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Top Five New Dad Must Haves

by Matt

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On this very blog, some time ago, Andrea wrote a post called “My Top Five Pregnancy Must-Haves.” Since I love completely subjective lists, I decided to spin that post into what I want to share with you today. It’s not enough for men to just be the breadwinners anymore. Parenting has finally evolved into a joint venture, and it is important to be prepared (don’t believe me, ask your wife or partner).

Here are my top five new dad must-haves.

Books

If your partner is pregnant for the first time, chances are good that she’s reading a lot of books about becoming a mother. So, when your baby finally comes along, she will be well-studied on most of the dos and don’ts of parenting. If she is not sharing those books with you (or making them required reading) you should take some initiative and do your own research. There are a TON of books about parenting, but most of them are written for moms. For $25 you can get this new dad “Launch Kit” that has a ton of info written by dads for new dads. I also highly recommend anything that the NYC Dads Group has on their reading page.

Boot Camp

Having a kid is scary. If you are nervous about your skills with your future child, you should be. Unless you have extensive child-care training, you’re not going to be an expert, especially not in the beginning. If you are going to be the breadwinner in your home, you have two strikes against you. You won’t be home as often as mom, and that means you won’t get as much time with the baby as she will. What does that mean? It means that it’s going to take extra work to get you up to speed. You can get ahead of the curve by attending any classes that your partner takes on parenting and birthing. You can also attend a new dad boot camp. This is a seriously awesome idea. Think about it, you would have a group of experienced dads at your disposal for a few hours. You could ask them anything you want about parenting. You could watch them caring for their own kids and practice things like feeding, diaper changing, and playing all before your child arrives! Not to toot the same horn, but the NYC Dads Group has regular boot camps for new dads, and there is also a site called BootCampForNewDads.org that organizes these unique training sessions through hospitals and pregnancy centers across the nation.

Diaper Bag

You know that you’re going to want to take your kid to the park when he gets older. You have to think ahead. When your wife asks you what kind of diaper bag she should get, DO NOT say, “I don’t care,” or “Whatever you want,” because you could end up with something like this. That’s right; this is no time to be indecisive. You have worked for years on perfecting your unique fashion style. Don’t wreck it with your nonchalant attitude and end up with a pink paisley diaper bag. Personally, we were able to find a stylish black bag at Sears that was big enough to fit everything we needed. Now that I’m mostly taking short trips and toddlers don’t require that much “stuff” to go along with them, I rock a 31 Gifts All-In-One Organizer in the Harvest Plaid pattern. All the ladies reading this just went, “Oooooh.”

Safety Gear

As the father, you will most likely end up being crazy protective of your child, especially if you have a little girl. This is a good and bad thing. First of all, get geared up with the right safety equipment for your home – smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, baby monitor, baby gates, a new car seat (never buy a used one), and anything else you read about in those books I recommended earlier. Now that you can breathe a little easier, it’s important to recognize that you cannot prevent all accidents. Did you read that last line? You cannot prevent all danger from reaching your child. If this continues to be an issue for you, I suggest the book posts about baby things.

Sense of Humor and a Camera

Okay, I know that makes it a list of six things. But if you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re going to miss out on a lot of fun. The camera is just so that you can remember these fun moments when your child is old enough to say, “I hate you,” and threaten to run away from home and join a motorcycle gang. Don’t skimp on the camera. These moments only happen once, so you want to make sure that you are able to capture the magic. There are a lot of point-and-shoot cameras in the $200-$300 range that will be perfect for what you’re looking for without spending a fortune on a DSLR. The camera just needs to have the capability of capturing a moving target – remember, you’re photographing kids.

How about you? What “must-haves” did you find handy? What did your husband always keep around that made his job easier?

Want more? There are many more posts about baby things you can read!

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7 comments

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7 comments

NYC Dads Group August 1, 2012 - 2:43 pm

Matt,
We appreciate the mentions. Nice to get a pat on the back once in a while rather than a kick in the ass!

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The Real Matt Daddy August 6, 2012 - 3:31 pm

Thanks for checking in, guys! Keep up the great work.

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Jennifer Weberman August 3, 2012 - 12:06 am

Matt,
This is great info! I plan to share this with dads and moms. The diaper bag photo had me cracking up! Definitely not the time to say “whatever you want is fine with me, honey”!
Jennifer

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The Real Matt Daddy August 6, 2012 - 3:32 pm

That was the ONE decision I was firmly engaged in. Most of the others are okay to let mom have her way, but NOT that one.

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Bryan August 3, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Set up an email account for the baby! With today’s technology, you can snap a pic or video and send them an email about what they are doing as soon as it happens (birthdays, fun times, milestones). As a father of 2, I know if I don’t write it down or txt it to myself, something will take me in another direction. The cute moment will be gone, and I’ll forget! It can be just for dad or for both mom and dad but it turns out to be like a diary that they can get the password for when they are older. I have one for both of my kids and it is great!

Bryan

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The Real Matt Daddy August 6, 2012 - 3:32 pm

Great idea, Bryan! Thanks for that.

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