Our beautiful daughter turned one month old this week. I hate to say I told you so to all the boy-predictors out there… but I did tell you so. Don’t ask me how but I knew even before B got pregnant that our first child was going to be a girl. I also had two dreams during the pregnancy about baby girls so for me there was never any doubt (easy to say that now). Anyway, enough bragging about my Nostradamus-like powers, we are absolutely over the moon and Baby N is perfect, flawless and incredible. Her name, loosely translated from Arabic, means tranquility, and so far she is living up to it and being a little Zen master.
Baby N made quite an entrance. She arrived on March 21 which as I mentioned in a previous post is a super auspicious date to be born: not only is it the spring equinox but also the Persian and Baha’i new year – Naw Ruz. I will not get into the details of the birth other than to say after witnessing 51 hours of labour including 32 hours spent in a 10 by 20 foot pink-curtain-walled room at the hospital, which culminated in an epidural-free natural birth, B is my hero. I am not sure how any man can witness his wife in labour and giving birth and NOT rank her among his greatest heroes of all time. Unbelievable. I don’t want to overstate the experience, and the two consecutive nights without sleep certainly played with my mind a bit, but it was an existential trip of epic proportions.
This post is late for obvious reasons; being a new baby-daddy takes some getting used to! I have been juggling a new addition to the clan, a new helper, a confinement nurse, visiting family and friends and work. The blog czars have ratcheted up the pressure in the past week though and there has even been talk (threats) of deadlines so I thought I better get onto it and share my top takeaways from the first two weeks of fatherhood.
1. Getting a confinement nurse was a great idea. This was a gift from B’s mum, and although I originally questioned whether I wanted someone at the house all the time when we should be bonding with Baby N, she has been a huge help. Not only does she cook up a storm using lots of traditional Chinese medicine and ingredients to ensure B has all the nutrition she needs to recover from the birth and produce enough milk (so.much.milk), she also helps with tips on everything from burping and diaper changes to baby massage and bathing. I would recommend it to all new parents in China (and anywhere else you can find one that is affordable). You do hear some horror stories of dictator-style nurses though so make sure you get a good referral. Ours came via friends she had worked for in the month after they had twin girls and a baby boy so they really got to know her well!
2. Cloth diapers rock. We used the disposable ones for the first week (because Baby N’s meconium poop was ridiculously sticky) and this resulted in visible nappy rash and every trash can in the house being filled to the brim with petroleum-based poop-and-pee-filled mess (due to at least ten changes per day). Since making the swap the rash disappeared almost immediately and with the help of a diaper pail with anti-bacterial liner and regular washing of the diapers, the house is clean and odour-free.
3. Always use a changing mat, especially on your custom-made sofa. Enough said.
4. If like me you have trouble sleeping during the day, learn how to power-nap, because you will need to top-up the sleep bank at every available opportunity.
5. There is no such thing as too much in-arms time, and co-sleeping and demand-led feeding are the way to go. We are both convinced that one of the reasons Baby N is super chilled-out, which is in line with continuum and attachment-parenting theory, is that she was not separated from mum in the hospital, except for two minutes when I carried her to the scales to be weighed. She gets lots of in-arms and skin-to-skin time at home.
6. Finally, the research that found new fathers feel more attractive after their partners give birth must be flawed. Unless black rings around your now even more deep-set eyes makes you feel hot. I can understand the effects of women cooing over you as you parade your baby around town but we will have to wait until after confinement is over to test out that hypothesis.
There’s more from the Daddy Diaries plus plenty of gorgeous gift inspiration on the BaoBae Blog!