Tag Archives: inked dad

What is that smell!?

Having returned to work after paternity leave a month ago I hoped I managed to keep the ‘new dad’ look to a minimum.

Dark circles under my eyes? Sure! To be fair I work with kids so those bags appear on a far too regular basis, a mixture of stress and tiredness.

Personal hygiene (I hope) has been kept at a decent standard… I guess my colleagues will be able to tell you if this is all in my head!?

So panda eyes aside, and the odd yawn at inappropriate times (best not to do it while being spoken to by the boss) I thought I had it together.

BUT during a presentation this week I found myself swaying… as if Beatrix was in my arms and I was trying to swing her to sleep. I only hope I didn’t make those pretending to pay attention to what I was saying feel sea sick!

Swaying is just one of those things that you do without realising it after a few weeks of parenthood. Holding a one sided conversation with a baby is another. In the first few days of getting Bea home we hadn’t quite got used to sharing our space as a three; my wife would be in a separate room chatting away…

“What did you say?” I’ll ask suspecting she was asking me something…

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” asking louder…

A moment passes and from that rooms comes

“I’m talking to the baby, not you!”

Believe me when I say this type of conversation has happened in reverse and continued to happen for a week or two until we just started to ignore noises from the other rooms, leading to questions like “Didn’t you hear me ask you to put the kettle on?” – I can now add selective hearing to my parenting repertoire.

We are clearly used to the little lady being around now, recently we have both found ourselves automatically trying to ‘burp’ each other when having a cuddle… rubbing or patting each other’s backs in auto-pilot like we would with Bea. It may shock friends and family at Christmas when we end up rubbing them on the back for slightly longer than is socially acceptable, even more shocking if they end up burping I guess!

Speaking of family, a bit of tech that allows loved ones keep up to date with those images of your little bundle without you having to take over their social media timelines is a clever little website and app called TinyBeans https://tinybeans.com/

Much like a calendar you can add images to each day and then invite family and friends to join you in the journey and make comments to photos added. It is a great way of dating images taken by thrusting an iPhone into the face of a newborn because a funny face is being pulled or the first smile is creeping in, providing a timeline of growth and the changes in your little bundle.TinyBeansTB iOS

Photos provide us with great snapshots of life, videos likewise images and sounds. What they miss is smells, thankfully in our case! Recently we were sat on the sofa with our little lady during a feed, we could smell ‘something odd’… so we checked the nappy, checked the bib, and checked the bottle – it all smelt normal.

As baby protested (by waving her arms about) to us sniffing around her like truffle pigs we got a waft of a cheesy, musty smell. Think sweaty feet mixed with week old football boots and you are somewhere close.

So we entered our Sherlock mind palace – I lie, we typed into google  “Why do my baby’s hands smell?” and came to the conclusion that every time baby put her hands in her mouth post feed she was soaking her babygro scratch gloves  in a combo of saliva and formula milk residue (formula milk STINKS!).

Add to that her hands being clenched within the babygro for most of the day we had a lovely combo of sweat and formula milk spit festering and creating a cheesy pong .

The difficulty was that minus scratch gloves Bea seemed determined to dig her eyes out, so we now have system of hand cleaning when we change nappies, and immersing the hands for a long period come bath time. We are also trying to stop hands in mouth immediately after a feed while still using the all in one babygro scratch gloves.

Every day is a parenting school day… Always learning!

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One Armed Bandits

One armed bandits

As a parent of new born your life becomes portions of time and small areas of space throughout the day.

Time: what can you get done between nappy changes and feeds… shower? Eat some food? Vacuum? Watch some TV? To get two of the four done will feel like an achievement. Hats off to the stay at home Mums and Dads who do this and lots more 24/7

Space: your world needs to be within arm’s reach when you are holding a new born. Life becomes a series of one armed challenges especially when the baby is asleep – DO NOT WAKE THE BABY

Eating – check

Drinking – check

Finding the remote – check

Scratching your nose/ears/head/arm that is holding the baby – check

They could introduce it as a challenge on The Cube!

When both arms are deployed as baby support; that is when team work is needed. It has been known in our house for me to serve my wife food as she holds bubs fast asleep. However, turns out I cram in waaay more food than she does, this has led to meal debris spurting out as she has asked for “less on the fork next time please!”

I also inadvertently mastered the one hand poo catch… yup, it is as it sounds!

Baby decided to engage in chemical warfare during a nappy change and to prevent our carpet becoming collateral damage I did what a man had to do… I put my hand in the way as some sort of makeshift poo dam!

One thing I have noticed as a new Dad is most new Mums (friends who are parents, ante-natal class pals etc) are happy to discuss their breasts with you! It is not how my fifteen year old self would imagine the conversation going… buzzkill words such as cracked, dry, leaky nipples remind you that even after the pain, tiredness, mental exhaustion of labour, the Mums are still hitting a pain barrier almost every day.

That is why, as partners, we must choose our words wisely.

After a period of trying to breastfeed and struggling with babies ability to latch and feed we tried a bottle… Baby had a light bulb moment, liked it and fed happy. It means I can do my share of night feeds, so I get to bond with her by feeding and burping (proud Dad when a loud one busts out!)

*** During a late night feed as I dropped the bottle into hot water to warm up, noticing the water reach near spillage level I pondered

“If all the boats and submarines in the sea right now were removed completely, would sea levels drop?” ***

Any help answering much appreciated.

….Back to bottle feeding:

I had been told by many mix feeding (boob* and bottle) was the holy grail of baby dinner time, the ability to choose between one or the other when out and about freeing Mum up and providing flexibility. So when my wife – after a very difficult period trying to breast  feed – told me she wanted to switch to the bottle only, although internally that was totally cool and I supported her decision, it is her body after all, my face (I think) gave a different reply, one that led her to believe I was disappointed she was not going to go through (MORE) pain, suffering and stress to try and breast feed.

She doubted her own decision – you are told BREAST IS BEST by most – to even find information about formula milk via leading manufacturers websites you have to ‘tick box agree’ that this is your understanding… talk about pile the pressure on!?

BREAST IS BEST

That is why we must choose our words (and apparently facial expressions) wisely.

It is after all both the best and the most stressful job in the world being a parent

*fifteen year old self took over typing

One month in…

One month in and the learning curve has been sharp and steep, thankfully our ante-natal class was top notch so the basics were firmly in place for when bubs arrived.

The Baby Journey http://www.thebabyjourney.co.uk/ are so slick and knowledgeable that I’ll be honest I thought they were a national ante-natal provider, not a little business run by two Gloucestershire based midwives. So it was an honour to be asked back as ‘special guests’ to discuss all things baby to those expectant wide eyed pregnant parents.

I started thinking over the little tit bits of advice, thought processes you have as an expectant Dad and then as a real life grown up father, responsible now for a little bundle for whom the world is a brand new place. There are tonnes of books, websites and blogs that provide lots of great information… my blog will likely resemble a brain splurge of thoughts and occasions of mirth and despair.

First up I wish I had brought shares in Costa coffee before our trip to the hospital, shares in coffee and shares in NHS multi-storey car parks! All those that have spent any time at hotel NHS will know the costs build up quickly. Before you know it you’ve remortgaged the house for a long stay and a large americano.

We had four days in hospital once baby arrived (cup feeding, high temperatures and jaundice keeping us in) I was not allowed to stay the night, so there were many trips back and forth to the maternity ward. As I entered the birth centre every day and saw the sleep deprived dads resembling zombies shuffling the halls in the opposite direction carrying bags ready to pack the car to head home I had an immense sense of jealousy!

The first drive home from hospital at 3.30am without wife or baby was a strange one. I have never ever been one to drink and drive – but I assume that my concentration and ability to react to anything on the road at this point would have been similar to that of a sozzled commuter. High on emotion of witnessing the birth of my baby, exhausted mentally and physically aching by being on tenterhooks for many an hour the whole journey is a confusing mist. (I realise this is nothing compared to how my wife was feeling)

When I was finally allowed to bring my girls home I did the dad zombie walk through the corridors, past the Costa coffee franchise (muttered about those blummin’ shares) and past other fathers and gave a knowing nod. Your time will come fellas… and it will be worth the wait.

The conversations you have as a new father generally revolve around sleep patterns and poo filled nappies – this started before bubs arrived, those all knowing parents making useful comments like “ohh top up on sleep now” because sleep works that way right? You bank it up ready to use at a later date, like groceries!

As if.

We were asked what technology or gadget has made a difference and so far my Virgin Media app for my phone has come in handy. Pinned down by a sleeping baby and the TV remote out of reach, this app allows me to change channel with out waking the beast. Speaking about the sleeping baby Ewan the Dream Sheep deserves a knighthood – the relaxing noises you can choose by squeezing Ewan’s feet not only send bubs off to the lad of nod, but he can help parents slip into sleep mode quicker than normal. Ewan now comes everywhere with us!!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Dreamers-Ltd-EWAN01-Dream/dp/B0040JSN7Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416082658&sr=8-1&keywords=ewan+the+sheep

To think we were sat  with our ante-natal group listening to the advice from the guests just over a month a go is a real head spinner. Our baby has changed so much already, the adventure sure has begun…

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