Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: nappies

What’s in my man bag?

One evening just before Rupert was born the Lady of the Manor announced that she had found our new nappy bag, which confused me a little. Given that we had children already we of course also had collected at least 4 nappy bags that were gradually gathering dust in a cupboard some where. But apparently a new baby means a new nappy bag no matter what, clearly I missed the bit of the baby book that covered the maths of having a baby. I believe the formula is b ≥ C + 2, where b is the number of bags and C is the number of children. Another useful formula to remember is the one for the number of hours sleep you’ll get a night which I believe is  8 – (C x 2). With 3 children at home I’d say that was about right.

The net result of this is that we now have a lovely new nappy bag with the Lady of the Manor clinching the deal by telling me that it was blue and therefore suitable for me to take out too. To give her some credit it is actually very nice and one I don’t mind taking out which can’t be said for many of them. It’s a Babymule Pegasus and so far has been very good, easy to use and big enough to take all the things we need with 3 children.

BabyMule Pegasus

Which is a good thing because it stops me ending up with wet wipes or half chewed bread sticks in my only real man bag which is the one I use for work. In fact the contents of my work bag don’t look a whole lot different to when I did this post 3 years ago. I have a newer phone and thankfully a better laptop but that’s about it, I don’t really want to turn up to a customer meeting and have a nappy fall out of my bag do I?

But Marks and Spencer have asked me to share an insight into the essential baby items in my bag to celebrate the launch of the new dedicated baby section of their website, so here’s what we stuff into our Pegasus each time. Having 3 children at very different stages of potty training means you need to carry lots of different things. Nappies and wipes for Rupert, multiple changes of clothes for a recently potty trained Henry and then spare clothes for an accident prone Matilda. Plus drinks, most likely some Calpol, a couple of toys and also a bottle of water for us.

Zip locked baby clothes

The other absolute essential is food, we’ve learnt the hard way that if you want Matilda to be happy on a walk or trip out you need to hand her something to eat as she gets out of the car. She could have eaten a huge breakfast just before we left home and would still be miserable until she gets some more food in her. Ham sandwiches seem to go down well as does a banana, although if she had a choice she would of course pick chocolate or cake, she has such a sweet tooth (just like me).

I’ve created a Pinterest board with the items any nappy bag should contain including a few of my favourites from the M&S Baby range. Would love to know what you think and what the essentials in your bag are.

Follow Ben’s board What’s in your man bag? on Pinterest.

5 skills all new dads need to perfect

As I sit here potentially hours away from meeting the 3rd in line to my empire (a house with a big mortgage, an old Toyota Yaris and a years supply of running clothes) I thought it would be a good moment to share some advice to new dads. As a veteran dad and parenting expert (i.e. I have 2 children) I think I’m perfectly placed to share some words of wisdom.

I thought I’d start with the top 5 skills all new dads need to perfect, essential skills that will see you through those first chaotic months as a new parent and establish you as the alpha male in your NCT group. Knowledge is power people.

  1. How to sniff a nappy – Changing a small babies nappy is never an easy task, same goes for undoing the poppers on a baby grow so you really want to minimize the number of times you do it. The answer is to develop your sense of smell so that with one short sniff you can identify exactly what is in the nappy. As your skills develop you’ll also be able to tell the difference between gas and a true dirty nappy.
  2. Monitoring and describing poo – A direct link to the above, it’s amazing how quickly as a new parent 80% of your conversations revolve around bowel movements. You become obsessed with the colour, size, consistency and frequency and are perfectly happy to discuss those details with your partner while eating your dinner. Being able to accurately describe the contents of all your child’s nappies for a given period is an essential skill for any dad and also allows you to play true top trumps with your fellow new parents and see who was had the worst poo related incident.
  3. Terminology – We all know that knowing the lingo is an important skill in any situation, in the parenting world you can convince people of your parenting prowess by throwing in buzz words such as ‘attachment parenting’ and ‘self regulation’ casually to conversations. At a more basic level it’s also important to know that it is a muslin and not a Muslim as the lady of the manor often calls them. No one wants to shout across Mothercare ‘honey do we want a white or coloured Muslim do they?
  4. How to not hear baby cries at night – I think dads have evolved to have selective hearing at night, at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. But dads there is a very important skill here, you need to be awake enough to offer to go to the baby crying but not too awake that you offer before you partner is getting out of bed already. Don’t forget it’s important for us dads to get our beauty sleep, after all we are the hunter gatherers of the family, the ones who provide right?
  5. Efficient burping technique – Being able to extract that awkward trapped wind that has made your baby wriggle, moan and cry for the last hour is a true super hero skill. It requires more than brunt force, there needs to be technique and precision. A careful balance of gently bouncing around while aiming the pats are the precise spot of the back to have the maximum effect. Not too hard that it could hurt your baby but hard enough to encourage that burp up to their mouth. Advanced skills involve combining the bouncing/patting with some leg bends while they lie on their backs.

Did I miss any? What skills do you think every new dad needs to learn?