Making it an Adventure Article

Raising a Road Warrior










With babies, there is always a reason to be stuck at home. "Don't interrupt the baby's schedule . . . It might rain . . ." Just loading all the stuff your baby might need into the car can be a chore.

Few fathers have the confidence to take their babies out on their own in the first six months. As a result, most new families end up cooped up at home, isolated from their former lives and friends and often getting on each other's nerves.

You Need to Get Out
Clearly, getting out of the house is in order. If you go out on your own, leaving mom stuck at home with the baby, you are tagged a laggard. Take your baby with you, and you are a fine example of the male species.

Start by taking him along on an errand, like a run to the hardware store. Not only will you quickly get used to taking care of him on the road, you will find yourself using him as an excuse to get out of the house.

Turn Your Buddies into Uncles
After being tied up at home in the months before and after the birth, your friends get the idea that you are out of circulation and joining them to watch a game, or to just hang out, is no longer an option. Jump back in by showing up with junior.

After a few times asking, "can you hold her for a minute," they'll be reaching for her all the time. Show them how to feed her with the bottle, rock her to sleep, and of course how to do the tricks you have taught her.

If she learns to stick out her tongue when they do, they will be calling you up to ask if you can bring her over to play.

Trust me on this: After 15 years of having guys work together to take care of babies in Boot Camp, it is clear that most men are fascinated by babies and will readily pitch in to help you out.

After growing up with the message that babies were essentially off limits to men, the guys are amazed by what they have been missing.

What to Bring
While you want to be careful in the first six weeks when their immune systems are just cranking up, there is no reason to keep a healthy baby at home.

Make sure the diaper bag is fully stocked for an outing that will last more than several hours; if all day, add a daypack with extra diapers, undershirts, footed pajamas, an extra blanket, bottles and a few of his favorite toys. Include a plastic bag for disposing of diapers.

If the temperature is over 75o, a diaper and t-shirt underneath a pair of footed pajamas is usually good enough. If it's breezy, add a light jacket and a hat to keep the sun off his face and his head warm. Add layers as the temperature gets lower.

Sleeping Schedule
It's a good idea to stick close to your baby's sleeping schedule, but it won't hurt if you deviate a little. Some babies are distracted from sleeping by the new sounds and excitement around them and putting them down can be a real challenge.

Try replicating his normal sleeping environment, or wrap him up in a familiar blanket from his crib and hold him so he gets warm and falls asleep.

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