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A Dad's First Week With A Newborn Baby

Orestes is now one week old. It was a pretty intense week, and it would have been so much easier if we knew a simple thing. But let's start at the beginning. After a few days in the maternity hospital, we finally made it home. Of course, we were tired, but it was just the beginning of a very long week. The first week of our newborn. It is very long because there's so many things to learn. The baby wants to stay alive and regain weight, but can't talk to you, so it can only cry. So it cries and cries and cries, and that's both scary and annoying. The game you play is trying to find what will make the baby stop crying and be happy instead. To do that, you must learn to use many tools as quickly as possible. The bassinet, the changing pad, the diapers, the pump, the bottles, and even the formula.

You can feed the baby, change it, or pat it to make it burp. If nothing else works, you can try to dance with it. And that really works every single time. Of course, there are endless other tools and techniques and you use one after another until something works. Whatever worked once might or might not work next time. So you keep trying again and again. That's a lot of work, but still that's the okay part. The not okay part is that many people have ideas and opinions that is often noise with value somewhere between useless and harmful. Nurses, doctors, online articles, YouTube videos, social media groups and even the most well intended friends and relatives. People motivated by conscious or unconscious agendas have suggestions on what you could do better. Some even shame others. You shouldn't use formula. You shouldn't use pacifiers. In the end, you find yourself thinking. Why does everyone get it right except me?

Am I a bad person that I have all those weird thoughts and feelings and fears and anxieties? What is wrong with me? Don't let people get into your head. Most of them, like the YouTube folks, don't even know you and of course they don't know your child. They just say whatever will give them likes and follows. Others like nurses and doctors want credit for your wins and you to take the blame for everything that doesn't work. That's the way to survive as a professional, right? They will advise you to do the impossible. Saying everything is important is very convenient for them. Friends and family might have outdated ideas. They also seem to confuse when they were doing what. We got tons of advice that's great for a six month old, but not for a newborn. Thank them and move on. Bottom line, the baby cries. You know how to do a few things. Try them out patiently again and again till something works. The most important tool nobody talks about is self-acceptance and self-compassion. It's a tough week with lots of learning through trial and error, and you are doing it! Your thoughts are fine, your feelings are fine, and you are fine.

That's what I learned this past week. I hope you find it useful. Thanks for watching.

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