The few weeks prior to the birth of my daughter, I thought I knew everything I needed to know. Sooner than later, I learned that I was completely wrong! There's nothing wrong with being surprised or not knowing how to fully take hold of a situation, it is all a learning process. Being a young parent of a beautiful one year old now, I can attest that I've learned quite a few things that could only be learned through experience, so I want to share with you some of the things I've learned to date!

From sleepless nights to the tantrums in public, the situations are all different from one child to another. So this can be frustrating, especially the first year as a parent. There will be a lot of firsts, but no matter how well you prepared, there is nothing like getting down and working through them first hand. Here are the 10 things I've learned through my first year of Fatherhood.

Camila and I at the Sugar & Cloth Color Wall

10 Things I've Learned Through My First Year Of Fatherhood

1. There is no such thing as a sleeping pattern

This is first on the list because it is probably one of the bigger changes you will experience. Coming from a person that sleeps heavy and loves to sleep, this was extremely hard. I was aware of the changes to come but nothing could have prepared me for the nights I stood rocking our baby to sleep, hours at a time. Babies don't have a real sleeping pattern throughout their first months, and you could be waking up at any hour of the night. 

2. Understanding what their cries mean

Understanding what a baby's cry means can take a while to catch on to but is a big indicator of what is happening and how they are feeling. My wife caught on tho these faster than I did, but I didn't want to feel left out so this also brought me to spend more time with her when I was home. Some cries are for when she's sleepy, other's when she's hungry, and some for when she just wants to get carried. Don't worry if this takes longer than anticipated, every baby is different and some have the same cry for everything.

3. Feeding times and portions

I can still remember the first days after the birth of my daughter when she would drink no more than an ounce or two. Soon that became a bottle of 8 ounces, and then an 11-ounce bottle. We are now off the bottle and eating solid foods and whole milk. The time in which this happens is in about a year but again, varies from child to child. The first months she would consume very frequently and small portions. Then she was consuming more quantities but with longer periods of time in between feedings. Soon enough we were able to see a feeding pattern and can now expect when she's approaching her feeding time. 


4. Poop comes in an array of colors and smells

Oh yes! There will be times where you will be in for a surprise, and sometimes the color will change from one poop to another. Breast milk, formula, snacks, solid foods all affect the outcome.Colors will be different and all over the place, if you see something unusual, make sure you consult with your pediatrician. Some doctors even give you a chart with poop colors marked as safe and unsual As a new parent this was probably the only thing I disliked doing which leads me to the next point.

5. You will become an expert at diaper changing

This is true. You're lucky if your baby stays still, but in other cases, we have to be quick. Being an avid diaper changer not only gets the job done quickly but that also means less time dealing with the poop smell. I don't know of a single person that likes that, and I hope there isn't! There have been times were we have had to change a diaper while the baby was asleep. Soon you'll be able to change a diaper anywhere and in no time!

Our baby girl has turned 1

6. Packing the diaper bag

This is major! lol Seriously, You will want to have everything you need readily available for any occasion. There have been a couple of occasions where we either forget diapers or sometimes the baby wipes. You can only imagine how frustrating that could have been haha. A few of our must-have at all time items are; bottle, sippy cup, spare bottle, diapers, baby wipes, bibs, pacifiers, toys, extra clothes, and diaper rash cream.

7. Others will assume you don't know what you're doing

This one is unfortunate but very true, and happens more often than you'd think. We are in a time where parenting is done together by both parents and dads are a lot more involved than previous generations. Sometimes you will see a woman look at you with pity and you can almost feel them feel sorry for you. Seriously, I stand for modern fatherhood, and that means that I can be everything my daughter needs me to be and I can be a dad. It may be your first time out alone with the baby, or maybe the baby gets hungry and you're hurrying to get the snacks out while you get some food, people will always give you a look, even if you're doing the best as a father. In the end you know what's best and nobody else will take care of your child the way you do.

8. Car seats become less of a hassle over time

I'm sure there are more parents out there that have a thing against car seats; especially when the babies are being fuzzy. First, you start by trying to get the car seat in the car and locked down, and the first times may take a while. Then, the babies were to go in the seat and buckled in. Now that our daughter is 1, we can easily put her in the car seat but take longer buckling her in. You grow through parenting and changing car seats from one car to another and buckling down the kids has never been easier. 

9. Making plans usually become an all-day ordeal

There may be some of you that just read that and laughed a little. Why? Planning a family day out, a trip to the mall, or maybe a date with your significant other, just became one of the hardest things to coordinate. Especially when it involves other people. There will be times that you'll be scrambling through your contacts in search of a baby sitter, and just maybe find none. Sometimes you will have to make a few trips to the store to get items you will need on a trip, or a day out with the family. Coordinating with others is a hassle, especially when But don't worry, it all gets better over time. I'm sure over time I could become a great event planner!

Camila's first birhday

10. You learn to love more than you thought was possible

This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest things about fatherhood, and parenting in general. You come to love your children on a whole different level. Over time, you have a greater sense of what fatherhood is not only to you, but to the loved ones around you. Our children can feel the energy we give off and this can affect them early in their life. Every day I see my daughter I feel joy come over me and I remember that she looks up to me and knows I'm her dad. She knows I will be there to protect her and care for her, and there to pick her up when she falls. Out of all things on this list, this one is the one that changes you forever. The months before the birth of my daughter I was told, quite a few times, having a child will change you forever, and this came out to be very true. I wouldn't want it to be any other way.

Camila with he bluebonnets

Fatherhood is an amazing journey and this first year has taught me a lot of things about babies, as well as myself. I've made it through my first year and can't wait to see what the next has in store! My daughter can now walk, has started to "talk", and has more than a few teeth to deal with and I'm the one that will be chasing her down and all over the house. For all the dads and dads-to-be out there, always know that you will never stop learning from them and they can bring out the best of you. Embrace life for the great things it has to offer and the beautiful moments it brings. 

What are some things you learned or are expecting as a dad?

- Jeff