3 Keys To Supporting Your Pregnant Spouse

Stress is probably at an all-time high in your home right now if you recently found out you will be a first time dad. You probably didn’t think you could feel so many different emotions all at once. I was scared and excited, anxious and happy all at the same time. If you are feeling all these different emotions, imagine the emotions your spouse is going through. She is already more in tune with her emotional side than you are, and now with the increased hormonal chaos, those emotions are about to roller coaster all over the place. So how do you handle this time of your life when you and your spouse are awash with emotions?

There are three important concepts that I think every first time dad should understand about this time, and they will be discussed below.

#1 – Slow Your Reaction

With stress and anxiety at all-time highs, patience will be at an all-time low. You and your spouse are experiencing something completely new, which is exciting and scary at the same time. Train yourself to slow your reaction to what confronts you. I am not talking about delaying your defensive driving reaction or evasive maneuver reaction. By slowing your reaction, I mean slowing how you respond to things your wife says or does. It is natural to jump to the defense of yourself or your actions/words. But in this heightened state of emotions, slow that reaction and think about your responses and actions carefully.

Pregnancy Hormones

For example, here is a typical scenario from my wife’s third trimester. It was hot outside, she was craving random food that we didn’t have in our pantry, I was tired from a long and particularly stressful day at work, and we were dealing with financial stresses involving getting ready for a baby and finding a tenant for a rental property that we can’t afford to pay for if it is vacant. An argument could have erupted from just about anywhere, about anything. Topics like the temperature of our house, the comfort (or lack thereof) of our bed, our pantry’s food supply, and my lack of support were frequent topics of contention.

The key is to remember to diffuse the situation. It’s all about being humble. Think to yourself that your spouse is always right, and more often than not she is anyway. Slow the reaction to be defensive. Think about your response carefully. Think about the raging hormones coursing through your spouse’s veins. Say to yourself ‘she isn’t behaving normally, and arguing with this aberration of her isn’t worth it.’ She probably knows she is being overly sensitive, overbearing, and impatient, so going along and giving in will win you some serious points, and really show that even when she behaves like a succubus, you still love her for who you know her to be.

#2 – Support With Praise

We all know that women love to hear how great/skinny/sexy/smart/funny they are on a regular basis. Even if they protest your praise, they secretly love to hear it. Fellas, this is the time to really lay it on thick. Some may argue that there is a point that it becomes too much, or even creepy. But I disagree. I tend to be in the camp that women are never satisfied with verbal praise.

Tell her regularly how she has a different ‘pregnant glow’ about her. I don’t know what it is about this ‘pregnant glow’ thing they talk about, but it is a big deal. So even if you don’t really see a ‘glow,’ tell her she has it.


Refrain from commenting on her stretch marks, cankles, or anything else that has to do with gaining weight. I mentioned above that she will be in a heightened state of sensitivity, so just don’t mention anything in this category. Even if you think it is a positive thing to mention, like the fact that her boobs keep getting bigger, just keep it to yourself. Keep everything positive, even if she bombards you with questions like ‘do I have cankles?’ or ‘are my stretch marks bad?’ Lie if you have to. She knows you’re lying, but she will appreciate your attempt to keep things positive.

#3 – Support With Action

We all hate people who say things, but don’t do things. Back up your words of support with actions that support her. Remember that this is probably the most uncomfortable time in her life. It is hard for her to be comfortable anywhere besides a swimming pool, it is probably always too hot (even in the winter), and she is always hungry for food you don’t have on hand. Early on, she might be suffering with morning sickness, so nothing sounds good to eat, and any food you cook or eat might send her heaving to the toilet.

This is an important time to step up your game gentlemen. By stepping up your game, I mean doing things for your spouse. Choose to act. Here are some great things that you can do for her during this particularly rugged time:

  • Fix meals
  • Clean the house
  • Wash the dishes
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Laundry
  • Back rubs, foot rubs, and massages

Basically, this list comprises of all the household chores that she might be doing all of, or you might be already helping out with. Just do all of the chores. Don’t wait for her to ask you or for messes to pile up or for the fridge to be empty. She will notice these acts of service and will greatly appreciate your efforts to help out.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that your spouse got the short end of the stick when it comes to bringing a new baby into this world. She gets stuck with carrying the baby for 9 months, dealing with the cravings, hormones, pains, and discomforts associated with carrying it, birthing the baby, and taking care of roughly 95% of its needs once it is born for at least a year. We really have nothing to contribute, which is why it is our job to support her as much as possible. Remember to slow your reaction, support her with praise and support her with actions through those trying 9 months and beyond. She will see you as a real man, which you will be if you step up and support her the best that you can. Good luck-

10 Tips For Changing Diapers Like A Pro

Does it scare you to think you will probably have to change diapers in the near future? When I say probably, I don’t mean probably at all. I mean most likely. And by most likely, I mean definitely. You will be changing diapers on the reg in a few short months if you are an expecting dad, or you are already waist deep in baby poop right now. But don’t fret – changing diapers isn’t that bad. Except for when it is.

As a new dad, there really isn’t a whole lot for you to contribute. Basically all you have done up to this point is provide some essential genetic information via sperm. The rest your wife has done. Even birthing the thing is all on her shoulders (or hips rather). Afterwards, you probably won’t be very involved in feeding it. Or clothing it (unless that’s your thing – I’m not judging). Indirectly, you are sheltering it, unless your wife wears the daddy pants and brings home the bacon (again, not judging). She will most likely take care of bathing it and putting lotion on it and manicuring the nails and fixing the hair (if there is any), etc. etc. Hell, she will basically hold it 95% of the time and leave you one chore and one chore alone.

Changing the diaper.

I bet you thought you would never change a diaper. I bet you put your foot down and said ‘I’ll never change a poopy diaper.’ You might still think that, even after the baby is born. That’s fine. I did.

But what the hell are you going to do? How are you going to contribute to raising this child of yours? Sure, you can take your son fishing or hunting or to sporting events or teach him to be a man, yada yada yada. Or if you are having a girl you can take her fishing and hunting and to sporting events and teach her how to be a woman (notice how fishing, hunting, and sports will teach a boy to be a man and a girl to be a woman). But what will you contribute for the first – say – year? Your wife has pretty much everything else covered.

You know what I say? Embrace it. That’s right. Embrace the diaper. Think about it – we kind of got off easy on this one. We don’t have to carry a baby inside us for 9 months while dealing with the crazy hormones. We don’t have to birth the thing, which to me seems like a mix between taking a baby sized deuce and torture, with lots of blood and screaming. Once the baby is born, we don’t really have to be responsible for keeping the thing alive, since your wife will be all over that. To me, changing diapers seems kind of ‘easy’ compared to those things.
So I say embrace the title of ‘diaper changer.’ Become a diaper changing pro. I can tell you one thing right now – I change a better diaper than my wife. Hands down. Everything about the change is better, the speed, the efficiency, the quality of the new diaper’s placement. Everything down to the butt cream application. I am the diaper master. And I’m not knocking my wife’s diaper changing skills, because she can change a mean diaper. But I’m just better. The funny thing is she is OK with me being better. I guess that has something to do with making me feel like I am contributing. Or that she doesn’t want to do it.

real men change diapers

Do you need to practice before the baby comes? Hell no. If someone else gives you their baby to ‘practice on,’ politely refuse that job. Trust me, you will get plenty of practice once it comes. No need to practice on someone else’s baby.
Below are 10 tips to help you become the diaper changing master.

10 Diaper Changing Tips

#1 – get a changing table. This table will become your workbench, if you will. It will organize all the different tools for changing a wet or soiled diaper in a jiffy. Make sure the table can strap your baby in, you don’t want it to roll off while you are reaching for a new pack of wipes (once again, no judging if it happens).

#2 – establish a routine. I am all about routines, whether it’s bed time, meal time, or diaper changing time. I lay my baby on the table a certain way, remove the onesie and hold the legs/hands a certain way, and have the wipes, new diaper, butt cream all in a certain place. Your baby will get used to ‘the routine,’ and eventually it will ‘assume the position’ for you.

#3 – prep the new diaper before you change the old one. This is a no-brainer for me, but my wife never does this. It is why I am so much faster. Unfold the new diaper, pull all the side creases out and lay it flat under your baby’s old diaper (unless it was a blowout). When you remove the old one, your baby is already on top of the clean one.

#4 – what if you are on the road? This is tricky. My wife organizes (or doesn’t organize) the diaper bag, so finding what I need can be a challenge. It’s all about prepping your space before you dive in. Simulate your changing table on the ground, bed, couch, public bathroom, or wherever you are. This will increase your speed and efficiency and will keep you from scrambling to hold onto your baby while digging for whatever.

#5 – keep your baby occupied. Kicking legs and wandering hands make for an unefficient and unpleasant diaper changing experience. Give them a toy to play with. My daughter likes this Winnie the Pooh book, which is totally appropriate in this situation.

#6 – time yourself. Since you are making this your domain, become the pro. Time yourself like it’s a 40 time. Under a minute is pretty good. Under 30 seconds is approaching pro territory. But don’t cut corners. Remember ‘quality over speed.’ If you can do a 30 second change while applying butt cream and making sure the diaper provides full coverage, without leaving any shat behind, you truly are a master.

Diaper Genie Essentials Diaper Disposal Pail

#7 – proper disposal. Wet diapers are OK going into the regular trash. Soiled diapers are a big no-no. Get a Diaper Genie or take them immediately outside. Proper diaper disposal is just as important as proper wiping technique.

#8 – wiping technique. Speaking of wiping technique, I can wipe clean a pretty bad pooh with one wipe. Sometimes it gets dicey and I’ll go with two. But for the most part, it’s all about where you start and how you fold. You want to get the most mileage out of each wipe, so get full coverage on one side before folding. Then fold in half, then in half, and keep going until it’s all clean or you run out. Also, remember that for girls, you always wipe AWAY from the front. Front to back. Front to back. Get all the cracks.

#9 – butt cream. When is it necessary? It depends on your baby’s skin. Mine has awesome skin. It is never dry. I rarely put it on. If it is red, or if she has been sitting in pooh for a while, it is a good idea to apply a little bit. If the rash doesn’t go away after a while, it might be a fungus (yeast infection). A little athlete’s foot cream or Vagisil (sorry, I hate that word) will do the trick, but consult your pediatrician.

#10 – wipes for wet only? This is a good question, and is a toss-up I think. If it is what I call a ‘heavy pee diaper,’ or if it is so completely saturated that any more might come leaking out, I say a quick all over wipe is a good hygiene practice. Otherwise, I usually don’t. Bonus tip – you don’t have to change the wet ones right away. Let them fill up a bit. Our daughter sleeps almost all night without a new diaper (as long as she doesn’t soil it).

Blow Outs – A Bad Day

There is no mincing words about blow outs. They are a bad day all around, for you, your baby, your washing machine, everybody. I once went in to get my daughter in the morning and there was poop everywhere. In her hair, in her hands and in between her fingers, smeared on her cheeks and lips, all over her onesie, covering the sheets and her teddy bear. About the only place there wasn’t a ton of pooh was inside her freaking diaper. It was a bad day all around. In those situations, you might use up an entire pack of wipes and still leave some feces behind. When this happens to you, and it will, just strip your baby down and take them into the shower. Or give your naked and stinking baby to your wife to shower with while you take all the sheets, onesies, diaper, and teddy bear to the dumpster.

On a related note, your baby might decide to finish what they started while their diaper is off. This is especially true with little boys, as the cooler air ‘activates’ their little fire hoses into full throttle. Don’t panic. Quickly cover up the eruption and minimize the damage. It doesn’t have to be just number one. My daughter routinely blasted poop once her diaper was off. Cover and minimize the damage. These events will slow down your efficiency, but they happen. Good luck –

Which tips from above do you use while changing diapers? What’s your speed? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

Literature – Your Wife’s New Obsession

If you are anxiously anticipating the arrival of your new son or daughter as a first time dad, you will probably start to notice that your wife will start to borrow/buy/steal new mom books (like the New Mom Handbook). The pile will start to grow as her obsession grows. She will start to visit and frequent a lot of online forums and blogs, like theBump.com. This is a normal occurrence, and is an indication that she is interested in what to expect, how to cope with different setbacks, parenting tips, etc.

Unrealistic Expectations and Contradictory Information

But we have all seen the movie Knocked Up. Maybe not all of us, but some of us. There is a scene where Kathryn Heigl’s character buys a ton of baby literature for Seth Rogen’s character to read before the baby comes. He doesn’t follow through, and she is absolutely devastated, so much so, that she decides at that moment to have the baby without him. Talk about lofty and unrealistic expectations!

Knocked Up

Here is my take on all of the baby/daddy/mommy/new parenting literature out there: it’s mostly a bunch of garbage. Except for this blog of course. Here’s the problem – there is so much contradiction between what so and so doctor says about how to put your new born to sleep and what so and so ‘expert’ says. One book will tell you that they need to sleep on their back for the first 6 months. Another says a year. Another says that your baby will die of SIDS if they sleep on their back because they could vomit and choke on it. Another says they should sleep tethered to their momma for the rest of their life to avoid sudden death and dismemberment. That last one escalated quickly, but you get the idea.

Every facet of raising your baby is questioned and contradicted by so many books and blogs and ‘experts’ and doctors that it is crazy trying to find the source of knowledge. Now, add onto that pile of rubbish all the tips and ‘help’ you will receive from friends and family members (especially your mother-in-law). Holy mother, now we’re talking about all sorts of confusion.

Sifting Through All The Noise

So who is ultimately right about how your baby can safely sleep? Or what they should eat at 8 months? Or how to sooth their cries? My wife got a little carried away with all the literature studies, like most expecting new moms. She wanted to read books with me, and she expected me to read some of it by myself, like the movie example above. But when I found contradicting information from two books, I put my foot down and told her to take it easy with all the book reading. The fact is, did our ancestors have mommy help books? Hell no! They didn’t even have basic medicine let alone a website that tracks the size of your wife’s embryo as it grows from a mustard seed to a watermelon. They managed. And so can you.

I told my wife that we can listen to tips from others, and she can read a suggestion from a book or blog, but that we can make decisions based on the merits of those ‘suggestions.’ Because that’s all any of this is. Every baby is different. If they were the same and came with an owner’s manual, I can understand following the directions. But your baby might sleep fine by itself, without any sleep aids or night time ritual or anything. My baby most certainly doesn’t. Basically, the stars have to align for mine to sleep without screaming for half of the night. My baby had bad acid reflux as a new born and the doctor told us that she needed to sleep mostly sitting up or reclining in a car seat to keep from choking on her vomit. That is quite different than what the consensus sleep knowledge of newborns these days is.

Use Your Head

There is a lot of good advice out there, I’m not knocking the good sources of information. The problem is that pretty much any Joe Shmoe can write and publish a book or an online article or blog without any expertise whatsoever. There are a lot of so-called ‘experts’ who proclaim to know what is best for your baby, when you should use your head to decide what is best for your baby. Does that expert know him or her? Nope. Not even close. Take any advice with a grain of salt and make sure to decide what to do with your wife. I will add that if you trust your baby’s pediatrician, then listen to them and trust their advice as well. They have a huge advantage over the other ‘experts’ out there because they will meet and check up on your baby regularly with you. They can be a great source of answers to your many questions. My wife always rights down questions to ask the doctor on our next visit.

In Conclusion

So when your wife gives you a stack of ‘first time dad’ books to read, what are you going to do? Chuck ‘em in the trash? Light ‘em on fire? Read them eagerly like the time you read The Notebook (don’t deny it)? My advice to you (and take it like you take all advice from a stranger) is to give an honest try to search for good information and seek out good parenting advice. I didn’t say to read them or not. You read my opinion of these books above.

What will you do about your wife’s runaway obsession about her literature studies? Light her books on fire? Cancel your internet connection? Good luck-

Just for fun, here are a couple of first time dad books you might enjoy!

Lifesaving Equipment For The First Time Dad

You may not think of baby items as ‘equipment,’ but the items below will be just as important to you as a first time dad as a hard hat for a miner or a scalpel for a surgeon. There is a lot of junk out there in the world of baby stuff (baby holster?). For example, why on earth would anyone in their right mind buy a wipes warmer? It’s not like we are living in the ice age or something. I was raised with cold wipes and I turned out alright. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get to it.

Diaper Disposal

This is an amazing invention. Diaper pails seal in the smell from rotten baby diapers. Instead of having to take each diaper outside to the dumpster or trash can (because just one will literally stink up your entire house), you just open the radiation leak-proof lid and pop it in. Once the sealed bag is full, remove and replace. There are a couple on the market, with the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail and the Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposal Pail leading the way. The Munchkin sprinkles some baking soda on each layer as you dump in the diapers. This is truly a game changer, and every home should have at least one if there is a poop factory (baby) living inside.

Baby Carriers

There will come a time when your wife or partner will need a break from her baby. This doesn’t mean she loves it less. She will just go nuts if she doesn’t get out and do something normal. So you will come home from work one day and she will hand you the baby and say “it’s your turn, I’m going out for a while.” You have never been alone with your baby and you won’t know what to do. This is where a good baby carrier comes in. You could either hold the baby the entire time while sitting on the couch (not a bad way to go), or you could put the baby in a carrier and free up your hands to multitask. You’re probably asking, “guys don’t multitask.” Well, a baby carrier allows you to do other things while your baby sleeps securely on your chest. Need a new beverage while watching the big game? No need to try to lay down the baby. Are you grilling up some burgers or some random meat? Flip away. Your buddies won’t have to skip your turn to shuffle when they come over for poker night (ok, that might be a little loud for a newborn).

Anyway, these carriers aren’t expensive and your wife will love them as well. BabyBjorn, Infantino, Beco, Britax, and Boba Air make great carriers, and she will love the Mobi Wraps.

Play Pens

While your baby is still small and new and immobile, play pens offer you a place to change diapers while on the go or in another room from your changing table. It is also a good place to store baby essentials, like lots and lots of diapers and wipes. But as your baby gets more mobile, the play pen becomes a lifesaver. If you are alright with watching your baby every second while they are awake, you might not need one. If you have other things to do (and don’t think this makes you a bad dad or anything), invest in a play pen, and particularly, a travel play pen. Just plop your baby in there, and it will play with toys for hours at a time. You know that everything inside is safe, so no need for constant watching. As your baby gets older, it might feel like it’s being put inside a prison, because that is essentially what play pens are – walled enclosures with soft, dull objects and finger food. But they have the potential to keep your baby entertained well past the 1 year mark.

Travel pens are great because they can double as a crib away from home. Set it up outside at the lake while you fish, or on the green while you work on your short game. Gracco’s Pack ‘n Play is a great option, but others from Joovy and Cosco are great as well. As your baby outgrows the pen, there are other options that expand the walls like the North States Super Yard or the Baby Kids Play Pen.

Sleep Aids

Some babies sleep well on their own. Some. Most hate bedtime even from a very early age. This is a time of the evening that you and your wife can get some serious things done, like cleaning up all the messes from the day, or not doing anything and just relaxing, or spending some alone time together (oh yeah!). Bedtime is sacred time. But it won’t be sacred if your baby doesn’t go to sleep and just screams bloody murder all night long. Sleep aids will keep your sanity, because without everyone (including your baby) getting a good nights sleep, you will go insane, hate life, and have a miserable existence (my experience anyway).

Download some white noise, rain sounds, or other soothing tunage to play for your baby all night. You can also buy those white noise devices, like the HoMedics sound relaxation machine. Lights are also great for babies to look up at. The Munchkin Nursery projector and sound system projects night lights and plays soothing sounds for your baby. There is also a toy that plays sounds and projects stars on the ceiling, which is my daughter’s favorite. To appease your wife, you will need some kind of baby monitor (video or just sound) so she doesn’t feel the need to check on your baby every 3 minutes during the night to make sure it’s still alive.


Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Cambria Bassinet, Toffee

Unless you want your newborn baby sleeping in bed with you every night, you will want a bed height bassinet. This item is a true lifesaver. Your wife will thank you for knowing the baby is right beside her, but not in bed with both of you. Enough said about that. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet is a great option, but there are several others available as well.

Final Thoughts

These five pieces of baby equipment will become some of your favorite toys. They save you time, patience, and sanity. Not only will you greatly appreciate their existence, but your wife or partner will be grateful for them several times over. If you are preparing for your first baby, make sure you add these items to your arsenal sooner rather than later. Good luck –
What are some baby gear items that you cannot live without? Let us know below. Thanks for reading!

Your Role As A New Dad – “What Is Expected Of Me?”

Learning that you are going to be a new dad is an exciting/terrifying time in your life, no matter your age or maturity level. A question that might be on your mind is “what is expected of me?” Let’s delve into this question by taking what your counterpart expects of you.

Watch What You Say

If you are asking yourself this question, your wife or partner is going through a lot right now. You are both probably preparing for the birth of your child, which could be 6 months away or just a few days. Stress is high, anxiety is high, and patience with each other is at an all-time low. Before the baby arrives, your significant other expects you to be more understanding and more patient and more careful with what you say. It is never a good thing to mention that she is developing ‘cankles’ at this late stage of pregnancy, or that her stretch marks resemble ‘lightning bolts from Zeus.’

With the increased sensitivity, make more than a conscious effort to watch your words. On the other hand, she expects a free pass with her emotions and outbursts and what she says to and about you. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s just the way it is. The sooner every new dad comes to grips with this reality, the better life will be. She is dealt the role of carrying the baby for 9 months and pushing it out of her, well you know. Her hormones are all sorts of jacked up, so she gets a free pass for the duration of the whole ordeal. Don’t you think that’s fair? I’ll gladly give her that rather than do what women have to do to birth an 8+ pound child, let alone carry it for 9 miserable months with messed up hormones pulsing through my body turning me schizophrenic and bi-polar all at once.

Help Out Where You Can

Once the baby arrives, you and your wife will have different roles. Obviously, the mother will feed and nurture the baby for the most part. This is especially true early on and if she decides to breast feed. During the first few months, you might feel kind of worthless. There isn’t a whole lot you can provide for your child at this point. So, step up and offer to change as many diapers as possible. Your spouse will greatly appreciate this move. Become the diaper master. I can guarantee that I change a faster diaper with less wipes used than my wife can. Booya. And while that doesn’t sound all that glamorous to become the diaper master, it shows that you are actively participating in the early stages of your child’s life.

First time dad onsie

I told my wife that I would take care of the night time, even though I work full time during the day. My wife was so exhausted at the end of each day that she would sleep through the monitor and forget to wake up and feed the baby. So I would keep the baby monitor by me and I would check on the baby during the night to change diapers and bring her to my wife whenever she was hungry.

The key is to be supportive every chance you get. Go above and beyond what you normally do. Prepare meals, give extra back or foot rubs, take care of the errands and grocery shopping, help with the cleaning and chores around the house (or just do them all), and be at her disposal for whatever she needs. If your wife is not breast feeding your baby, you can take shifts bottle feeding formula.

As your child grows, there is more and more that you can help out with. I have graduated from not just master diaper changer school, but the potty whisperer academy, and the crawl on the ground and play college. I never had the opportunity to feed my daughter except for the occasional pumped breast milk bottle, but just because your nipples don’t produce milk doesn’t mean you get out of meal time. Sometime around 6 months your baby will start eating baby food. This is another time that you can step up and help out. I am no master at feeding my daughter. Even after a year, she still mostly wants her mom to feed her. And that’s fine with me, because meal time is usually mess time, and I don’t like wearing blended up sweet potatoes. But if it works, help out as much as you can in this role.

It’s all about spending time with your family, isn’t it? You decided consciously or not to bring another life into this planet. You might as well be the best dad you can be. Be there for your wife and for your baby. Spend as much time with them as possible, even if there isn’t much for you to do. I think that pretty much sums up your over-arching role and what your wife or partner expects of you as a first time dad.

In Conclusion

Keep Calm I'm A New Dad

As new dads, it’s hard to feel like there is anything we can do to help out. But when you think about it, there are a lot of things we can do to lessen the load that is on our better half’s shoulders. The more you do, the less worthless you will feel, and the more grateful she will be. Support her needs, and spend as much time with them as possible. Good luck!