapers – you can either double down and commit to one brand and stock up (like we did), then realize he’s not chubby enough and you have to return all of them one evening at Baby’s R’Us and buy a whole new set of another brand. I’ll post more about this adventure as a separate blog too (I’m starting to realize a trend that each one of these numbers requires their own entry!

This post ended up being an introductory post to a number of other entries I’ll make, so check back for new links that I’ll add over time.

Welcome to my blog!

As a newly anointed Dad, and a confused one at best, I realized quickly that turning to the web as a man for advice on how to grapple with all of these questions and changes was futile at best.

Where were all the Dad blogs?

The directions/advice for Dad’s on how to handle a mom that’s 8 month’s pregnant? A newborn that has gas? The right type of “stuff” that you need in your hospital bag? And what to expect when you’re wife is in the operating room, giving birth to your child?

I’m experiencing the ups and downs of fatherhood hourly now, and wanted to share the experience with other Dads – at the minimum, my family from around the world can peek in here and see some fun pictures of the new addition.