Your home is stocked with the necessities — baby furniture, baby food, baby clothes, baby toys… You get the picture. What you may not know, however, is that there are other, less tangible essentials that every dad needs to effectively care for a baby. Are you prepared?
Essential #1: A strong constitution
Admit it. Potty jokes are a great source of humor for you and your friends. Talking about poop, pee, farts, vomit and other bodily fluids and functions can take up a great deal of your leisure time.
So why is it that you can handle the nastiness of your burly buddies but you gag at the smell of a dirty diaper? Here's the deal: Your baby is going to do things that absolutely turn your stomach. Man up — anything that comes out of you is far more offensive.
Essential #2: A big dose of humility
You're an adult with a reasonable amount of pride and self-respect, right? Too bad. You can't take yourself seriously when you're spending all of your time with a little one.
Have you ever recorded yourself singing those silly baby songs or observed yourself in the mirror making goofy googly eyes? Apparently not, because you’re still doing it. That's okay — babies find it entertaining when dads are humble.
Essential #3: Plenty of dexterity
Whether you're the best-dressed man about town or that guy who never zips his fly, you're unprepared for the challenges baby clothes present.
Baby apparel should be comfortable for the child and easily accessible for diaper changes. It's safe to say that the wonderful designers of your baby's adorable wardrobe did not once take into consideration your big clumsy fingers.
Tiny snaps should be snapped and little zippers fully zipped. And for babies, diapers count as apparel, too. Dressing your baby properly is not easy — especially if your baby is fussy or squirmy — but it is critical that you do it correctly.
Diapers should fit snugly, but should not be too tight. If you can figure out the fine line that separates the two, then you're already a pro.
Essential #4: 25 hours a day
What does it mean to spend "quality time" with a baby? Isn't it enough that you're already spending virtually every moment of the day and night tending to your child's needs? Nope! That would make parenting entirely too easy.
Beyond feeding, burping, soothing, changing, bathing and putting your baby to sleep, there's that elusive quality-time component you hear so much about. We're pretty sure that at this very young age, it serves no purpose other than to make you feel guilty for not doing it — whatever it is.
Get more helpful dad advice
How to rock a baby sling like a man
Dad's guide to diapering
Dad's handbook to common kid disasters