The New Father — Book Summary

10 min readOct 1


I recently had a baby boy, and I picked up this book after DadVerb recommended it. The book is organized as a month-by-month guide for what to expect with your newborn.

Note, this article is a bit selfish — I’m only summarizing the parts that I found were most relevant to my experience as a new father.

Month 0 — Newborn!

Tests and Initial Health


  • Baby jaundice is normal, and has a 1/4 chance of affecting a newborn
  • Normally goes away after a week
  • Yellowness from the eyes takes the longest to go away
  • Tests are done to check bilirubin levels.
  • Bilirubin is a by-product of red blood cells, which normally is processed by the liver. If the liver is having trouble processing it, the bilirubin levels go up


  • Apgar tests are a rough assessment of a newborn’s general health
  • Points are based on:
  • Baby’s color, i.e. pink or pale
  • Pulse
  • Grimace, i.e. loud crying or no response
  • Activity, i.e. movement


  • Some hospitals sell your placenta to cosmetic companies
  • You can ask them to pack it in a Tupperware container for you.
  • Some people bury them

Hearing Tests

  • Should be done at the hospital
  • If caught early, audiologists can provide a hearing aid to prevent speech and language development issues

Behavioral States

Baby can be any 6 states:

  1. Quiet Alert
  • The baby isn’t moving much
  • Energy is focused on looking at and absorbing surroundings
  • May track objects

2. Active Alert

  • Moving arms, body, face
  • Short bursts of thrashing around
  • Good state for doing physical activity with your baby

3. Crying

  • Movement often soothes them
  • Crying is also a good workout

4. Drowsiness

  • Eyes look dull or unfocused
  • Leave baby alone to drift to sleep

5. Quiet Sleep

  • Body is motionless
  • Don’t wake up baby in this state unless pediatrician has told you otherwise

6. Active Sleep

  • Eyes are usually closed but may flicker open
  • Might make sucking movements, whimper, or twitch
  • Half the time sleeping is in active sleep, and the other half is in quiet sleep
  • Therefore, you should wait a while if the baby seems to wake up for a few mins before picking them up. They will likely fall back asleep


  • Talk to your baby, so they can start to know the rhythm of language
  • Massage your baby, by gently flexing their limbs and massaging their whole body.
  • Massaged babies grew 50% more than those who didn’t.
  • Babies can’t understand words, but they can understand feelings

Diapers and cleaning

  • Diapers should be changed every 2 hours
  • Wash baby at least 1–2 times a week
  • Avoid commercial baby wipes for the first weeks. Use wet washcloths instead.
  • Hang a mobile above the changing surface to distract them a bit
  • Immediately cover the baby genitals when changing to avoid a golden shower
  • Clean under scrotum

Reusable diapers

  • Allows kids to potty-train faster
  • Less chance of diaper rash
  • Use a diaper service if going with reusables
  • Recommendation: Use cloth diapers during the day, and disposables at night


  • You’ll need to cut baby’s nails every 2–3 days

Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Less food allergies
  • Less chance of obesity
  • Less chance of illnesses like cancer, infections, etc.
  • Less SIDS risks

How dad can help with breastfeeding

  • Make sure mom has a glass of water and drinks it during every nursing session
  • Do as much of the burping and diaper change as you can


  • It can take 2 weeks for mom’s nipples to toughen up
  • 41% of new moms breastfeed exclusively for three months. At 6 months this number drops to 19%.
  • Breast milk can be stored at room temp for 4–5 hours
  • Thaw breastmilk in the fridge overnight
  • Never warm milk in the microwave


  • Gentle patting and rubbing is just as effective as hard thumping


  • Uncircumcised penis needs to be washed by retracting the foreskin. However, the foreskin doesn’t always retract right away.
  • Foreskin typically retracts by age 3


  • Some people will offer to help. Some are genuine and some are just being nice.
  • Take the first few weeks to sleep whenever you have free time, rather than playing host to a bunch of guests.

Call a doctor if

  • Your baby is unusually floppy or non-responsive
  • Baby cries for a long time, or has especially high-pitched crying
  • Infection at the umbilical cord side
  • Not waking up every 2–3 hours
  • Not enough pee/poop, i.e. at least 2–3 poops every 24 hours

Month 1

  • He should be able to lift his head for a few seconds
  • Wants to eat every few hours, but less bowel movements
  • He can now see objects a foot away or more
  • He likes high-contrast black and white patterns
  • Starts cooing
  • Mother may get blues around this time
  • Babies lose around 10 percent of their birth weight
  • Read to the baby, so they get used to the language’s sounds and rhythm
  • Associating reading with calm, quiet and security
  • For the first few months, babies gain weight faster if breastfed, but after that, formula babies gain faster.
  • Start reading to him, so he can get used to the sound and rhythm of language
  • Put a soft mirror inside the crib
  • Babies look at high-contrast patterns
  • See what baby prefers by showing different patterns and seeing which he stares at
  • Get the baby to track objects
  • Put mobiles above crib and changing table
  • Play with baby’s reflexes like stroking cheeks, lips, sole of feet, or putting objects in his hand

Maternal Postpartum Blues + Depression

  • Affects 50–80% of new moms
  • Connected to low levels of social support, especially from father
  • Blues is feeling down. Depression is blues that doesn’t go away after two weeks, and changes in daily functioning
  • Help by doing nighttime feeding, and giving her protein snacks throughout the day
  • Dehydration and caffeine contribute to anxiety
  • She will experience engorged breasts, clogged ducts (avoid tight bras), low fever, sore nipples (use Lansinoh), leaky breasts
  • Check out or


  • Tired, gas, diaper, attention
  • Magic baby hold, distraction, toys, story, noise, singing
  • Bath
  • Swaddle
  • Walk, change scenery
  • Colic — more than 3 hours of crying per day, for more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 months

Older children

  • Warn them that a new baby is coming, and people will be giving the baby more attention
  • Point out some of the big-kid actions they can take like using a fork and knife, riding a trike, putting on their own shoes and washing their face, going down a slide by themselves. Ice cream is for big kids only!
  • Practice holding baby with a doll


  • Take an infant CPR class

Month 2 — First Smiles

  • Starting to reach for objects, appreciates more complex patterns, starting to develop understanding of cause-effect (crying = carry)
  • Starting to smile for real. Prior to this, most smiles were just gas.
  • Awake for about 10 hours today
  • Couples can take 6 months or longer to reestablish pre-pregnancy sex life
  • Asking each other what you’re willing to do, sexually, is a way to create a safe space where you can turn each other down without causing hurt feelings
  • Set aside at least 15 mins a day to talk about something other than the baby.
  • Partner’s period will start around 3–8 months after the birth
  • Today’s good father is expected to still be a breadwinner but also be physically and emotionally involved in the kids’ lives.
  • Don’t fear discussing fears with your partner about your fears. For ex. not being able to love the baby or take care of the baby.
  • The Talmud describes the baby as a king, with numerous servants all around him.
  • Newborns who drank sugary solution before medical procedures cry less
  • Any toys that can fit through a standard roll of toilet paper are too small
  • Stay far away from ammonia, bleach, paint thinner, pool or garden chemicals
  • Baby focuses on objects 8–12 inches away
  • Expose baby to many different textures, like kiwi, peach, coconut
  • Expose baby to many different sounds, like music, piano, instruments, bells, voices, etc.

Baby Massage

  • Massage your baby every day. Looking into Tiffany Field.
  • Use some baby oil and then roll the baby’s hands/arms/legs as if you were making snakes out of clay
  • Firmly press your palm on the baby’s tummy moving downward
  • Part the Red Sea on the baby’s tummy
  • Press on the bottom of each baby’s feet using your thumbs


  • Frequently put the baby down in various positions so she turns her head from one side to another
  • Stop swaddling too much
  • Encourage tummy time


  • Hep B given at birth
  • Hep B 2nd dose, first dose of RV, IPV, RPCV, DTaP, HiB given at 2 months

Safety + Sleeping

  • Turn down your water heater
  • Make sure the crib is painted with non-toxic paint
  • No stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, etc. Use a warm sleep suit if needed.
  • Babies often sleep during the day because mommy was awake rocking the baby to sleep during the daytime
  • Overtired babies wake up more than well-rested ones.
  • Setup a bedtime routine with nursing, reading, massage, song, bath, etc.

Sleep Training

  • Sleep training — Consider Jassey method from The Newborn Sleep Book
  • Summary: feed only five times per day, 8am, noon, 4pm, 8pm midnight
  • Extend time between feedings by 15 mins until you reach this schedule.

Month 3 — Let the Games Begin

  • He can’t tell he has two distinct sides — instead he moves both his arms and legs together
  • Should be getting better at grasping
  • Prefers circular shapes to stripes and complex patterns to simple ones
  • He will now begin to use distinct types of cries for different discomforts
  • He’s perceptive about moods of people around him


  • 90% of SIDS happens by 6 months, but can still happen up to one year
  • More likely to occur to buys than girls, preterm babies, multiple-birth babies, babies from low-income homes, black and indigenous babies.
  • Don’t co-sleep
  • Baby should always sleep on a flat firm surface
  • 1 in 2000 babies are affected

Father’s father

  • You may start to think a lot about your own father-son experience
  • Dr. Snarey found that new fathers take only the good parts from their father
  • They also do an excellent job of reversing the damage their fathers did, i.e. men whose fathers were distant place an emphasis on being more caring with their children
  • We are role models

Playing with baby

  • Kids who play a lot with their dad have higher self-esteem
  • Introduce rattles, keys, and other similar toys. Tie a helium balloon to his foot.
  • Read to your baby, increase vocabulary, attention, and makes the less likely
  • It doesn’t matter what you read, since it’s a fantastic opportunity for you and the baby to snuggle together and get to know the rhythm of our language
  • He is not able to identify images on the page. He might just scratch the page.
  • Set a regular place and time for reading. Usually just before/after nap is best.
  • Babies complain loudly if they're too cold, and are seem like they are lacking energy if their too hot
  • Use sunscreen after baby is 6 months old. Check EWS for safe sunscreens.
  • Heat rash — anywhere where sweat builds up can cause red bumps. Use cool washcloth or cornstarch to make baby more comfortable.
  • Avoid baby wearing floral pattern clothing since insects might be attracted to it.

Diaper rash

  • Disposal diapers make the baby more comfortable, but that leads them to sit in acidic poo for longer causing diaper rash
  • Cloth diapered babies are toilet trained faster
  • Change diaper as frequently as possible

Month 4 — Born to Be

Baby can now

  • Track and grasp objects
  • Can stand for a few seconds, but hips aren’t strong enough to support the weight so don’t do this for too long
  • Can tell difference between real face and a picture of one
  • Might respond to name
  • May have sleep disturbance due to an especially busy developmental time
  • Don’t focus on what you can’t do, i.e. breastfeed, focus on everything you are already doing — baths, massages, skin-to-skin, etc.
  • Most new dads start to feel that so much of their identity is wrapped up in being a

Baby’s have many different types of temperament

  • Approach/withdrawal
  • Adaptability
  • Intensity
  • Mood
  • Activity
  • Regularity
  • Sensitivity
  • Distractibility
  • Persistence

Note: this part was incredibly detailed and is not summarized in this article.


  • On average, couples start having sex again about 7 weeks after birth
  • Hormones, fatigue and time are biggest obstacles
  • Think like teens — grope each other, watch porn together, bang in new places


  • 5–10 % of new moms get postpartum thyroiditis, causing anxiety, emotional instability, muscle fatigue, depression — which are all normal for regular postpartum. However, by 4 months she should be over most of these.


  • Don’t become baby’s sleep transition object
  • It’s normal for babies to fuss for 15–20 mins after being put down
  • Keep nighttime activity to a minimum
  • Do feeds in the dark for nighttime feeds
  • Don’t change diapers unless you absolutely must
  • Do a routine where you take the baby around to all the toys and say goodnight
  • Can soothe babies from your side of the bars by rubbing their head
  • Babies can be strangled by crib bumper strings
  • Let your partner take care of nighttime feeds, since there’s not much you can do to help
  • Liat Tikotzky discovered that the more that dads’ are involved in daytime care, the fewer times babies wake up at night.
  • You can’t expect a baby to nap from 4pm to 6pm and then go to sleep for the night at 7pm.

Month 5: Work and Family

  • Baby can now roll
  • Still can’t quite sit without support
  • Longer intervals between feeding and poops
  • Starting to babble with consonants
  • Growing number of emotions: fear, anger, disgust, satisfaction
  • Worrying can lead to low self-confidence and becoming more hands-off, letting someone else do the work. This only decreases your skill-level and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Work-life balance changes over time.
  • When babies hear aa recording of another baby crying, they start crying too — but not if it’s an older child crying

Solid Foods

  • Most pediatricians recommend that you delay introducing solids until baby is at least 6 months old if breastfed, and four months old if bottle-fed.
  • Resist starting solids earlier than 4–6 months because of correlations to weight problems, respiratory illness, diabetes, etc.
  • Holding off on introducing allergenic foods like cow milk, eggs, fish, nuts, shellfish, wheat can increase risk of food intolerances
  • Can take 15 mins to get through one teaspoon of food at the beginning
  • Rice, oatmeal or barley mixed with breast milk should be first foods
  • Constipation can be resolved by (p for poop), pears, prunes, peaches, plums, apricots
  • After 1 year, baby can eat almost any kind of food
  • Food will get everywhere — on floor, clothes, carpets, etc. Consider feeding baby only in a diaper.
  • Organic jarred food is expensive but convenient — make your own.
  • Boil vegetables and blend them.

Month 6:




Most of my writing is about software. I enjoy summarizing and analyzing books and self-help videos. I am senior software consultant at