Dad Survival Kit: 3am Baby Feedings

IMG_6347Whether your baby is nursed or bottle-fed, your new addition will need to eat in the middle of the night. Likely more than once.

For breastfed babies, like ours, Dad’s role is a little more defined than babies taking formula.

But no matter how your baby gets his or her sustenance, it’s important to be prepared for what happens when the inevitable 1am, 3am, 5am feedings come.

The following is your Dad Survival Kit on how to handle these feedings:

  1. Just Change the Diaper. I’m calling on Dads to do at least one thing for every middle of the night feeding: change the effing diaper. It’s not fun, but did you push a 6-10 pound human out of your body? No. So let Mamma Bear rest an extra minute while you wipe your child’s rear. Related: For those early weeks, have a makeshift changing table in your bedroom. The baby is likely your third roommate during that time, so putting a table in the corner with a table lamp will make life so much easier.
  2. Load the DVR. When baby is up, at least one parent, and likely both, will be up, too. And you will want something entertaining to watch in the middle of the night. Don’t get too aggressive, though. You may think this is the time to binge-watch Law & Order: SVU reruns. And you would be totally wrong. Remember, this is 3am we’re talking about,man. I recommend short, funny shows that can keep you entertained without requiring too much (read: any) brain power. Our favorites right now include @Midnight, Robot Chicken, and Caribbean Life.
  3. Snack Up. This is where it gets tricky. You are awake in the middle of the night, which means STAYING awake in the middle of the night. Much like an anesthesiologist that tries to give you the minimum amount of medication required for the entire period of performance, you need something to keep you going, without making it difficult to go back to sleep. We keep boxes of cereal on our nightstands to help fuel us for as long as needed. CAUTION: mindless munching makes it hard to get quality sleep afterwards, so limit your intake.
  4. Keep It Short. Become a Navy SEAL of parenting. Wake up, do your job as efficiently as possible, go back to sleep. You are lucky if you can get three straight hours of sleep, so don’t waste a single second of potential sleep by doing anything other than sleep.
  5. Communicate Expectations. There is no one right way to divide your parenting. But there are right ways for you and your partner – and they all center around effective communication. Talk through how you want to handle the middle of the night feedings BEFORE it’s 3am and you resent each other for not reading minds. Just talk it through.

This period of time is not easy at all. It will test your willpower. It will push your relationship to new levels.

Above all else, though, it should be happy.

Use this survival kit to keep it that way.

 

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4 Non-Kid TV Shows to Watch With Kids

When kids are first born, you can have ANYTHING on the TV when they are in the room. As they grow more impressionable, you have to be a bit more strategic about what you have on the screen in front of them.

We don’t ban TV – we limit it. Our kids love “Book Night” where everyone picks a book to read together as much as they do “Show Night” where we watch a TV show and snuggle.

Kid-friendly programming is paramount. No Law and Order: SVU here, ok? And while there are many, many, many amazing “kid shows,” it’s important to us to show the kids life beyond Sesame Street. Which we adore.

Here are four of our favorite “non-kid” TV shows to watch with children.

Live From Daryl’s House

My absolute favorite show to have on in the background while the kids are playing is Live From Daryl’s House. Daryl Hall (who you may know from such bands as Hall and Oates) invites musicians of all sorts to his estate to hang out, play each others’ songs, and talk about what inspired each song or phase of their career. And then they cook a meal. It’s a fascinating, offbeat hour. Hall brings in such a diverse, eclectic array of artists from Smokey Robinson to Fitz and the Tantrums to Sammy Hagar.

LFDH is a great way to discover new artists and also learn more about some of your favorites.

Brain Games

How do our brains work? This series investigates the inner workings of our minds in a fun, interactive way. The progression of experiments make sense to a kid and the animations and games bring them to life.

This is a definite “good for the whole family” type of show.

Supergirl

Supergirl_(TV_logo)As previously noted, we greatly appreciate strong female role models in our media consumption. This is not just for our daughter, but for our son, as well.

Supergirl is a world-expanding show, where the imagination can run wild and things aren’t always what they seem, but the heroes always win. Kara (Supergirl) overcomes adversity, doubt, and life’s little challenges – plus aliens and super villains.

Bonus: My kids know about Krypton. #GeekDadWin

Warning: The villains can be a bit scary, so have the fast-forward button handy.

The Muppets

Everyone loves The Muppets, right? We all watched them as kids! But..they aren’t really FOR kids. Sure, they are bright and fuzzy and lovable, but dating back to their heyday in the 1970s, they have always been risque.

But that bright, fuzzy, lovable thing allows them the leeway to do some pretty ridiculous things. Each character is a mini-brand, developed over decades. This latest incarnation puts these characters back into the real world, as Miss Piggy hosts a late night talk show, with the rest of the cast serving as the show’s production crew. Hilarity ensures. Adult topics are discussed. And the kids have no idea.

[Note: Supergirl Image Attribution: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46708396%5D