Lessons I’ve learned on becoming a new parent:
Besides Cindy, my child and son Seneca is whom I love and care for the most. in fact, after having baby Seneca, I feel that my life has become 1000 times more important and better. Contrary to popular millennial thinking, having a kid does not cramp your lifestyle, rather, it changes and advances it.
These are just my personal notes to self, in terms of certain lessons I’ve learned on my first year being a new parent:
- The first year of reason your kid is like trench warfare: at least in the first year of the child, get rid of notions of productivity. To just be able to make it through every day is in itself a success.
- When Seneca was very young, the baby Bjorn baby carrier was a godsend. It allowed me to go on lots of walks with Seneca, and also free up my arms to do other things. When he got bigger and heavier, changing over to the ergo baby carrier was good. I don’t really like taking him around in his stroller, because it restricts my movement. I rather prefer using the baby carrier, or just holding him in my hands or my arms.
- One-handed lifestyle: having a kid you’re going to do a lot of things one-handed. Therefore, try to optimize your home and you’re living in your devices for one-handed use. For example, I almost never use my laptop anymore, I mostly use my iPhone for blogging writing and working on the go. I’ve actually become much more mobile with Seneca. Therefore, if you’re a new parent or going to become new parent, just get or use an iPhone mini, rather than any other iPhone. Also, create passwords and workflows on your computer that can be done one-handed.
- If you have the ability, either live with your parents, or import your parents to live with you. The ultimate life hack when you have a new kid is having a grandma, or two grandma‘s on hand. For example, the practical wisdom that I’ve got from Cindy‘s mom and my mom is worth 1 trillion times more than any answer on Google. Even the early days of baby Seneca, to see Cindy‘s mom bathe Seneca in the sink with utmost confidence give me the personal confidence to also bathe him.
- The huge benefit is that literally almost all the baby stuff you got was for free, from Cindy‘s ingenuity on Facebook “buy nothing” groups, or just through hand me downs from friends and family members. My advice is get as much free stuff as humanly possible, including baby clothes. Because kids grow so quickly and grow out of things everything so quickly, it doesn’t really make sense to buy anything brand new.
- Surprisingly something that was very very useful, that we were fortunately able to get for free was the “Uppababy” car seat and stroller. To be able to quickly transfer him from the car seat to the stroller made life 1 trillion times easier. I would suggest if you end up having a kid, get either a secondhand Uppa baby car seat and stroller set, or maybe buy it used somewhere.
- Don’t wear jeans or clothes that require a belt. Being able to use the bathroom quickly and efficiently, sometimes one-handed is a good thing with the baby. My personal outfit is Uniqlo heattech leggings, paired with Uniqlo ultra stretchy workout shorts. It makes it very easy to take my pants on and off, quickly, and efficiently, which is very useful when you have a kid.
- Strive to optimize your wardrobe, even having shoes that quickly slip on and off, which for me are the Nike free sneakers.
- For me, reading books on pregnancy and childbirth was very interesting, and also hiring a Doula was a godsend. But beyond this, I don’t really believe in reading books about child rearing, better to follow your own personal philosophy and instinct.
- Sleep train your child as humanly early as possible. The kid will be fine. The easiest way is to just let the kid cry it out, which is called the “extinction method.”
- Don’t buy a baby crib, instead, have them sleep in a travel crib. Our friend Rachel gave us her guava baby travel baby crib, which is great because it is the most simple and minimalist approach to having a baby bed. Also we could travel with it, so when we’re traveling or on the road or somewhere else, he always has the same bed.
- Also, I made it a Personal challenge to potty train Seneca as quickly as humanly possible. This was a very good thing. Also a huge sense of pride for me. The way I was able to do it was whenever he gave any cues that he needed to go poop, which included squinting his eyes, farting, or suddenly stop playing and stiffening up, I would immediately run to his baby potty, takeoff his diaper, and see whether he would go or not.
- Do not buy cheap Amazon diapers. Buy the more expensive pampers brand. Why? It will avoid any possible leaks, or “poopsplosions”.
- Take the kid on hikes as soon as humanly possible. Good exercise for the parents, and a good way to put the baby to sleep.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is the best tip I’ve learned from another parent. When Seneca is napping, or sleeping, avoid the temptation to do work or be “productive“. Rather, put in earplugs, on a mask, and try to sleep as much as possible.
- Ironically enough, I’ve learned to decrease my coffee and caffeine intake. Drink a lot of coffee the moment you wake up, and up abstain for the rest of the day.
- To me, I only considered Seneca a newborn baby from zero months to three months, from three months to six months I consider him a baby, but six months onward I considered him as a little kid. I like this, because it means that I will not baby him.