Recently, my wife and I welcomed our third child—our third daughter—into our home and lives. She is a joy and a major blessing; also, she smells great and has great hair.
But there are a few things we conveniently chose to forget from the previous experience. Newborns cry, eat, and sleep A LOT—but they never sleep when you want them to. Also, they love to be held. Spend an hour feeding them and rocking them to sleep, and when you place them into that brand new and expensive bassinet or bouncer, they will promptly wake up and cry. And then you have to feed them all over again.
That’s why no bassinets, cribs, rockers, and bouncers will appear on the DaddyProofed list of must-have items for dads with newborns. Anything that has to do with feeding the baby also didn’t make the list, in part because 77% of mothers in the US are choosing to breastfeed, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card. So there’s not much for a dad to do in that regard.
Here are the five products that every dad with a newborn should own:
- The swagga wagon, aka the minivan. Maybe, just maybe, your SUV looks “cooler” than my minivan. But my minivan has a bunch of features your SUV doesn’t have. Like random storage compartments for all the random baby essentials. And sliding doors for easy access to baby car seats. And much more. DaddyProofed Recommendations: The Toyota Sienna (retail price: $26 920+; the original “swagger wagon”), which now comes with an 8th seat that is snuggled between the two second-row captain seats; the Tesla Model X (coming in 2015 and expected to cost at least $60K, before tax incentives), whose “falcon wings” supposedly allow “step-in” access to the second and third rows…and oh yeah, it’s 100% electric (Note to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk: let me and my brood test-drive this puppy!); and the Honda Odyssey (retail price: $28 825+), which now comes with a built-in vacuum cleaner, mostly likely added by a brilliant engineer who is also a mom or dad.
- A diaper bag for dudes. Diaper bags are essential. But lugging around the one your wife bought to go with her favorite outfit is just not cool. Plus, most men aren’t used to toting tote bags. DaddyProofed Recommendation: Because free hands are a valuable commodity when dealing with newborns, go with the Diaper Dude Convertible Messenger/Backpack (retail price: $109.99; see video here of the bag in action), which is designed by men who get it.
- The jogging stroller/car seat combo. Once upon a time, people bought strollers and baby car seats separately. Now they come in pairs. Not only that, the once-coveted jogging stroller has joined the bundling craze. So now we dads have no excuse to exercise while taking the crying newborn for a spin around the block and down the trail. DaddyProofed Recommendation: The Baby Trend Expedition XL Travel System (retail price: $209.99) is relatively affordable and still has all the cutting-edge features of more expensive models.
- The “Kangaroo Pouch” baby carrier. As mentioned earlier, kids don’t like to be put down. However, that preference is bad for your productivity…and your back! And for most men, baby carriers may seem even less appealing than driving around a minivan, but they’re just as important. DaddyProofed Recommendation: The Jeep 2-in-1 Sport Baby Carrier (retail price: $39.99), which provides has an indicator to let you know the baby is secure. Also, it looks tough.
- The diaper-dandy trash bin. With a newborn, your role as CTO, Chief Trash-collecting Officer, becomes all the more critical. In the case of an offending newborn diaper, it’s best to confine the waste product to its own special trash bin that can contain the mess. Check out this smell test by the guys at Dad Labs. DaddyProofed Recommendations: The Diaper Genie Elite (retail price: $39.99; the Diaper Genie brand is the Xerox and Google of diaper trash bins), which locks the odor in with absorbent carbon and can hold up to 270 diapers, and the Diaper Dekor Plus Disposal System (retail price: $44.95), which allows you lock the lid so the curious older siblings are denied access. The Diaper Dekor Plus claims it can hold up to 580 newborn diapers. Since I own one, I’m tempted to test it out…but I don’t think my newborn will be THAT productive!
Which of these products do you own, and what other products would you recommend to parents with newborns?