Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad's Guide to Surviving the First Two Years

Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad's Guide to Surviving the First Two Years

by Chris Pegula, Frank Meyer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143110262
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/09/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 276,724
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Chris Pegula, actor-turned-father-turned-designer, is the creator of Diaper Dude, America’s most high-profile line of hip gear for cool dads. After the birth of the first of his three children, Pegula noticed that most diaper bags and accessories were designed with women’s sense of style in mind and created the Diaper Dude for dads. In addressing a simple need, Pegula revolutionized an industry. He has since has been featured on Rachael Ray, Ellen, The Nate Berkus Show, E! News, HGTV’s Gotta Have It!, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and numerous other TV and radio spots. Since the launch of Diaper Dude, Chris has emerged as a lifestyle expert on all things family, parenting, and partner-related.

After penning rock n’ roll biographies on acts such as The Ramones, Van Halen and Phil Spector, Frank Meyer teamed up with Chris Pegula for 2014’s From Dude to Dad: The Diaper Dude Guide to Pregnancy. In addition to his writing career (Variety, LA Weekly, New Times), Meyer has a background as a Telly, Webby and W3 award winning digital content producer for Fender Guitars and G4tv, and has directed national TV commercials for the likes of NBC, Esquire Network, Sonic, Dyson, BMW, Subway, Little Caesars and Sonic.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Arrival

Our firstborn, Kai, was born at exactly 7:11 a.m. Iremember that night as if it were yesterday. After twelve hours of waiting andwondering, Kai finally arrived without a hitch. His lungs were robust, hisscream powerful, and his reaction to entering this world unforgettable.“Waaaaaahhhhhh!” It was like a fire alarm. There was no mistaking the intensityof this little dude when he arrived into our lives. If his volume alone wasindicative of his feelings, Kai was as mad as hell that we took him out of hiswarm digs and was not averse to voicing his displeasure. Loudly. If there werea crystal glass in our room at the time of his arrival, I am positive he wouldhave shattered it. But once I cut the cord and had the chance to hold him in myarms, he was at peace. He was where he was meant to be. Life was good.

After my wife, Meredith, had the chance to lock eyes withKai and caress his skin for a brief moment, the nurses stepped in to performtheir inaugural duties and he was whisked off in preparation to be handed overto his parents for good. It was amazing to watch their ease and confidence asthey bathed and weighed him, suctioned his airways, pricked his skin todetermine his blood type, took his temperature, scrubbed his scalp, clothedhim, and finally swaddled him up. (Swaddling calms the nerves and makes babiesfeel secure, but more on that in a few.) These moments occurred quickly andeffortlessly. I tried desperately to keep up and take notes on each task. (Ifonly the iPhone had been invented sixteen years ago!)

Having alone time with your partner and newborn is amust. Try to create a calm and peaceful environment as you introduce yourselvesofficially as mom and dad. Take this time to absorb this new dynamic.

“I was exhausted, so I was happy you dealt with thehospital and were more the eyes and ears than I was,” Meredith confessed to merecently. “You later told me that you were faking it, but you made me feel likeyou knew what you were doing.”

Blood Type

Among the tests your newborn undergoes after birth isdetermining the blood type. To this day I keep forgetting what my blood typeis, much less my kids’. It is wise to store this information in a place youremember and can easily access.

The universe is powerful and can work in your favor ifyou let it. Take the time to breathe in this new gift delivered into yourlives. You’ll have plenty of time later on to celebrate with your friends andfamily as they congratulate you on your new arrival. Be warned, though: having alittle space is something you should address ahead of time with relatives andfriends who might arrive without notice. Your partner has just been through theringer. Now you are her buffer from the outside world and the anxiety,frustration, and germs that can work their way into your sacred space.

The First Few Nights

The next few nights are a whirlwind and you won’t begetting much sleep. Your partner, on the other hand, can use all the sleep shecan get, so encourage it. Help her make it so. Depending on whether thedelivery was vaginal or by C-section, she is going to be in pain, and allowingher to rest will assist in the breast-feeding experience if she goes thatroute.

My wife’s exhaustion just wiped her out and she washardly in any shape to start breast-feeding. I, of course, was clueless as towhat to do. That is, until Corky, the hospital lactation specialist, grabbed meby the arm and instructed me on the ins and outs of “latching onto the boob.”This was not your typical interaction with a stranger. After all, I had justmet this woman, and we were talking about my wife’s breasts. To give hercredit, Corky knew how to speak the language and relate breast-feeding to guys.Using the analogy of holding a football, she executed the play on how toencourage Kai to latch on and feed from the breast. Eventually the awkwardnessslips away and the football hold becomes your child.

Pee-Blocking Devices

When it’s time to change your boy, unless you’reincredibly fast, you are bound to need assistance to prevent getting showeredon. Check out the Pee-pee Teepee. Yes, that’s a real thing and is exactly whatit sounds like. They are dome covers made of combed cotton designedspecifically to keep urine from spraying in your eyes. When our youngest, Cole,came home from the hospital, we had our nurse help us out, since we had twoother children at the time. The first time she changed Cole’s diaper he letloose and got her right in the kisser. Well, at least they say that urine issterile!

Changing a diaper was not so foreign to me. Having fivesiblings, I had encountered a dirty diaper or two among my numerous nieces andnephews. But changing the diaper of my son was a different story. Let me adviseyou to keep a blockade of some type to protect the wild sprayings of your newson’s tool. More than once I learned the hard way to block, duck, and cover.But with practice comes perfection, and now I can dodge pee with the best of’em. (Hmmm . . . that sounded awkward.) I’m sure you will be able to diaperyour dude with ease soon, but until then, be patient. If you have a girl, thenbe sure to get a rundown from your nurse or doula on how to clean a dirtydiaper. Among other things, you’ll learn to go from front to back when wipingclean, to avoid infection.

* Parent Hack

      Having troublewith those first few cleanings?

Cleaning those first few tar-like poops (meconium) can betricky. Try using a little coconut or almond oil on baby’s bottom to makecleaning easier. It gets baby’s tushy just moisturized enough so that the doodyshould wipe off with ease.

Swaddling is an essential skill you must master. Beingsnugly swaddled actually mimics the security that your newborn felt while inthe womb and will save you from those moments when baby is struggling to get somesleep. Swaddling is an art unto itself, and practice makes perfect. Use theseguidelines to help you turn your little one into the perfect burrito. Practicewith a doll first. Don’t wrap too loosely or else your lil’ one will wiggleright out of his blanket. Don’t wrap too tightly or she’ll be uncomfortable.Kids can get squirmy, and unless you’ve perfected the art, you might have ahard time at first. Check to make sure your baby is not overheating. If younotice your baby’s getting warm or sweating, unwrap her or turn on the air tocool her down. It takes time to get it right, but you’ll be surprised howquickly you will be able to swaddle with your eyes closed. (Pro tip: don’tactually close your eyes.)


Sudden infant death syndrome is the death of an infantbefore one year old that can’t quite be explained. Often it’s the result ofaccidental suffocation or strangling that occurs if items are left unattendedin the baby’s crib.

By the end of the day of Kai’s birth, I longed for someshut-eye. Meredith and I chose to keep him in our room to sleep while in thehospital. We were paranoid about the baby being switched or stolen like we’dseen on TV. (I know, but we were watching a lot of Lifetime movies and Law& Order: Special Victims Unit at the time.) In hindsight, having Kai sleepin the nursery might have been a great choice, and would’ve allowed Mer and meto get some much-needed rest. Instead I spent the night wide awake, constantlystaring at his belly to make sure he was breathing. The fact that there is aslight chance that SUDDEN DEATH could happen made me absolutely neurotic. Notknowing much about it made matters worse.

Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo care is a skin-to-skin touch method thatpromotes bonding, helps stabilize baby’s weight, assists with sleeping, reducesstress and pain, and boosts mental development.

My wife and I were firm believers and used it with oursecond son, Cole, as we felt it helped him feel secure and added an overallpositive energy to the sterile hospital environment. It’s especiallyinteresting to note that Cole has a strong thirst for knowledge, started toread early at the age of two, skipped fourth grade, and is a wizard withelectronics. While I can’t prove kangaroo care was solely responsible, I thinkit helped.

I watched from afar as I called my parents to share thenews with them. Today you are fortunate to be able to text or post your newsvia social media. Just be sure to get an approval from your partner ahead oftime before you go a-tweetin’. Perhaps this is a conversation to be had beforeyou even head to the hospital. The last thing you need is for her to be upsetwith you for posting a photo she did not approve of . . . especially on THE BIGDAY.

Bringing Baby Home

After spending forty-eight hours in the hospital,Meredith and I were excited to be heading home. I, for one, was scared as hell.The thought of being left alone to care for this new being was terrifying.Throughout the day, I couldn’t help wondering why they require a license todrive a car, yet no requirement is necessary to have a kid. A wheelchair isstandard protocol for mom when she is departing from the hospital. Meredithwelcomed the assistance, as she was wiped out from the past forty-eight hours.It was finally time to head home with our pride and joy.


Hiccups are quite common in newborns. Overfeeding is acommon reason hiccups occur in babies. When your baby eats too much or tooquickly the diaphragm muscles spasm, creating hiccups. When you are feedingbaby with a bottle, try taking a break to burp her before giving the remainderof the bottle. If you feed twice as often and half as much you might notice adifference. Remember, you don’t want to underfeed your baby at the end of theday, you just want to help eliminate a potential nuisance. Pay attention to theamount of air intake your newborn makes while eating from the bottle. Accordingto pediatrician William Sears’s book The Attachment Parenting Book: ACommonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby, holding the bottleat a forty-five-degree angle will move the air to the bottom of the bottle,preventing too much air intake when your infant is eating.

By this time, I hope you have already installed your carseat, but you’d be surprised how many of us install it incorrectly. Don’t letyour manhood get in the way of asking for assistance. Safety is your firstconcern. The most important thing is to make sure that neither the seat nor theharness is loose. Another big mistake is to turn the car seat face-forward tooearly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not faceyour child forward before the age of one or before they reach twenty pounds.This is not something you want to mess with. Take your car to a specialist tohave the car seat installed correctly, or check safercar.gov.

The first few nights were like daddy boot camp . . . butsince it was me and my family, it was a lot closer to Stripes than Full MetalJacket. I was so impressed with Meredith when we got back home. As exhausted asshe was, she snapped right into action and was so immediately confident as amother. It was as if she was born to do it. For me, it was not that easy. Iwanted to feel confident as a dad but I found myself relying a great deal on mywife’s instincts and following her lead. Yet I knew I had to find my waythrough uncharted waters myself.

For one thing, I was still freaked out over the thoughtof sudden infant death syndrome. I did the research and learned that havingyour baby share your room is fine, but not in your bed. You might have seennumerous images on social media of dads sleeping next to their baby, whichmelts the heart of every mom who comes across it. Sure, it looks sweet, but becareful when it comes to sleeping with your newborn. Believe it or not, simplyrolling over while sleeping can accidentally cause suffocation. Better safethan sorry. There are numerous brands that carry co-sleepers (a hybrid betweena bassinet and a crib) that attach or sit right next to your bed. We bought onefrom Arm’s Reach, and it made nighttime feedings so much more bearable. Makesure to keep loose objects and pillows out of the crib. While these plush andcozy items might look good to the eye, for safety’s sake, get them out of thecrib.

* Parent Hack

      Put your babyto sleep with white noise.

Getting our first little one used to sound helped himsleep easier when his siblings came along. A white noise machine should do thetrick. Now our kids can sleep soundly through a thunderstorm.

I was also incredibly nervous about making a mistake. Thefirst time I held Kai in my arms I was shaking like a leaf. I was paranoid thatI would break him, smother him, or drop him. I was hyperfocusing on making surehis neck and head were secure and safe. The neck muscles need to strengthen, soat first his head will wobble out of control. Pay attention to your newborn’slack of strength in neck muscles and make sure to support and protect baby’shead. Be aware of the soft spots on the head as well.

“Hey, what’s the deal with those soft spots?” you ask.There are two delicate places on your newborn’s head, called the anterior andposterior fontanels. They are gaps between the bones of your baby’s skull. Thefontanels allow the baby’s head the ability to squeeze through the birth canalduring birth. The gaps remain open under the skin to allow your baby’s brain togrow. Those gaps are protected by sturdy membranes and eventually fuse togetheras minerals build up inside your little one’s head. While it’s important to be cautiouswhen handling those areas, it will also be practically impossible to avoidtouching them, especially when you are washing his head. The trick is to begentle.


Excerpted from "Diaper Dude"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Chris Pegula.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Month-to-Month Guide xxiii

Chapter 1 The Arrival 1

The First Few Nights 3

Bringing Baby Home 9

Homeland Security 16

Going Back to Work 21

Vaccinations 25

Crying vs. Colic 28

The Postpartum Experience 33

Chapter 2 The First Few Months 39

Welcome to the Daddy Game 42

Introducing Baby to the World 45

Big Brothers and Sisters 47

Entering the Friend Zone 49

Baby's Best Friend 50

Sleep and the Lack Thereof 52

When the Poop Hits the Fan 56

Going on the Go 57

Cabin Fever 59

Complications: Jaundice, Reflux 63

Chapter 3 Your New Life 67

Bonding over Daily Tasks 70

Parenting Styles 72

Dudes 'n' Dads 79

Dad's Night In 81

Who's Watching the Baby? 82

iParent 86

Baby Gear 87

Old-School Fun 89

Chapter 4 Strength In Numbers 94

Discipline Starts with Yourself 97

Using Your Words 99

Fighting and Tension 101

Tantrum Tales 102

Chapter 5 First Steps 108

Houston, We Have a Walker 109

Get Some Class 115

Just a Little Patience… 117

Let's Talk About Sex 120

Vacations 126

Avoiding On-the-Road Rage 128

Daddy's Little Tax Credits 130

Chapter 6 Uncharted Waters 132

Respect the Bubble 133

Birthday Madness 137

Sugar Fix 140

Kids 'n' Sports 144

Chapter 7 Growing Up 149

The Terrible Twos (?) 151

Potty Training 153

Autism, Developmental Issues 156

Keeping Your Relationship Strong 161

The D-Word 163

Role Models 165

Epilogue 169

Acknowledgements 173

Resources 175

Notes 177

Index 179

About the Authors 187

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