Scott Hanselman

Zero to Three Month Baby Ultimate Tools List

January 12, '06 Comments [12] Posted in Africa | Bugs | Parenting | Tools | Z
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HappyZ1Z is 6 weeks old now, heading towards seven. He's certainly a much more interesting person now and getting more interesting every day.

Folks who think they know me ask questions like, "Does he have a blog? Did you register ComputerZ.net? Where's his pocket-protector? Is his GPS-enabled?" I'm actually a little more pragmatic than my friends may think. I want Z to be much more than the sum of his parents. I want him to make mud pies and put bugs in jars and hike. If he wants to code, great. Hopefully he'll spend him life not in front of a screen. This means I will be a more outdoorsy person (like my dad) so that he might find more balance in his life than I have found (so far) in mine. I want him to be comfortable in Portland, New York or Bulawayo. I want him to be a flexible and competent citizen of the world. I hope I have the tools to turn him into a interesting, non-neurotic individual.

Many of you have mentioned that you've either just had a child or are expecting. Many others with kid experience kindly offered me advice. Some I took, some I discarded. Here's some tools (and books and techniques and what-not) that we've found useful in this, the "fourth trimester" (While he's 0-3 months.)

Books

Equipment

  • BabyBjorn - This was recommended by many and while its a little spendy, it's worth it. It's expandable and will grow with him. I carry him around the house happily and he tends to sleep right on my chest after a few minutes of walking.
  • Nojo Baby Sling - More flexible and soft than the BabyBjorn, this carrier lets you hold the baby in about six different positions and also allows Mom to breast-feed while he's in the sling.
  • Sony Baby Monitor - I tried and took back a number of Baby Monitors and this one was the cheapest and had the best sound quality. The receiver is also rechargable and waterproof.
  • Diaper Genie - Makes poo disappear. Yay!
  • Graco Travel System - This combination car seat, car seat mount (LATCH), and stroller (pram) is a winner. Complex to initially assemble, but a snap to use. Wife Acceptance Factor is high and it will grow with him.
  • Boudreaux's Butt Paste - Great stuff, helps his tushy not be red. He hasn't had diaper rash yet.
  • Bouncer - I knew I'd forgotten one. JasonF reminded me about the bouncy seat. Z digs it very much. However, I'm thinking the swing, while huge, might be better.
  • AVENT ISIS iQ Duo - This is a great breast pump. We did have a blown power supply early on, but their support was great. What's really significant about this pump is that is has only one button. You pump "manually" like a standard manually pump and it records and watches your rhythm. When you find a rhythm you like, you just press the one button and it continues automatically what you did manually. Amazing. It's the iPod of Breast Pumps, if there can be such a thing.

Other Tips

  • Boobs - It's good to have at least two of these. Man-boobs don't count. We're fortunate enough that breast-feeding is going well and I think Z will be better for it.
  • Patience - Sometimes he just needs to cry to release stress. If he's fed, he's dry, he's healthy, he's slept, maybe he's just releasing stress.
  • Routine - We figured this out early. Around 8pm we start the house winding down. We turn down the lights, turn on some music and I give Z a bath. We feed him and put him down. He's 6 weeks old and will sleep from 9 to almost 1am. He feeds then, and will sleep until 4 or 5. Feed again and he's down until 9-10am. For us, this equals success. Folks always ask if your baby sleeps through the night. As far as I'm concerned we've got that now, it's just that the night is 4 hours long. :) I don't expect him to sleep for 6 hours straight for a few months.
  • Multilingual - Mo is already chatting with Z in Ndebele (Zimbabwe's Zulu dialect) and I'm hoping to include Spanish as well when it's time. Check out Milind's FAQ on raising polyglots.
  • Swaddling - When he was in the womb he was swaddled 24 hours a day. If we swaddle him 6-10 hours a day, he's very comfortable and sleeps much better. We swaddle him while he sleeps and he is less likely to wake himself up by bonking his own head.
  • Tummy Time - We let him chill and move around on his tummy for a a while every day, the intent being to avoid having him on his back too long and to build neck muscles. Seems to be working, he's starting to hold his own (giant) head up.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled technical blog.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006 11:07:21 PM UTC
Yes, he did it again, a ultimate tool list to bookmark.
Thanks Scott, thanks for this reference, check and doublecheck ;)
Thursday, January 12, 2006 11:14:05 PM UTC
Scott:

We could not have done without this book:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1889392146/103-1545741-2093456?v=glance&n=283155
Dave Purrington
Thursday, January 12, 2006 11:54:49 PM UTC
I still like the advice of get on a routine and schedule, and keep is the same everyday. Once you get them 'trained' on the schedule, it makes everyone's lives better. Someone told us this early on, and we followed this as closely as possible.

Sounds things are good.
John Batdorf
Friday, January 13, 2006 12:02:20 AM UTC
Keep that Boudreaux's Butt Paste around even into the toddler era. Teething babies get diaper rashes, and that is the best stuff around for making it go away!

I'll have to disagree about the Diaper Genie. In its place, I would recommend visiting a dollar store and picking up a box of 100 Mother's Care Diaper Disposal Bags (for $1). Great price, keeps the smell in, and you can just dispose in your regular trash (no waiting days/weeks for the Genie to fill up before emptying it).

And, I don't see a bouncy-seat on your list. Indespensible item. Nothing fancy/expensive is necessary, but vibration generating device is essential.
Friday, January 13, 2006 12:02:23 AM UTC
Good luck and congratulations!

Happiest Baby on the Block worked great with our first child, but the 2nd one never took to swaddling. Of course, he was mellow and went to sleep really easy, but it does go to show that every kid is different, and anyone who tells you other is selling something baby related.

Didn't really like the "What to expect..." series. Don't know why, just seemed to be all about the idea that there's only one way do things, which I highly disagree with.

Finally, for a stroller, this thing is amazing:

https://secure.intellihost.co.nz/philandteds.com/framesetstroller.htm

It's not critical with one baby, but once you have 2 kids, it's the only double stroller you should even consider (regardless of it's somewhat shocking cost). Every other double stroller is huge or drives like a tank. This one isn't much bigger than a regular stroller, is really heavy duty, and steers really nicely (even in crowded shopping malls at Christmas). My wife and I feel like we should get some kind of referral fee, because everyone always asks about it and we talk it up...sadly, no deal yet. :-)
Friday, January 13, 2006 12:10:34 AM UTC
A book that I found very helpful was The New Father[1]. It helps with a lot of the practical stuff and gives you tips on what your wife is going through.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0789208156/qid=1137110869/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-4518205-4457513?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
Friday, January 13, 2006 1:31:43 AM UTC
Dr. Karp is a very appreciated man in my house as well, with a one year old running (well, almost running) around now. Shooshing was my specialty.
Friday, January 13, 2006 2:22:30 AM UTC
I have to say Scott, that you make me sick. Let's see: The Ultimate dad, full-time job ( which somehow I doubt is limited to 40hrs/wk), you have time to figure out how to use all the latest gadgets, you have time to find out about all the coolest pieces of software, you write a detailed blog on an almost daily basis (complete with a bazillion links, you now have a weekly podcast, you present at several conferences/events every year, you work on maintaining and improving DasBlog, and you have time to play games like Call of Duty 2. Admit it: you secretly mastered cloning while the South Koreans were just figuring out how to fake it, and now there are 3 Scott's running around.
Joe Brinkman
Friday, January 13, 2006 4:47:27 AM UTC
Sounds like things are going well. Another great book is "Taking care of your Child: A Parent's guide to Complete Medical Care" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738206016/qid=1137127163/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-4823342-3941420?n=507846&s=books&v=glance. This book was given to me and it is truely great. It has quick step by step guides that help you figure out whether or not to call the Dr. etc. Very helpful.

Oh... our first child to the whole schedule thing very well. And was sleeping for 12 hours by 8 weeks. We did the whole "Babywise" thing (another good book) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971453209/qid=1137127361/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-4823342-3941420?s=books&v=glance&n=283155. However, our second child won't have any of it. Once you think you've got him on a schedule, he changes. Every child is completely different!
Dan
Friday, January 13, 2006 12:34:05 PM UTC
My advice to you would be to start signing now. It takes you while to get in the habit of signing.
Eric
Friday, January 13, 2006 8:22:56 PM UTC
Scott,

Great list! My son was born about 24 hours after yours--and our lists of Tools are amazingly similar! Congratulations!
Jim Moore
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:05:18 PM UTC
I definately agree with John's comment about getting on a set schedule. A friend reccomended this book to us http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971453209/002-1614025-9279259. All 3 of our kids have slept through the night starting at about 2 months old.
Rob
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.