How to Feed a Baby Training Seminar for Males
This article is a summation of experience derived from the successful production and rearing of two boys in a monogamous relationship with a truly exceptional wife and mother, so it is dedicated to Zena, who I hope will be smiling as she reads it in heaven, and will surely give me one of her Oy you!, shoulder taps when and if I manage to show up there.
All right! You’re gonna be a dad! After the initial euphoria, and wonder at the upcoming miracle of the pregnancy of your significant other and the procreation of your DNA at the birth of your child. The reality check will hit you with the force of duffel bag full of bricks dropped on your head from way up there, When it does; you need to sit down and read this article right away, do not wait until the birth has already taken place, do it now when you first find out about the pregnancy so that you have some time to practice these essential skills. If you are reading this and your child is already at hand then read very carefully and print the basic steps and hang them near the crib, near the stove, and near your feeding spot. Follow the instructions verbatim until you get a good feel for it all. Your child, in most of its first year of life cannot do anything for itself; it is totally helpless and relies on you for everything. This is an awesome responsibility and while I may inject some humor in the presentation it does not lessen the importance of this critical function.
That having been said; feeding your child can and should fun and be a source of great pride and joy. This is because most of the population of this planet has low or no expectations that you can do it successfully at all, much less to the skill level I will teach you. Follow these instructions and you will be a source of amazement and pride for your honey and your Mom. They will bragg on you for the rest of their lives if you do this right; and you will have some special time and start a bonding process with your child that will affect them the rest of their lives.
So the element in preparation is, readjust your alarm clock. From the day your seetie informs you of the joyus news, start immediate preparation for their first night home by setting your alarm for the next few months at 0230, 0400, 0530 (I use military time but if your not familiar with it it, just think AM). Randomly adjust these times in half hour or 45 minute interval shifts for the next six months. You need to understand guys, this is the most consistently requested shift for all fathers. Notice I did not say by fathers. Your honey is gonna be dealing with feedings, diaper changes, etc all day, When are you home? When are you available to “Do your Part?” So you want to be proficient at rising to the occasion with skill and proficiency from day one. Like any other athletic event it requires practice. Those of you in the military have a significant advantage over your civilian counterparts since you’re already used to it. If you demonstrate your willingness to take on the nocturnal duties, it will pay many dividends with your sweetie later, trust me. The additional benefit of this is that it develops a habit of clarity of thought that will pay you dividends 18 to 20 years from now when the phone rings and you have to go pick up your stranded daughter whose boyfriend got fresh, or a son that may not be in shape to drive home. This critical skill once established is one of those life skills that will bond you world wide with every father. Make no mistake, you can acquire this skill willingly or otherwise but if you are a father you will be up this time of day periodically for the rest of your life; get used to it.
Once you are up, before you do anything else it will be your first inclination to calm and soothe your child. After all their hunger cries are what woke you and it seems your purpose for waking is to make it stop. That is the furthest thing from the truth. You can more wisely spend your time by first starting the bottle warming process before you approach your child. You want both hands available to prepare the bottle warming apparatus and you do not want to take the chance of holding a squirming child near any heat source. Plus you’ll have the added benefit of the child having burned off a bit more energy and it will be even happier when you do show up and will calm down sooner. This is also an appropriate time to mention, take care of your personal hygiene matters before you start this process and wash your hands thoroughly.
Once you have the bottle warming, proceed to the Childs crib, if you are right handed approach the crib from the side that has the Childs head to your left. Take up a stance with your feet a bit less than shoulder width apart, knees only very slightly bent. Before you attempt to lift the Child speak some words of comfort to it. If it’s a boy speak in a soft but firm locker room tone and say “hey buddy what’s up?” This starts the process of male recognition without him having to hear his name to get comfortable, and sets the male bonding tone. If it’s a girl speak her name softly in the same sweet tone you used when you met her mother. This starts the process of her only going somewhere in the middle of the night with a male who knows her name and knows how to treat a lady. (This will allow you extra sleep when she’s in her teens.) With the fingers of your right hand extended and joined and your left hand fingers slightly spread, palms up. This is a time to check and change the diaper, but that’s another lesson. Once the diaper is changed, bend slightly at the waist and simultaneously slide your left hand under the base of the neck, using your palm, thumb, and index finger to provide support for its head, with the rest of your palm and fingers supporting it’s back between the shoulder blades. Next, slide your right hand at a forty five degree angle under its right hip to support its lower back and hips. Important note: do not attempt to “basketball palm” the child and lift it from the head or the top side! Once your hands are secure under the child, lift it to your chest and slowly adjust its position into the crook of your left arm by placing the child on your chest and sliding your left hand down to its buttocks being careful to ensure head and neck support as you do. Always maintain support for the back and neck of the child.
Now, with your child comfortably in your arms, walk with your child to the feeding area and reversing the process above, place the child in the bassinet. The feeding area should be a place you can comfortably sit with your child in your arms while the feeding process takes place. A low light lamp and table should be next to the chair, for me it was a well padded rocking chair; but a rocking Lazy-Boy will work as well, (This is your excuse to justify its purchase so use it or lose it.) Now that your hands are free, return to the kitchen and check the temperature of the formula. Pay close attention this is important you check the temperature by squeezing or shaking a bit of the formula on the inside or underside of your forearm. This side of your arm is more temperature sensitive than the topside. The temperature should be close to 98.6 degrees, so when you sprinkle it on your arm it should be only just a little warmer than skin temperature. Remember, your feeding a baby and coffee temperature drinks will do damage to their developing digestive system. If you are going to error do it to the cool side not the hot. Again practice makes perfect. Start practicing this several weeks in advance of the delivery of your child. Make sure you get it right from the start and if you are already practicing getting up it will give you something to do.
Finally the formula is ready and it’s your chance to really shine. Return to the feeding area set the bottle down and using the same procedure outlined above retrieve your child from the bassinet and take your place in the chair. Once you’ve got the bottle to mouth it’s lullaby time. Rocking back and forth and low humming seems to work best at night. Plan this in advance and memorize at least the tune if not the words as well, or make up your own. On Sunday mornings I had a special one that my boys used to really enjoy; it’s sung to the tune of “What do you do with a drunken Sailor”
What do you do with a hungry baby?
What do you do with a hungry baby?
What do you do with a hungry baby Early in the Morning?
Put a bottle in his gob and burp him later
Bottle in his gob and burp him later
Bottle in his gob and burp him later
Early in the morning!!
The drunken sailor song is an old folk tune so you may have a hard time finding it in MP3 but your Mom or Grandmum would probably still know the tune as it was common knowledge for kids in the 50’s. I used it on Sunday mornings when I was giving my sweetie a sleep in, and I could sing it out proud to my boys. Either way, the lullaby reinforces the father/child bond and the quiet one in the middle of the night gives them great comfort through the vibrations; thus returning them to sleep sooner rather than later.
So now you’ve completed the feeding and child is happy right? Wrong. Your child at least for the first few months will need to be burped. Remember you have to do everything for your child. So carefully shifting your hands back to the primary support and lifting position, raise it’s head above your left shoulder, rotating the child vertically with their chest against your left chest your left arm crooked under their buttocks and your right hand gently but firmly holding their back and ready to support head and neck if necessary. Continuing to hum/sing softly gently pat or rub the Childs back until the burp is released. You may want to have a kitchen towel draped over your shoulder prior to placing it in the burp position. For the first few weeks a bit of formula may come back up. Not to worry if it does just wipe away and keep humming. If it comes out in what is termed as projectile vomiting, (large amount in a solid stream) Then it’s time to be concerned. That’s cause for a trip to the Doc ASAP. If it’s just a bit of cottage cheese stuff at the lips that’s fairly normal but if it’s every time you might want to mention it on follow up visits to the Doc. If you are ever in doubt about your Childs health see the DOC. Remember, I’m not a Doctor just a father, I can not in this or any other forum give you medical advice. You will come to know what needs a bit of extra care at home and what needs a Doctors attention, trust your instincts but if you are in doubt see the Doc.
Once the burping is done, your child should be nearly asleep. Return the child to it’s crib using the aforementioned disengagement technique. Lay the child on back in the crib and gently cover it to it’s shoulder. Total elapsed time should be 30-45 mins. Make sure the lights and stove are turned off and return to the comfort of your bed. Not so hard was it?
I can’t emphasize enough the need for practice. Practice develops confidence; an infant can and will sense your fear and call you out on it by relentless crying. I learned all this at the tender age of 6 by helping out with my younger brother through trial and error. He’s a bit strange now but harmless. You can achieve a better result by practicing this with the following training aid. To make this training aid you’ll need the following materials:
1 ea infant sleeper with footsies attached.
1 ea small ziplock bag
1 ea large ziplock bag
1ea Water balloon Filled to a size that is half again as big as your hand
Approximately 3 dz golf balls
2 ea rubber bands
1 roll of duct tape
To make your training aid fill the Sleeper to about the level of its waist with Golf balls
Put the egg in the small ziplock bag and place inside the center of the suit on top of the first layer of balls, tie off the cuffs of the arms with the rubber bands and carefully fill the rest of the suit with golf balls till its full. Tape off the neck hole with the duct tape. Place the water balloon in the large ziplock bag and laying the full infant suit on its back, tape the bag with the balloon inside to the shoulders of the suit with one strip of tape on each side horizontal from shoulder to shoulder. This will simulate the muscular development of an infant’s neck, which is to say none. Once assembled practice for several days preferably at the time you’ve set your alarm, now that you are preparing to be a dad. If you break either the balloon or the egg you need to adjust your pressure. Check at the end of the first week by disassembling the suit and checking the bag inside. Once you can go two weeks with out breaking either the balloon or the egg you are ready for a confidence builder, do it with out the ziplock bag around the egg inside. Two weeks of success with that and you are ready to handle babies.
Remember you’re a father now, a Dad, and a major part of your job is to transfer the confidence your child needs to face the world, this is a critical first step. Congratulations happy Fathers Day: it’s the third Sunday in June you know.
Breast Feeding: This methodology is the same whether you use formula or breast milk. You can collect breast milk in advance and freeze it or store it in the fridge see the recommended reading below. If you together decide breast is best this opens up a whole additional area you can become a subject matter expert on (SME). Plus you get the added benefit of assisting your sweetie in the collection process. Ah the pump! What a great gadget! We used to call ours the Titty Tornado Milk Extraction Device (TTMED). They make all sorts of them both electric and manual. Plus there are many fun aspects to its use that is limited only by your imagination as a couple!! ‘Nuff said. Read the books and check the manual that comes with it.
Finally, there is nothing more complicated, yet so fundamental as bringing a child into the world. Children need your love, tenderness, direction, guidance, rules, discipline and forgiveness. No matter how old either of you get, you will always be their father and they your son or daughter. May God Bless you all.
When the Baby's Sleeping Again Give Yourself a Treat!!