Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Axiom #3


The Dad Network axioms are ‘dad-hood’ proverbs. They pinpoint key principles of dad-hood and refine them down to unforgettable soundbites of wisdom that can be called upon instantly to inform a critical decision. And, as we all know, being a dad is full of critical decisions! 

Huge steps forward can bring meltdowns

I like to keep fit. I like to run, cycle, hike, play and do anything generally active. I like to enter races, mainly to compete against myself. With this comes training though. I entered a race called man vs mountain which was basically 20 miles up and down Mt Snowdon in Wales. My training was heavily disturbed by the fact that I’d had a baby weeks before the race, and so I had to up the intensity and do what I could. The point to this lovely story though is that as I trained, I felt that I would improve quickly. After 3 or 4 10k runs, I felt pretty confident and pretty good in my level of fitness. When I got out for run 5 however, which was only 5k, it seemed to kill me… why? This hit me hard. I’d been feeling good running 10k and then out of no-where, I had an awful 5k run. The previous success meant that this set back was more tricky to handle. It was as if I took 4 steps forwards and then had a meltdown. The success caused a more intense reaction to the setback. 

To put this in a parenting context, I found that when the boy had a good night or 2, I started to feel complacent, confident and even a little smug. Then he’d have a terrible night and rather than hold it in perspective that he was only a few weeks old having spent 9 months living an aquatic life where he could do what he wanted when wanted, I took it personally and not very well. Again, the perceived success of 2 fantastic nights meant that the bad night was intensified.

For the first 4 weeks, the boy settled himself, fed well and slept for good amounts of time through the night. Again, the confident and complacency crept in. Some nights now, he won’t settle, won’t feed well, won’t sleep for long and it’s really hard to deal with in light of the initial good spells. 


Watch out for this one - it can hit pretty hard! 
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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Story Behind the Viral Image


Want to know the story behind the image? Take 3 minutes out of your schedule to check out our YouTube interview. Just a short clip getting our thoughts on the event and the fact this photograph spread round the world like wild fire. 

If you're interested in using the clip or something similar, pop me an email. 

If it didn't show up on your device, follow this link: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jKUfFUuSfA




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Guest Post #3 - The Unexpected Dad



At The Dad Network we wanted to to provide a place to work with other dad bloggers. It seemed like we all had the same motivation and the same goal, so why not work together. We want to encourage and promote other dad bloggers in order to encourage and promote the role of dads within family life. As a result, we've teamed up with some other dads and each week, we'll be publishing a guest post from another dad blogger from around the globe. Be sure to check out their blogs! 


Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Paul Carlson and I run the web site TheUnexpectedDad.Com.  I work as an IT manager for a large global IT services company by day, and a father both day and night.  My wife and I married late in life; I am in my mid-forties and we have been married for 3 years.   In my spare time (this doesn’t really exist anymore), I enjoy music, outdoor activities including hiking, biking, camping and backpacking.

What’s your blog about and why did you start it?

As I mentioned, my wife and I married late in life and we didn’t really expect to have children (thus the title of my blog).  We weren’t opposed to the idea of having children, but just assumed that it was not in the cards for us.

My blog is about is about being an “older” dad and the learning curve associated with assuming the role of a new dad, at any age.  When I started the blog several months before my daughter was born, the intent was just to document the trials, tribulations, joys and accomplishments during the pregnancy and then as I continued my journey going forward.   I wanted to share what I had learned, but not necessarily give advice.  

I am also using my blog as a timeline and journal, noting at the bottom of each post either the current week of the pregnancy, or the current age of my daughter.  I think the posts will be something interesting I can show my daughter when she gets older; the “time stamps” at the bottom of the posts will help to put them into context based on where I was in my journey as a father.

What’s been your favourite post to write and what do you think is your readers’ favourite post?

My favorite post so far has been the description of my daughter’s birth, titled:  The Unexpected Birth – Week 37.  It’s probably not the best written piece, it’s really just a brain dump of the events that led up to my daughter’s birth, the delivery and what followed immediately after.  These events in the hospital were a whirlwind, and this post was an attempt to capture things the best I could in a short blog post.

I am a dad guy, and I have to go by the numbers on my reader’s favorite post, which looks like it is  15 Ways to Wake A Sleeping Baby.  This post tells about different strategies we have tried to keep our baby awake while we try and feed her.  This was a problem we had in the first couple weeks of her life; she wouldn’t stay awake while we fed her.  Now it is not such a problem, it seems like she’s always awake these days.

What 3 tips would you give to dads or expectant dads to help them on their quest into
fatherhood?

For Expectant Dads:

1. Be as involved in the pregnancy as you can.  Go to the doctor appointments, work on the nursery, read books, go to classes, etc.  The more involved you are during the pregnancy, the more connected you will feel with your significant other and in turn with your baby once he or she arrives.
2. Be patient.  Your wife/significant other is probably very uncomfortable during the pregnancy, so do everything you can to help her out.  This more than likely means extra chores around the house; suck it up and get it done.
3. Enjoy alone time with your wife/significant other now, while you can!  Once the baby arrives you will be hard pressed to find time to do things together.

For New or Current Dads:

1. It is easy to get frustrated when your baby seems like he or she is constantly crying, and it can be quite maddening at times.  Remember that your baby is totally dependent on you, and has no other way to express him or herself. 
2. Sleep deprivation is standard, so get used to be tired.  Be ready to sleep when the baby is sleeping.  I should take my own advice; my daughter is currently sleeping, but I am writing this instead of sleeping.
3. Practical tip:  Sign up for Amazon mom.  20% discount on diapers and wipes and 2-day shipping (although there is an annual fee).  I’m not sure if this is just available in the U.S. or in other countries as well, but check into it.

What’s the best thing about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?)

For me the best thing about being a dad (I have limited experience here since my daughter is only 7 weeks old at the time of this writing) is spending time with my daughter and wife as a new family.  I am amazed at how quickly my daughter is growing and I am looking forward to the various milestones that are coming up in the near and distant future.

What’s the biggest challenge(s) about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?)

Our doctor says that my daughter has colic (which seems to be the diagnosis when they aren’t sure what’s wrong with a baby); she cries a lot and rarely sleeps for longer than 1-2 hours at a time.  In addition, she wants to be held all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holding her, but it makes it very difficult to do other things and can get physically tiring.  So the biggest challenge for me thus far has been getting sleep, and trying to engage in activities non-baby related.

What message would you like to give to The Dad Network readers?

Our modern culture seems to depreciate the importance of the role that fathers play in their child’s life.  This is readily apparent by just watching television for a short time:   As you watch, you will see commercials and TV shows that involve family dynamic portraying the father as a bumbling fool.  This dad-fool needs to be guided like a child so that he doesn’t do or say anything stupid, which would irreparably harm his family.


This is a lie.  The truth is that the father’s role in his child’s life is not only important, but noble and necessary.  A father is a mentor, protector and teacher (among other things) and as Dads (with a capital “D”) we have the responsibility and privilege of taking an active role in shaping our child’s life.  Awesome!



Bio - Paul is a Christ follower, musician, outdoor lover, computer geek and father, and writes about his experiences as a new dad on his blog TheUnexpectedDad.Com.  He lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA and can be contacted on Twitter at @Unexpected_Dad.
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Monday, 15 September 2014

#10 things you probably didn't know about newborns



Don't you just love a good piece of useless trivia? For all those moments at Christmas when someone breaks out the Trivial Pursuit board and that awkward question pops up and you think to yourself, "I know this one! I read it on some blokes blog about babies." Well, in advance... you're welcome. 

#1 Babies are born without any knee caps

#2 When babies are born their eyesight is as good as an adults. The problem is their brain isn't able to process as well as an adult, hence their difficulty seeing. 

#3 Babies have more bones than adults when they are born. 300 bones that then fuse together resulting in 206 bones. 

#4 Newborns can't actually cry. They can scream, sure, we all know this, but they aren't actually crying, no tears! 

#5 Their hearing is pretty good too. Very much the same as an adult. The reason they startle isn't due to volume, it's because the sound is probably new. 

#6 Breast milk is good for adults too. Waste not want not I say! 

#7 1 in every 3 babies have a birth mark, so don't be alarmed when you find a small blemish somewhere on their skin. 

#8 Babies can crawl from birth. It's called the breast crawl and research shows that if you put a baby on mums tummy/chest it will crawl and find it's way to the breast for feeding. 

#9 Babies turn their heads when they are full or want to stop feeding. It's an instinctive reaction to feeling full and apparently, it's where we started the whole shaking our head for 'no' comes from. 

#10 Babies finger nails grow quicker than an adults. Make sure you have some baby nail scissors although using your teeth gives you a lot of control and can be far easier - seriously.
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Sunday, 14 September 2014

What's it like going Viral?


Wow! What a whirl wind the last 2 weeks have been. 

We've been in USA, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, India, Honk Kong and of course the UK. 

We've had thousands and thousands of new visitors to the blog, many of whom have signed up for our monthly newsletter, liked us on FB or followed us on twitter. 

We've featured in some of the biggest online magazines and newspapers on the face of the planet and millions of people have shared our photo across their own social media pages. 

The nature of viral 'ness' is that things come and go. We've loved the short journey we've been on through this photo. We've learnt a lot and experienced new things and hope that the lasting impact will be one that continues to see dads coming to The Dad Network and being encouraged to love their children and do their very best by them. 

We've read so many positive comments about how wonderful this photo is, especially as there are so many negative images and news flying around the internet. One person commented saying that it was lovely to see as it made them laugh rather than reading about death, pain and suffering. It made a change to see something light hearted in the newspapers for a change. Thank you for all your kind comments. 

However, the sad truth of going viral is that because you're reaching millions of people with your viral 'ness' you're also reaching the ends of the spectrum. People who love what you're doing and people who have a significant problem with what you're doing.

The hope is that the spectrum end of people loving what you're doing far outweighs the other end. We were very fortunate to have this in our case. For every 1,000 good comments, we might find 1 negative: others aren't so lucky.

However, despite our good fortune, we still felt it might be a good thing to face a few of those comments head on. So, without wasting too much time, I've summarised a few of the points people have made and then responded to them.

#1 "This photo will be of embarrassment to the boy when he's older, especially as it will be so accessible."

Firstly, yes it perhaps might be of slight embarrassment. But everyone has some embarrassing photo's from when they were a baby/child and remembering those moments is as important as all the others. I love toilet humour, so the boy will grow up exposed to a lot of toilet humour. I'm confident he won't be too upset. Yes, if you spend some time looking, you might find this image on the web in 15 years time, so his peers might laugh. Once. Then, knowing teenagers, they'll probably move on.

#2 "This will in someway affect his career, whatever that may be..."

I'm almost certain that no employer would hold a photo like this against a hopeful candidate. I'm also almost certain that no blame would be put upon the boy for such a photo. Someone described this photo as 'potential dirt' if they wanted to 'run for office!' In all honesty, this concept is preposterous and in actual fact if the same photo of David Cameron doing this was released, it would probably only add to his likability.

#3 "Children have rights" 

Well in that case, let's not take any photo's our children, and we should certainly not show anyone. We're also putting a photo of him in our thank you cards to send to various people...should we re-think this just in case he doesn't want his pic sent to his Aunt? And we'd all better delete our FB accounts! Is it wrong to suggest that children's rights belong to the parents?

#4 "Some weirdo's might use the images indecently"

Have you ever opened a baby magazine? Have you ever googled 'baby photo's?' This photo is one of millions in the same style.

#5 "This isn't news worthy"

No, a baby poo'ing is not newsworthy at all. Agreed. But for a local story, going viral to this calibre is newsworthy. It's the viral nature of the image that made the news, not the image itself. Although, having said that, the timing of the photograph is unique and perfect. The story is the celebration of a perfectly timed photograph of a light hearted and amusing subject, going viral.

#6 "He won't get a partner (some people also argued about whether he's gay or not at 4 days old, so I have used the word partner deliberately...) when he is older as his partners parents will think this is horrible."

Really?


Are we bad parents for sharing a funny photograph of our son, we don't think so, but there's obviously some other people out there who cast judgement with the contrary verdict. Will we lose sleep over the minority, no. For the rest of you, we hope you continue to enjoy the photograph.

Going viral is something quite extraordinary. We received text messages from friends all over the place sharing a new website we'd featured on. It's also extraordinary that my face has been all over the world with some of the worlds biggest celebrities commenting on it. Ashton Kutcher setting it as his FB status was quite something. In all honesty, it's very hard to get your head truly round the scale and magnitude of the world wide web, but that's exactly what it is, world wide. 

We're also really happy to talk about the photo in interviews for radio, TV, magazine or anything else so if you're interested, then please ask. 

The Dad Network is continuing to grow and work with new brands and organisations. Click here for more details. 

Thanks to everyone who has commented, shared and laughed at our gorgeous boy doing what babies do best. We've had a fantastic ride on the viral wave and look forward to the next viral post spouting from The Dad Network. We love Ted dearly and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. 
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Baby Bjorn Bouncer - Product Review

"Daddy dressed me with 1 sock..."
I don't know much about Swedish people. I'd like to know more about them though. You see, what I do know is all good. Healthy, sensible, Ikea, no late night shopping, relaxed, outdoorsy, low infant mortality, low binge drinkers, low teenage pregnancies and just generally low everything...even their football teams rankings. ;) 

I think that this seemingly wonderful country is the reason why Baby Bjorn, a swedish company, is so perfect. 

We've had the privilege of testing out and reviewing their baby bouncer. Not having a baby bouncer, we had nothing to compare it too but when we opened the box, set it up and popped the boy in it, we looked at each other as if to say, "why the hell haven't we got one of these before now?"

Firstly, it comes ready made, so I left it for the wife to do on her own...and she did! The bouncer is sufficient enough to feel sturdy, which is really important when you are placing your bundle of preciousness into it. Despite the sturdiness, it's a manageable weight to move around the house. And that's the beauty of this. It's moveable. A friend of ours said that the one bit of parenting advice he'd found brilliantly useful was to have somewhere you can put the baby down in every room. This bouncer ticks that box: baby in one hand, bouncer in the other...wherever you go. 

On top of this, we love 2 things about this bouncer: 

#1 It is a chair for a baby. Long gone are the days of needing to lay the baby down on a play mat or cushion all the time. He can now sit up and take in the view. This is also really great to help with the cranium resetting itself and avoiding the flattish heads that babies often develop from lying down on one side too much. Not only this but they start to take more in from their surroundings. They are more able to follow sounds and movement with their eyes. 

#2 For those moments when mum is swapping from one boob to the other or trying to do something whilst feeding, it's great to pop the baby in momentarily. Being in a more upright position really helps with getting any wind up. 

In our minds, a baby bouncer is an essential baby item from the vast array of paraphernalia that brands try to sell you. In our opinion, it's worth investing in a good one and this really is a good one. Looks good, easy to use, light weight, strong, reputable, durable and above everything... it has a good bounce. So good in fact, it sends the boy off to sleep perfectly. 




The Baby Bjorn bouncer receives an official Dad Network star rating of 5 / 5 stars and our award of recommendation. Thinking of getting a bouncer..? This one is a no brainer! 



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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Win a Harry & Jack's Adventure Pack




The Dad Network has teamed up with Harry & Jack's Adventure Packs to run a fantastic giveaway. Readers have the chance to win a fantastic adventure pack from this great company. We've even had one to test out ourselves and we LOVED it. Click here to see what we thought.

All you have to do to enter is fill in the form below. (Thank you Rafflecopter.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Axiom #2



The Dad Network axioms are ‘dad-hood’ proverbs. They pinpoint key principles of dad-hood and refine them down to unforgettable soundbites of wisdom that can be called upon instantly to inform a critical decision. And, as we all know, being a dad is full of critical decisions! 


The value of trying something new

As a dad, I like to think I’m a dab hand at DIY. Just for the record, I’m not, but I don’t like to admit it as my ego takes a knock. Anyway, we needed a baby gym, play mat thing but hadn’t purchased one prior to the boy arriving. Rather than nip down to Mothercare and get one, I thought I would fashion one out of a cardboard box and hang some of the toys we have already from it. In the words of most children today, it was an epic fail! 

This did not deter me however and in my usual, I know best attitude, I tried something new. this time I started to use some wood. I created something in the shed that resembled what I was after but despite my best efforts I couldn’t ignore the splinters and rusty nails and so that too was an epic fail. At some point I was going to have to give in to the fact that I will have to buy one… but not yet… 

So, I tried something new. I’m sure by now you get my point… 

Previously, we discussed the fact that there are simply no rules on how to get your baby feeding and sleeping well. So, rather than sweat, swear and procrastinate over your current methods, try something new! If waking him at 10:30pm for a late feed isn’t helping him get through the night, then don’t wake him? Try something new and don’t be afraid of it - you’ll never find what works for you unless you try everything!
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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Top #10 baby contradictions



Now, without wanting to cause an argument and have women's groups complain, I want to mention the myth that is, all women contradict themselves. I have heard a few people call the entire female population contrary by nature! Some people of the male variety, might suggest that women are tricky customers to deal with at the best of times.

They say they don't want an anniversary gift and then get upset when you haven't gotten them one. Some might say that they are 'fine' and then burst into tears. Others might tell you that it is completely fine if you want to go out on your bike for a couple of hours only to find on your return, your partner is in a bad mood as a result...

Contradictions are one of the trickiest things to deal with, in my opinion, because just when you think you know where you stand or you know what to do, someone else says the opposite. In my experience, throughout pregnancy and having a new born we have heard a vast amount of contradictions. Too many in fact for things that are pretty important to get right. Here is my top 10 baby contradictions.

#1 Feed from 1 breast at a time VS feed from both in 1 feed.

#2 Absolutely no dummy VS use a dummy as it helps with cranial development!

#3 You should never wake a sleeping baby VS Wake the baby up for its feed.

#4 Lie the baby on its tummy VS don't lie the baby on its tummy.

#5 Express if your boobs are engorged VS don't express under any circumstances in the first few weeks.

#6 Keep the room dark during night feeds VS turn the lights on to fully wake the baby so it feeds better.

#7 Keep the baby in your room for 6 months VS as little as 4 weeks!

#8 Don't give your baby water under any circumstances VS use water if your baby is showing hunger signs but not due a feed yet.

#9 Feed on demand VS set your routine.

#10 continue breastfeeding, even if it's painful VS use a bottle at the first sign of trouble.

I must stress that these are all genuine pieces of advice we have either read or heard from people who would be classed as professionals and experts. So what does one do with that?

To me, it highlights the fundamental issue: there is no 'right' way. Therefore, find your own way seeking advice, but holding it always with a pinch of salt.

*Good luck with your contrary partner by the way; we're all in this together. 
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Guest Post #2 - Daddylibrium


At The Dad Network we wanted to to provide a place to work with other dad bloggers. It seemed like we all had the same motivation and the same goal, so why not work together. We want to encourage and promote other dad bloggers in order to encourage and promote the role of dads within family life. As a result, we've teamed up with some other dads and each week, we'll be publishing a guest post from another dad blogger from around the globe. Be sure to check out their blogs! 

Christian Toto 

- Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Christian Toto, an award-winning journalist with more than 15 years working with web and print-based outlets. I oversee Daddylibrium.com, a site covering the balancing act between parenting, marriage and leisure time. I’m the proud pappy of two handsome lads – Ben (3) and Eli (5).

- What’s your blog about and why did you start it? 
I’m an entertainment writer by day, so when I decided to blog as a fresh creative outlet I wanted to shift gears, content wise. What topic would inspire me, provide endless content and let me share whatever wisdom I have with others? Daddylibrium was born, a title my lovely wife created. After all, the biggest issue I face is balancing work life, family life and those rare leisure moments, so it seemed like a natural.

- What’s been your favourite post to write and what do you think is your readers favourite post? 
The second part is easy. My post on Eli’s sartorial excellence earned me a guest blogger spotlight at this year’s Dad 2.0 Summit. The tale of my son’s zest for suits, and how I fear that may one day lead to a bullying episode or two, touched my readers in a way I didn’t expect. My favorite post? Frankly, I love it whenever Mommylibrium takes the spotlight. Her posts are always on target, savvy and filled with great information. I’m so proud of her writing, and I view all of my work projects as a team effort, so her entries feel like a tag team effort (especially since I edit her copy!)
Links: 

- What 3 tips would you give to dads or expectant dads to help them on their quest into fatherhood
1. Relax. It’s not rocket science. It’s harder, actually, but it can be done with enough love, grit and togetherness.
2. Forget everything you think you know about fatherhood. I always thought I’d be a great dad. I had rock solid parents, couldn’t wait to have a child and knew I’d give the gig my all. It proved much harder than I expected, and each day is full of humbling moments.
3. Ask for directions. Men are often teased for being unwilling to ask for help. Ask. Ask again. Your fellow dads will offer great information as well as the kind of support you’ll need in the darkest of times.

- What’s the best thing about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?) 
- Selfishly, I love living life again through my children’s eyes. I’ll watch “Star Wars” for the 86th time, but when my sons are watching it with me it feels like the first time all over again. Same goes for those first few tentative spins on a bicycle sans training wheels. But my favorite part of being a dad is making a difference with my kids, and at the very least making them laugh. My sons’ smiles are magic.

- What’s the biggest challenge(s) about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?) 
Time management is huge. I can’t overstate how tough it is to get everything done on a given day. That said, Ben’s tantrums are the stuff of legends, and I’m still learning new ways on how to deal with them. Some days I even get it right.

- What message would you like to give to The Dad Network readers? 
What a wonder it is to live in 2014 and be able to get great parenting advice via the web and social media. Our parents and grandparents didn’t have that option, and I’m so grateful to be part of a network of dads who are there for each other in good, bad and ugly times.
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