On 11/15 at 7:50 PM, my son Jack Judge was born into the world:

He’s a beautiful boy with lots of energy, a healthy appetite and keen interest in everything that comes within one foot of his face :) I’ll spare you the words cannot describe how I’m feeling part, because I can easily sum it up by saying: I’m a father!

Given that Erin and I have had two weeks to get to know him now, we’ve learned quite a bit about being new parents, and I thought it’d make sense for me to start writing a few things down in the hope that it’ll help a few people out. Two caveats: (1) I’m two weeks into this, and (2) when it comes to medical advice, your doctor will know best.

So let’s get started.

  • It's all true You're not going to get as much sleep, the baby eats a lot, and they (of course) pee and poop a lot.
  • Little dudes like to wizzer on stuff (including you) When Jack was born, he peed off the heating lamp table onto the floor not 30 seconds out of the womb. It was awesome. He peed on the wall in his room the other day. It wasn't as awesome, but still funny. The simple solution - cover it up.
  • Breast feeding isn't as simple as putting the baby's mouth on the breast If you want to breast feed, start doing it right away. It takes some time for the breast milk to come in (2-3 days), but the baby will still be chowing on Colostrum. This initial period of breast feeding can be tricky since the baby likes to move around a lot and is not use to working for their food. The latch is key to not only successful feeding, but also avoiding pain for the mother. Go to YouTube and look for an instructional breast feeding video before birth. Ask lots of questions while in the hospital. Understand that this is going go to take some time to get right. If you don't want to breast feed, don't. If you want to breast feed, be prepared to feed with formula too. We like to keep bottles around the house for quick feeding times (late at night). Breast pumps are also helpful as they'll keep the mother on a regular schedule, and can quickly help relieve engorged breasts by expressing extra milk
  • It's ok to feed the baby formula while breast feeding No one told us this. We thought it was an either/or situation, but the fact is that the baby is hungry and needs to get it's feed on. The baby will lose approximately 10% of it's body weight while it's getting adjusted to being outside of the womb. The hospital will give you 2 oz bottles of food and temporary nipples to feed with. This formula is great because it's packed with a punch of essential nutrients for the baby. This is also how the baby stays hydrated.
  • Head outside Walks are great for mom and baby, even in the winter. We invested in a JJ Cole Bundle Me, which is basically a super warm baby stroller sleeping bag. We tend to cover his head right now since it's cold out. Getting out of the house during the first few weeks is important.
  • Be prepared for early maintenance Bring nail clippers to the hospital, as it's likely that you'll clip his/her nails right away. Some parents have told us that they bit of their baby's nails. That seemed super weird to us. Jack's fingers are tiny, I'd probably chew off one of his fingers trying to get at his nails. No thank you.
  • Slow down The last two weeks away from the office have been wonderful. I thought I might have some time to catch up on things and pay attention to what's happening with the business, but that didn't happen at all. Don't commit to anything, just enjoy your time.
  • Things you'll need
    1. Infant car seat We bought the Graco SnugRide, it works great.
    2. Stroller(s) We bought the BOB, and friends lent us the Graco SnugRider. The BOB is good for walks around the neighborhood. The SnugRider stays in the car, and is good for doctor's appointments and shopping. The SnugRide drops right into the SnugRider.
    3. Portable crib, changer, etc We were given the Graco Pack 'n Play, also known as the space ship. This device provides a place for the baby to sleep, to hang out, and to be changed. We use this on the first floor of our house, and when traveling overnight.
    4. Diapers w/indicator We're using Pamper's Swaddlers, and like them a lot. Get the diapers that have the pee line, a yellow line that run the length of the diaper that turns green when wet.
    5. Binks Get a bunch. You'll lose them all. Have plenty on hand for the baby to try. Figure out which one the baby likes the most and buy more of those. We like the ones where there is a hole in the tip, and you can see the mouth action as the baby sucks.
    6. Changing table, baby wipes and lots of baby towels You'll be changing the baby a lot, it's helpful to have a changing table with a pad insert for the baby to lay on while changing. You'll want to put a towel underneath the baby, as well on top (if you have a boy).
    7. Hand sanitizer Anyone that comes in contact with the baby needs to be germ free.

Other than that, try to get as much help, advice and hand me downs as you can. Everyone has an opinion, but listening to them all will help you think through things in different ways and chances are you will get at least one really useful thing from everyone.

I’ll write more tips as I remember them this week.