What you need- from a dad’s point of view
Adelaide-born Rad Dad, Mark, has some great tips for those of you ready to welcome your first little one into your lives. Basically, save your pennies!
“YOU DON’T NEED IT”
As the birth of our child approached it seemed like we didn’t have nearly enough baby stuff. When we went shopping for a pusher, we wandered around the baby shop looking at the things we would have to get at some point. There were countless bits of furniture and decorations and gadgets and clothes and games and toys. Countless. And none of it was cheap. But we wanted the best for our kid, so what could we do. Luckily we were so lazy we never did get around to getting any of that stuff and yet we still ended up with too much. So my first piece of advice for new parents is…
YOU DON’T NEED IT!
There are only four things that you need.
The first thing you need is a baby car seat. Really, that is the first thing you need. Otherwise you can’t get the baby home from hospital. I can’t give any other advice on car baby seats.
The second thing you need is a bed. Not for the baby, for the father. In the first few weeks of the baby’s life, mum won’t want to be separated from it. So unless you want to share your bed with a tiny defenceless creature that you are petrified of rolling onto and crushing, you’ll need a spare bed. And you actually do need a baby bed.
The third thing you need is a pusher. As with the car seat I am not an expert on pushers. I take my advice from whatever the federal standard is. But while safety is obviously crucial, remember you will be pushing it around for a year. Make sure it is comfortable for you. It needs to be high enough and there must be room for your legs so you can walk naturally. And probably pump up tyres. If it’s not comfortable for you, you are in for a long and hard year.
The fourth thing you need is dummies. The first time you buy a dummy, buy ten. If there is one thing a baby loves more than its mother, it is its dummy. And if there is one thing that a baby hates more than any other thing, it is a different dummy. You will inevitably lose several dummies. Don’t get to that moment and give your baby the ‘wrong’ dummy, and then have to try to remember what brand and size you bought three months ago at 11 o’clock at night holding a baby who won’t stop crying.
One thing you definitely do NOT need is a changing table, except maybe for storage. For changing, it is either pointless or useless. When the baby is tiny and doesn’t move, you can change it anywhere flat. When the baby is older and can’t stay still, you can’t use the table without putting it in danger. Get an old towel from the back of the cupboard and use the kitchen table if you don’t want to bend over, or the floor.
Everything else you can figure out as you go along. And remember, no baby stuff ever wears out. So any parents you know have lots and lots of stuff, especially clothes, just sitting in drawers and cupboards. The baby doesn’t care if it’s new, or matches, or even clean. As long as it has the right dummy.
Mark lived the first thirty years of his life in Adelaide, but now lives in Poland with his Polish wife and German born, two and half year old, bilingual son. In his spare time he is a professional volleyball coach. Sometimes, when he is trying to be funny, he says that fathering is easier than coaching because he only has to deal with one child at a time.