How to Not Destroy a Baby.

Strategy > Safe Baby Handling Tips

Are you a parent? Let me tell you, it’s terrifying. Scary at the least. If you are one, you know what I’m talking about. You’re so nervous and excited and, well, clueless. Because if it’s your first, you have no real idea what you’ve gotten yourselves into. And that’s a fact that becomes more and more clear as you careen toward your due date. When Kelly and I were expecting, I was just scared. She was terrified.

FINAL:  The cover of the expanded version of   Safe Baby Handling Tips.   On the cover is a miniature, simplified version of another product I designed for Wrybaby – The Wheel of Responsibility.

FINAL: The cover of the expanded version of Safe Baby Handling Tips. On the cover is a miniature, simplified version of another product I designed for Wrybaby – The Wheel of Responsibility.

When I was 14, my parents decided they missed being parents (of really small, helpless people). So, they had my brother Josh. Then my sister, Lindsey, three years later. So being in middle school through high school with a couple of babies in the house would prove really helpful to me as a soon-to-be-dad. I knew how to feed and burp a baby, change diapers, and all that jazz. Meh, just like ridin’ a bike. I was in no way emotionally prepared (and who is the first time) for the shock of full time responsibility, but at least I had some exposure in the field. Kelly had none.

We did all the things you do as expecting parents. We read scary articles online, we bought books that were thick and boring, or thick and scary. We were the first of our hipster advertising friends to have a baby, so they were, hilariously, no help at all. We went to baby care classes, and to the requisite Lamaz classes. And finally, our hands about all wrung out, Kelly went into labor and everything changed. 

 Sorry, changed for the better, I mean. Kelly and I soon discovered a few important truths.

  1. Across the span of human history, all new new parents feel the same

  2. Caring for a baby is difficult, but it’s manageable and only gets easier with time

  3. You’ve got to be a fucking moron to really mess this up

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REVIEWS:  Our  Amazon reviews  are hilariously amazballs.

REVIEWS: Our Amazon reviews are hilariously amazballs.

TRUE:  The only foreign translation of  Safe Baby Handling Tips  – German. Take a look at that title on the cover! Hahahaha. Do I have to tell you I had nothing to do with the layout? So bad!

TRUE: The only foreign translation of Safe Baby Handling Tips – German. Take a look at that title on the cover! Hahahaha. Do I have to tell you I had nothing to do with the layout? So bad!

That last point, especially. That’s where Safe Baby Handling Tips came from. Look, as long as your intentions are good, and you’re a somewhat stable person, you really aren’t going to mess this up. At least not in the beginning. Oh, you’ve got all the time in the world to unintentionally destroy your child emotionally. But in the first year? Nah. You good.

We’d conceived (see what I did there) the concept of these “handling tips” about a week after bringing our new son home. Each illustrated tip was printed on a newborn item: a onesie (Playing with Baby); a hooded towel (Drying Baby); a diaper cover (Checking Baby’s Diaper); you get the idea. It’s very simple. Each scenario shows you a common parenting activity and what kind an absolute idiot you’d have to be to mess it up. Sort of gives you some perspective, no?

Anyhoo, we were in Wrybaby’s booth at the New York International Trade Fair when a couple of reps from Running Press strolled in. They asked me if I had any more of these tips to fill a book. “Of course!”, I said. I didn’t. But I sure did a week later when we sent them the packet of illustrations that would eventually become Safe Baby Handling Tips.

To date, Safe Baby Handling Tips is in it’s XX printing and has sold about XXX,XXX copies. It is also well reviewed on Amazon. The book has been translated into German because if anyone knows anything about comedy, it’s the Germans. And the illustrations have become an stubbornly enduring meme on the internets much to our pleasure and dismay.

DAVE SOPP – Creative

Yep, that’s me. I’ve got over 20 years of marketing strategy, graphic design, advertising art direction, and illustration experience. Want to use some of it? Email me at dave@davesopp.com