“A Mother Knows Best”, may be, but a stay at home dad knows at least as much.
While mothers might have those maternal instincts, we, dads, on the other hands, have tips and tricks to remain sane while caring for our babies:
1. Feeding a baby with a bottle is nice, but can be boring, especially in the first 3-4 months of the baby’s life. In that time period there is not much of an interaction and feeding is really mostly a mechanical operation which has almost zero interaction with the baby. So I found a way to pass the feeding time in a much more enjoyable manner (for me at least), which is: Sit comfortably on the sofa. Raise one of your feet and place its ankle on the other knee. Place the head of the baby at the corner that is formed by the knee and the ankle and lay your baby in such a way that his head is placed on that kneeankle corner and his legs are touching your belly. Your baby is now lying upright facing you safely positioned on your inner leg, happy to watch your face. In this position, you only need one hand equipped with a warm bottle to feed your baby, and guess what? Now you have a free hand to grab that remote and enjoy some TV while feeding your baby.
2. Baby’s crying will drive most dads insane! I am sure that if they checked our blood pressure during these times, it would go through the roof. I cannot stand crying jags so I decided to minimize the frequency and length. This tip takes some time and preparation but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to reduce the crying time of the baby. When your baby goes to sleep start timing his sleeping period. Most babies sleep about the same amount of time day in and day out. So if you are careful enough you will know in advance when your baby is going to wake up demanding food and you will already be ready for him with a nicely warm fresh bottle of milk. A delightful solution for everybody.
3. This is a fun tip that will amuse your baby, your wife and anyone visiting. I call it the “elevator baby.” Stand behind a door frame. Have your audience sit on the other side of the opening facing you. Hide behind the wall next to the door frame and hold your baby in such a way that only half of his body is visible to your audience. Only the baby’s one side is showing (mainly his head, one hand, half the stomach and one leg) to your audience and the other side is hiding behind the door frame with you. It will give the impression as if your baby is floating behind the door frame. If your baby is old enough, his instincts would be to grab that door frame and then it would look as if he is actually holding the door frame all by himself. Now, place your hands firmly under your baby’s little butt and hold his back firmly. Start lifting your baby up behind the door frame, all the time making sure that your hands are not visible. Your audience will see your baby magically floating up and down behind the door. You are about to experience some of the loudest laughter you have ever heard! And your baby will be so delighted to be the center of attention.
4. A father with a baby screams VIP treatment-discrimination in a good way. Luckily for us dads, society believes that a man handling a baby is probably distressed (as opposed to a mom who is expected to magically know everything about babies) and so people, especially women, will approach you with offers to help, talk or just chat. A dad with a baby in a stroller is a great way to receive offers to cut into lines, get faster to the cashier at a grocery store, and if you are flying alone with the baby, you will be
treated like royalty! Take advantage of it. Discrimination-being singled out and distinguished in a crowd-has never felt this good!
5. As a dad, I am not afraid for my child’s cuts, scratches or bruises. For me, these so called “injuries” are actually signs of experiments, fun and learning. They are an integral part of playing and the child’s trying his body out in new situations. I do not encourage my kids to get hurt, of course, but on the other hand, I do not get overly distraught when they do, which also teaches them to go with the punches. One thing that I learned is to warn my kids before they start a new activity (such as riding the bikes
without training wheels, climbing a tree or roller-blading) that they may unfortunately fall and hurt themselves and that they should come crying to me only if they are seriously hurt. If they come complaining after every minor fall or bruise, they cannot continue with that activity. They fully understand this reasoning and it works like a charm.
These tips can not make your stay at home task any easier, but they sure do make it more exciting and more manageable. If you have any other tips or tricks you would like to share, I am listening. You can contact me via my site: http://www.baracklevin.com
Barack Levin is the author of The Diaper Chronicles – A stay at home dad‘s quest for raising great kids. You can visit his site at
Barack Levin was born in 1970 in Tel Aviv, Israel and moved to Pittsburgh in 1996 to pursue his Master’s degree. Shortly after his arrival he met a beautiful French woman, Michelle, and fell in love. A year later, during a routine physical, he learned he had an irreversible and life-threatening kidney disease. He was 26 years old – the doctor doubted that he would see 30. But, despite this news, he refused to give up his dream of marrying Michelle and raising a multi-national family in the U.S.
Knowing he was living on borrowed time, and despite everyone he knew telling him he was crazy, he decided to become a stay/work-at-home dad and shoulder most of the responsibility of caring for his son for his first year of life (and, potentially, the last twelve months of his). “I wanted to offer him proper guidance, using some very unconventional methods, through the first steps of his journey to becoming a fantastic kid and a great man, a journey I feared I might not be around to witness much of,” says Levin.
Thirteen years later, Barack is alive and living in Atlanta, with Michelle and their two children. He is the author of the book The Diaper Chronicles- A stay at home dad quest for raising great kids, based on his experience’s, available through his website.