Dear New Dad…Gear Advice From Seasoned Dad, Felix Farrow

This week I hand over the blog to my husband. He willingly wanted to write about his thoughts on fatherhood and gear. So without further ado, I give you Felix Farrow, the love of my life…


Dear New Dad,

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I have finally made it to the promise land where my kids are old enough to go off and play by themselves for an hour. Unfortunately, it took five years, twenty pounds of weight gained, and a lot of gray hair to get here. And looking back I have some thoughts. One is that, money can’t solve your problems…..but it can make them go away for awhile. Here are five things I wish I had splurged on when the kids were younger:

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1. A second (and third) stroller – We bought a top of the line $800 stroller when our first was born. Since then we’ve bought three more. Each purchase killed me, and they will pain you too New Dad. But looking back, my wife was right to push for the back up (and back up to the back up) stroller. The basic trade off is size vs comfort. At first you buy a GB Pockit Stroller and think you are a genius because it’s so portable. Then the kid gets bigger and there stuff multiplies and you are SOL. Or maybe you started big with the Uppababy Vista and were riding in comfort….and then you tried to fly somewhere and went through the pain of lifting that thing through TSA. Either way, over time you’ll realize you probably need one big, one little, and maybe even one in between. Strollers are a lot like cars though, as soon as you drive it off the lot it starts depreciating. So you might splurge for the first one to be new, but when you get to the back up stroller and travel stroller it’s better to go used – you are not using them every day.

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2. A good baby monitor – Ever buy a cheap blue tooth speaker New Dad?  The one where you walk 10 feet away and it lose the connection?  Baby monitors are kind of the same – cheap & new is worse than expensive & used.  The two basic things you want are range and picture clarity. You may think you live in a small apartment and don’t need more than 10 feet of range – we did when we had our first. But then we went on vacation and rented a beautiful house by the beach with two other families…..and found one of us had to sit on the stairs with our crappy monitor until baby went night night. Same with picture clarity, you may think it doesn’t matter, baby will cry if something is wrong…..but inevitably you’ll find yourself staring at a low res black and white picture saying “is that my baby or a teddy bear”. Try this video monitor.

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3. A pack and play (even if I already had one) – If you have any hope of traveling these next few years New Dad, you need a pack and play that a) baby will sleep in and b) can be set up and collapsed without an engineering degree. Sadly these is a lot of trial and error involved in both. We went through three over the years, each kid had a different favorite and there was one I just could not get my head around (I am twisting and pulling the handle at the same time god dammit, why is it not collapsing????).  But once you get one that works it is a life saver. Also, word of advice: have no qualms about putting the baby to sleep in a pack and play in a large closet. It’s dark, enclosed, safe and close by.  Non-city people may judge, but it just makes so much more sense than having a fifteen point baby taking up a 150 square foot bedroom down the hall. Here is a great one for sale on Weepea – The Joovy New Room2 Playard — big enough for your biggest baby.

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4.  A nice nursing chair –  You are a New Dad, but a Dad none the less, and thus your brain automatically works like this: ” We need a ‘nursing chair’? OK, take the chair from the corner of the living room that no one sits in anyway – problem solved for free!”.  Sadly your wife (and you too once you start bottling feeding) will be sitting in this chair for hours on end over the next few years. And let’s be honest there is a reason that chair is in the corner of the living room and no one uses it – it looks OK but really it isn’t that comfortable. I (and my wife) wish we had upgraded to a nursing specific chair – the rocking, the footrest, the whole works. In theory it makes putting baby back to sleep easier. But honestly, you are not even paying for that part – you are paying for the time you end up stuck in the chair for three hours as baby sleeps. Good chair = nap time for you. Bad chair = back destroyed. Check back to Weepea for a nursing chair. New ones come on the site all the time.

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5.  A good bottle of whiskey –  Let’s be honest, New Dad – you are going to need a few of these to get through the next few years.

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Good luck New Dad and try not to gain twenty pounds in the coming years, they go on easier than they come off. Just remember to repeat the mantra: “I don’t need to eat the chicken nuggets and the mac and cheese my kids didn’t finish. It is OK to throw them away. It is OK to throw them away.”


Want to keep reading? Here are some thoughts on why you should buy secondhand baby gear.

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