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Best Practices for Infant Care From a New Dad

September 26, 2014

By Mario Vela

Best Practices for Infant Care From a New Dad | Author Mario Vela looks at his newborn daughter, Mariana, as he holds her.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Shaffer Photography

As a father of a seven-week-old child, I’ve learned a new love that I wasn’t aware I was capable of feeling. My priorities have shifted and caring for my daughter Mariana has replaced any previous priorities I had. In moments when I typically used to be sleeping, I am now rewarded by watching Mariana’s development.

I’ve learned so much about my baby in such a short amount of time, just as many new parents before me have. Here are some of the best practices I’ve found help as a new parent. I hope they help you, too.

Anticipate Needs. My understanding of Mariana’s needs has improved with experience and patience. I have learned to anticipate some needed care to avoid crying or frustration. Types of care include feedings, carrying, soothing, and learning when to burp her.

Smart Buys. Before our daughter was born, my wife, Ana, purchased a few items whose value and effectiveness I didn’t initially understand, but now I highly recommend them.

  • A Boppie pillow is very versatile for feedings and naps.
  • A swing soothes a baby.
  • Bassinets help a child sleep.
  • Rocking chairs help during feedings and to put a baby to sleep.
  • A camera with a motion sensor helps you feel comfortable when your child is in a different room. Fair warning: the motion sensor may startle you in the beginning. I jumped out of bed the first time I heard the noise.

Zippers Are Easy. When changing Mariana’s diapers, onesies with zippers are much more convenient and easier to use than onesies with buttons, especially when there is limited light in middle of the night and you’re really tired.

Sing. Music, singing, and humming help soothe Mariana.

Move Around. Walking up and down the stairs helps Mariana to relax and puts her sleep.

Learn Your Baby’s Routine. I’ve learned a great routine to help Mariana sleep several hours at night that includes:

  • Dimming the lights.
  • Turning on music.
  • Diaper change.
  • Feeding.
  • Burping.
  • Walking the stairs.

Accept Help. My mother-in-law has been very helpful. She’s been staying with us since a few weeks prior to Ana’s delivery, and has helped a lot. I recommend accepting any help you are offered by family or friends.

Even though so much has changed since Mariana was born, I’m so glad that I was able to quickly learn these best practices. What are your best practices with your babies? Tell me in the comments below.

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