Welcome to Dad Strength. The transformation into a father has physically and mentally enlightened me. From time to time I’ll use this platform to share exactly how Dad Strength has improved my life. Today my goal is to help out the New Dads get some rest by successfully putting their baby to sleep without using Benadryl.
Three months ago I knew nothing about being a parent. Today, I’m a savant. Okay, that’s a lie not even Rick Pitino could say with a straight face. Even so, I feel the need to share a few things that helped me significantly in my first few months as a parent.
First and foremost, as the days drew nearer to my son’s birth, diaper-changing anxiety grew. I’ve never changed a diaper before. It’s gotta be a pain in the butt. That punny thought became a misconception within a day of my son’s arrival. Hell, even the stuff that’s in the diaper isn’t as bad as you think. The real challenge is in the art of the swaddle.
Correctly swaddling a newborn is the difference between zero and three hours of sleep. That may not seem like much until you’re running on zero hours of sleep. A tight swaddle mimics their previous confines in the mother’s womb. The less wiggle room, the better. That’s easier said than done. Experienced nurses can tuck a baby in without a problem. For others, there’s a cheat code. Allow me to introduce to you the burb-rag method, the easiest way to keep a baby’s arms tucked in before they grow into a sleep-sack.
That cheat code works well but it does not last forever. The next step involves heavier reading.
Gutenberg created the printing press so “Twelve Hours of Sleep by Twelve Weeks” could be published. It’s God’s gift to literature. In less than 200 pages you will be given the tools to help your child sleep through the night. My wife and I checked the book out for free from our local library. If you must buy it I promise you it is well worth the $20 on Amazon.
Of course, no two children are the same. One book is not a one-sized-fits-all approach to help a child learn how to sleep. My wife and I did not go “by the book,” but by using its principles our son began consistently sleeping at least 11 hours uninterrupted a night at only nine weeks old (knock on wood). “Keep baby awake during the day and feed him more so he won’t wake up hungry during the night” isn’t exactly rocket science. What we learned from the book was so rewarding I simply could not keep it to myself. All new parents deserve to know how to use the proper tools to give their baby (and themselves) a good night’s sleep.
I discussed these recommendations at more length this week with my pal from A Sea of Blue, Big Blue Drew. On the Kentucky Dad Podcast I explained why I named my son Duke, the craziness surrounding a child’s birth during a pandemic and much more. Most importantly, I bragged on the greatest TV dad ever, Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor. Enjoy all of his grunts from one of the 90s bests, Home Improvement.