What About Your Dad?

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Did your Dad show you the way?
What will you impart on your little buckaroo?

You probably have spent some time thinking about what kind of a father you want to be. Maybe you want to be exactly like your own father, which can bring on feelings of inadequacy, a sense that you won’t live up to his legacy. Maybe you want to be nothing like your dad, which is harmful in other ways.

Take a look at where you came from. Think about your own relationship, whether good or bad, with your own father. Explore this history for a minute when you are alone and have some time to think without distraction. Maybe while you are just driving in the car or are on a run. Unburden yourself of any issues that you may have with your father. Remember this relationship with your newborn is a blank slate. Keep it clean. Try to go into this new relationship with your own child without baggage, with nothing to prove, no fences to put up or to mend.

If your Dad was awesome, it might be a good time to let him know that too.

Don’t let anything hold you back from being as happy as you can be today.

Man, You are Pregnant!

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Gametime! Dress for it with Daddy Scrubs.

Even though you didn’t carry the baby during the pregnancy, you sure are shouldering your fair share of the strain. Many expectant Dads feel unable to even let themselves think of what they are going through. All of the focus and attention is going to her and the new baby. Which is how it should be, I mean really, she is making a human being inside of her. But that does not mean that you have no right to feel too or express yourself. In fact it is really important to do so.

Especially when it come to your birth event. You likely have a version of it all in your head. Her pushing, you coaching, the baby emerging, you announcing it’s sex, getting to cut the cord… and then what? And what if all of that doesn’t  happen the way that you have always imagined it to. In the nearly five years that Bavia has been providing postpartum recovery services we have talked to hundreds of new dads. Some feel awful but confess to us their disappointment at having to have a c-section. Others kind of freak out and say they hadn’t thought about “Now what…!”

The time that she is in labor can sometimes be very long. Often, and hopefully, uneventful. It can be hours for the contractions to catch up to the readiness of pushing. Keep a note of how you are feeling during this time. The rush of getting to the hospital. The helplessness of not being able to ease her pain. The whole experience will be stressful on you too. You might feel fatigued, overwhelmed, edgy and in-demand while feeling invisible at the same time. Check in with yourself, and think about your labor experience too. We encourage Dads to keep an audio diary using the record function on their smart phone. It is much less invasive than video and will enable you to log a play by play.

Keep in mind that you probably got to, or will get to, be the very first one to see your baby. You will have the initial glimpse of your child’s first expression on earth. Let that sink in, the uniqueness of how lucky you were to be right there, in that special place, during the birth of your child.

Little Man? Not So Much.

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

 

Your baby will only be a baby once in it’s life,
but it will always be your baby.

You can run a company, sale a ship or make millions of dollars, but the feeling that you will get from tending to your child’s primal needs will be the most rewarding gift you will ever receive and will ever give. Allow yourself and your child to receive it. The simplest care becomes an act of love.

Grown-ups rarely convey or boldly express their true emotions. But babies laugh when food tastes especially good and they cry when things are just so sad. Their sleep or lack of it can dominate their feelings, just like ours does. It can be challenging to navigate these emotional waters, but the purity of the journey can be glorious. Try to make sure that you are getting the sleep, the delicious food and are able to express yourself as you go through it.

Babies are as real and true as it gets. Understanding that will bring you closer to your baby, even as you reshape your life to appreciate this new world. Try not to rush their growth. They will become a little adult in no time at all.

 

Top 5 Tips for New Dads

Sure that expecting Dad is holding a cup, and it looks a little silly. However staying hydrated can help you feel energized, focused and strong for both of you while your wife is in labor.

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

During the past four years Bavia has had the great privilege of talking to hundreds of soon to be and brand new fathers. Here are the TOP FIVE tips that we have heard and shared to help them feel prepared and supported on this most amazing day of their life!

 

 

 

1.) Use the voice record function on your phone during labor. It’s much less invasive than video and will enable you to capture your thoughts and feelings in real time. In the years that we have been sharing this tip, we have heard countless times how amazing it is to replay the events over and over again. One dad who now has a three year old told us that her birth is now her favorite bedtime story. “Play me!” she says, “Play me daddy!” and he plays for her her first cry, and his first exclamation that “It’s a Girl!”

2.) Don’t risk the classic “New Dad Headache”. This is so common, but no one talks about it. (Likely you guys feel you have no right to complain!) Your wife might go into labor at say 9pm, baby might be born at 3am and then visitors start showing up 7am. Chances are, you will end up going a long time without sleep, food or water. Try to stay hydrated, drink lots of water when you are able and pack yourself a snack like a power bar or fruit.

3.) Stretch! And not just your mind and your spirit. Reach down and touch your toes, bend back, to the side and then to the other side. While your wife is in labor try not to lock your knees. This is game time and keeping yourself limber and your circulation strong will ward off fatigue and stiffness.

4.) Breathe… Remember you are the best Dad in the world.

5.) Don’t rush. It can be so tempting to want to run around and get all the little things you didn’t know you needed or have time to gather. There will be time for everything. For now, just rest. Be in the moment. It will never happen again, in this exact same way. Every birth is different, every one is special.

What Dad’s Can’t Do…

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Pressing down on the clippers, while you exhale,
will help your hands stay stable while you are
cutting your baby’s nails.

Though it may seem easier for Mom to trim the baby’s nails, it is good for you to know that there is nothing you can’t do when it comes to caring for your newborn child. It can be easier do trim your baby’s nails while your baby is asleep. Take a deep breath in and snip her nail as you exhale. This will keep your hands steady. Baby clippers tend to be less sharp than adult ones. This can leave the edges of her nails jagged and rough. After you cut them be sure to feel for roughness that you may not be able to visibly see.

It is likely that at some point your baby will find a way to scratch herself no matter how close you trim them. If this happens and your perfect child has a big red streak down her cheek it will be impossible to not feel terrible. However, just know that it happens. Take note if she does continually scratch in the same spot. My first born kept scratching by his ear no matter now short I kept his nails or how hard I tried to keep those silly mittens on him. Turns out though, he had an ear infection at just 7 weeks old. his scratches were the only indication we had that there might be something bothering him by his ear.

Who Loves You, Baby?

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Just look at the gaze between this darling newborn and her father. Finding family time and special time together will last a lifetime.

 

It will be a long time before your baby is able to accommodate your schedule. She might be fussiest in the evenings when you are home to be with her. She might be playful and cute while you are rushing to get out the door in the morning. Waiting for the perfect combination of time and temperament will be at the high expense of many, many missed opportunities for joy.

Try to make time with her based on her schedule. If she is fussy in the evenings, come home for lunch or during the day, and then work a little longer if you need to. Find out what is the best time for her and then try to make that your time together.

It may also seem like Mom is exhausted at the end of the day. She probably is. Come home to see your baby during the day instead of waiting until the evening to give Mom a midday break. She can then have a moment to breathe, to shower, to catch up on things or to just rest. If it is not possible to come home then, see if you can take a morning off here and there. When you can be there during your baby’s fussy times too.

There is No License for This

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Anybody can be a guy.
Only you can be your baby’s Dad.

Having children is an opportunity to create history, not a license to rewrite your own.

Be who you want ot be and how you have to be without having something to prove.

Do it for you and the healthy relationships you will have going forward.

Dirty Baby

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Always wash the face last, using a brand new washcloth.

 

Babies are dirty in places that grownups are not and these places can be missed during regular cleaning. Beyond leading to an unpleasant order, this can also lead to skin lesions, which may form where skin is constantly moist. Milk and drool can collect in the folds of your baby's neck and armpits. As you are bathing her make sure to gently wash behind her knees, the folds of her arms at her elbows, and beneath her armpits. There is also a secret spot hebind her ear, right where it attaches to her head where a little pocket of milk and drool tends to collect. Tuck your finders into a warm, wet washcloth and gently rub behind her ears. Clean the genital area second to last and then using a brand new washcloth wash her head and face.

Wrap your child up and hold her tight. There is nothing quite like the smell of a clean little baby. Though the look on your wife's as you present her with this darling bundle will be a close second!

Lessons from the first month of motherhood

Written by Bavia blogger Emily, who is due with her first baby in January.

My husband and I recently traveled to Washington to meet the child who has made us Uncle and Aunt. It was a lovely visit, full of family and fat cheeks and lots of baby talk – both the “goo-goo-gaa-gaa” and “You ready for this, Em?” variety. Seeing this little boy – four weeks from the womb, out and about and eyes open and crying and farting and cooing – made my own little growing babe that much more real.

And it’s true: all that is Human Being Breathing Baby will be in my arms before I know it. Let’s just say I had a lot of pregnancy-related dreams while there. And a lot of daytime observations, too. I’ll save the dream details for another post, but here are a few lessons about the first month of being a mom that I took away from watching my amazing sister-in-law and her little baby Z.

1) Soothing a baby lets you work all your old dance moves. First try the rock, then the sway, then bounce, dip, spin, swirl, shimmy by the window, sashay around the kitchen table, and sing along. This is a great time to bust out your favorite tunes and dance like no one but your unconditionally adoring child is watching.

2) Babies come in different sizes. Our nephew’s niece, only two weeks younger than him, was about half his size. Some babies are just born ready to be big.

3) Be ready to go through a lot of diapers. Never again in your life will you so purposefully and tenderly and devotedly lift a butt to your nose and smell for the signs of poop. Oh: and there will be blowouts. In my sister-in-law’s words: “It flowed over the sides of the diaper like a river.”

3) Forget the crib: A co-sleeper is a God-send. This mini-baby-bed hooks right up to your mattress and allows you to sleep without worrying you’ll roll over your infant while at the same time keeping him or her in immediate view (or arm’s reach for those, ahem, one or two night time feedings).

4) Sleep in. Even if you have guests. Even if there’s laundry to do. Even if you haven’t taken a shower in a few days and you have an appointment at 10:00. If the baby is sleeping, so too should you.

5) A Baby Bjorn or some other carrying system is a must-have if you want to hold Baby close, yet still really really really need to do that laundry. Or just take a trip to the store and buy more socks instead.

5) Feed your body well. Recognize that you are burning a lot of calories, especially if you’re nursing, and that in order to have the necessary energy, you still need to eat just as well as you did when you were eating for two, because you still are, just in a different way. Eat your fruits and veggies. Try to stay away from junk food. Buy organic. It’s worth it.

6) Give big, squishy, noisy kisses. Your little one will love your voice, your smell, your face, and especially your touch. Love him or her up with every minute you have together, as they are not so little for very long.

 

Hold that baby close.

And I am certainly not so little any longer, either. This week I enter my seventh month of pregnancy. Holy river of poo! I can hardly wait to learn these lessons – and a whole host of others, I’m sure  over and over again.

Your Baby is Not Rational

By Rachel Swardson, Bavia founder

Your baby's information receptors are only primal and include touch and taste in it's knowing of you.

 

The closer you can be to your baby, the better you will know your newborn, his preferences, and dislikes the way he likes to be rocked or held still. It is the deep knowledge of those nuances that will increase your confidence in soothing or tending to your infant. Instinctively feeling what your baby needs will reduce the stressful moments of not knowing what to do. You will be able to provide immediate comfort to your child, which in turn will increase the trust your baby has in you.

When you hold your little one, remove your shirt and allow your baby to become familiar with your smell, your touch, your feel. Her information receptors are only primal. She is not rationalizing or analyzing anything. Yet she needs to know everything about you, and it all begins with how you smell, feel and how your skin tastes. Who else in your life can you hold this intimately, this closely. This is bonding, forming a connection from the beginning that will last forever.