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Daddy daze: surviving the ‘Night’s Watch’

Feed me: have bottles ready

We’ve all seen the routine: cries of duress from a helpless soul are heard by a sleepless protagonist who swoops in and saves the day.

There’s times when we all could use a superhero, especially us new parents.

Who hasn’t been terrified to act, certain that whatever they do will cause more harm to their infant than good?

The thing about being a parent is learning what’s within your control.

How do you distinguish between different types of cries? When is their temperature too high? When is it one too many vomiting episodes?

Remembering that babies have no neck control has been a process for me. Their little arms and legs become strong so quickly, and they can lift their heads up sometimes when they’re on their tummies. But then the head falls to the side and the whole world slows down while you try to catch it.

There is a wealth of information that nurses at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and your paediatrician can provide, but it really comes down to how perceptive you are of your child’s needs. You are going to make mistakes. Luckily most of them will be minor, and your baby will (hopefully) be too young to hold a grudge against you.

Worst case scenario, there’s always the Emergency Room.

Try not to get lost in the internet rabbit hole of WebMD and Google searches about different baby issues, unless it’s something minor. Give your heart a rest, you will need it for night-time feeding.

Based on my recent experiences, it’s part of a very short list of things needed to get through what I call “the Night’s Watch”.

• Milk or formula. Get four (or more) bottles ready; mom might be too tired to breastfeed.

• Burp cloths. So you don’t have to clean yourself just as much as you clean the baby. Projectile vomit is a real thing.

• Changing table. Babies poop. A lot. Prepare yourself for possible projectile poop too.

• Soothers. Sometimes babies can’t make up their mind. Maybe they just want to be held, but soothers might help with their indecision.

• Netflix. You don’t know how long you’ll need. Trying to figure out your baby is like trying to guess what happens next on House of Cards.

• Night-vision goggles. Since you don’t want to overexcite the babies at night, keep the lights off.

As long as you’re prepared then you can be ready for those long nights ahead. Good luck!