Please. Allow me to blow the dust off this blog and share some of My Life As A Dad’s “must-haves” for fatherhood. For those who might not know, Diana and I are expecting our second child in April. I am by no means a veteran parent, but I’d like to believe I have a good grasp on what to expect when fathering a new baby. Humor me for a moment while I gather and share some of the dad gear I hold in high regard.
Before I begin, let’s admire the patina that has accumulated on these most treasured parental must-haves. If the signs of age can only indicate one thing, it’s the wise lessons I’ve learned. For example; the spit up stains on my Ergo baby carrier—a reminder that strapping on a baby for a vigorous walk during a post-fed/pre-burped state, yields similar results to driving drunk friends through the mountains at 80mph.
Now without further adieu, the must-haves list.
Ergo Baby Carrier
The aforementioned Ergo baby carrier allows me to experience many interesting situations. The most interesting, is the Ergo’s ability to demonstrate what it’s like to be pregnant. Bumping a baby bump into tables, losing sight of one’s feet, an aching back, and shortness of breath, are all things Diana encounters while pregnant, and likewise, things that I experience with the Ergo. It’s also something I can’t imagine fathering a baby without. The Ergo helps create dad and baby bonding time. In addition, having both hands free to cook or eat, and the ability to walk through crowds without a stroller is very liberating. I do have some words of caution, however. While bouncing your baby to sleep with the Ergo in a public setting, be aware that from behind, it looks like you’re pleasuring yourself.
Bum Genius Cloth Diapers
I won’t go into detail as to why we cloth diaper because the reasons are obvious. If you’re really bored, you can read more about how to do it here. All I’ll say is this: If wiping your own ass and washing your own underwear doesn’t bother you, then cloth diapering your baby is a walk in the park.
Fjällräven Kanken Backpack
I’m a firm believer that many European products, like European cars, are far superior to anything else. For me, backpacks fall into this category. There is nothing more satisfying than having a backpack with Swedish words printed on the label. It’s like telling the world, “I definitely did not buy this backpack at Walmart.” Which sometimes can be mistaken for “I’m an asshole and I paid way too much for this backpack.” In any case, The Fjällräven Kanken is über sturdy, fits most of the stuff on this must-have list, and has thin straps, which works well when paired with the larger padded straps of the Ergo baby carrier.
Orbit Stroller Infant System
If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume this stroller was designed in Europe because of how awesome it is. It’s actually designed in these United States. The Orbit is perhaps the most expensive piece of baby equipment that we own. It’s the only splurge that I, to this day, have financial qualms about. But what’s done is done, and that saying, “you get what you pay for” applies ten-fold here. If our baby son wasn’t sleeping on my chest in the Ergo, he would be sound alseep in the Orbit. We could put the Orbit’s infant carrier on the car base, go for a drive, pop it onto the stroller base, and push our son through the zoo, without him ever waking. Knowing that we can relive this scenerio all over again with baby girl has me feeling a little better about the purchase. Knowing that this stroller is built so well it could take on a stampede of angry elephants escaping the zoo, helps too.
Cuisinart Hand Blender
This one should be self-explanatory. At around 6 months, your baby will want to eat things other than breast milk or formula. Steam a variety of vegetables and fruits. Purée with the Cuisinart Hand Blender. Let cool. Feed baby. Simple right? Now, if you’re feeding your baby processed food from a jar, then you should be feeding yourself processed food from a jar.
Baby Cubes Food Storage
These come in handy for freezing the puréed vegetables and fruits. Take a few cubes for the road and they should defrost by the time baby is hungry. If they’re still frozen, carry hot water with you in a Thermos Stainless King Compact Bottle.
Thermos Stainless King Compact Bottle
One of these will keep water hot for most of the day. Pour a little hot water in a container with a frozen food purée cube, stir, and everything is golden.
It’s not always practical to carry a DSLR hand cannon of a camera while a baby is in tow. The Lumix GF1, a micro four-thirds camera, can do what a DSLR can do in 1/4 of the size. As with most other post 2009 digital cameras, it also shoots HD video. The downside to having the GF1 is that others will constantly ask what kind of camera you use to take your amazing photos with.
There’s this neat little company out of Cupertino, CA that makes user friendly electronic products and well, seriously, any type of HTC iDroid Googleberry phone will do. These here smart phones can play all sorts of baby friendly music and movies in a pinch. Use it to grab baby’s attention while you change their diaper, for example. If you side with the “no TV for baby” camp, then forget what you just read.
Jack Johnson En Concert
Through the years, my love for Jack Johnson has surprisingly come full circle. It went from going to Lou’s Records to see him perform intimate acoustic sets, to vowing to never again listen to his played out, lack of “indie music cred” albums, to writing him love letters for being the only person who could calm our endlessly crying baby. Put this album on your Googleberry iPod, whether you love him, used to love him and now can’t stand him, or just never cared for him period. You’ll thank me later.
Listen, my rock hard flabs don’t happen by accident. It takes dedication. Which apparently has nothing to do with an exercise ball. In our house, this ball works as a baby sleeping sphere. Cradling baby and bouncing on the ball in a sitting position recreates the movements that baby remembers from mama’s womb, thus putting baby to sleep.
There you have it, My Life As A Dad’s must-have list for new dads and born again new dads. It should serve as some use while you navigate your way through new found fatherhood.