Becoming a dad

I just become a dad and writing down my things that helped me prepare and overcome stress. I hope you find them valuable.

All babies cry - between the theory and practice

25 Oct 2019 ~6 minutes read » wellbeing

It was a tough day. Our baby boy was almost three weeks old, and this was the first time when he was fussy for most of the day. Most of his naps were really short. He was asking for feeds more frequently than so far, taking only an hour or less break between them. In the afternoon, he started crying like the end of the world had just happened, and we couldn’t console him at all. He would only stop crying while he was feeding or being close to mum’s chest. These were our only options…

I must admit it was a challenge for both of us. Ironically, we had been watching an online course about infancy just before that happened. The course offered all sorts of tips and tricks on how to soothe and console a baby. If only our baby boy watched the same video… I mean, those tips are great, except when the hell breaks loose and instead of sweet Hollywood baby cry you hear tormented goat shriek coming out of your own baby. Then you start doubting every theory you picked up so far and do whatever does soothe a baby… You might also begin to question a few decisions you made in life…

That event put a lot of stress on us. We were hopelessly lost, attempting different things and getting angry on ourselves and each other when they failed, one after another. Eventually, we got to the point when we tried to do something different than the other person intended, which added even more to the overall anxiety. Instantly, the bits of confidence we gained in those first two weeks were gone, and we found ourselves completely incompetent.

Finally, we decided to call for help. Partly because we didn’t know what to do, partly because we started to worry if such cry is a sign of something serious. Since it wasn’t an emergency and we couldn’t tell any other symptoms we called Tresillian parenting hotline (https://www.tresillian.org.au/)

On the other end of the line, a genial person informed us about a concept called PURPLE Crying (http://purplecrying.info) and offered few techniques to break our baby’s 1-hour feed-fuss cycle, he was going through Following the advice, utterly heartbroken, I kept him crying in my arms for a time long enough for him to settle, and mum to recover from an extended duty this day. Before we did it, we made sure he was well-fed and clean. All I could think of was that I really wanted to comfort him that I’m there for him, so I talked to him gently and sang a little. He’d eventually fallen asleep on my chest, and I was terrified to move him, so we stayed like that for over two hours.

Of course, letting him sleep on my chest was highly not recommended approach by every source we read and heard. Still, we couldn’t think of anything different so patiently monitored him while he slept this way.

IMPORTANT

Situations like that can be exhausting, don’t risk falling asleep while hugging baby to your chest… Also, read about the safe sleeping https://rednose.org.au/section/safe-sleeping

Back to the story, the advice we got from Tresillian worked. It worked then, maybe because it actually worked, maybe because of coincidence, or maybe because there was some discomfort that went away while we were holding him. The fact we frequently miss about parenting theories and approaches is they have their boundaries, and it’s hard to determine whether they are working for your baby unless you repeat them enough times to see a pattern emerging.

What I wanted to say is, these days will come, and nothing can truly prepare us for them. People say “don’t worry, all babies cry” and we nod to that. We accept the fact when it comes to general babies population. However, hearing our own baby crying is often horrifying. Some parenting theories and pieces of advice might simply not work with your baby. Others would require repetition to achieve any glimpse of success. Jumping hectically from one to another doesn’t help. (Or even might worsen the situation as we start doubting whether we do everything as theory says; or there is something wrong with us or the baby that prevents a silver bullet theory from working…)

The only thing that served me so far was acknowledging the fact that we will be clueless at times, and my baby is… just a baby. A tiny human with no ill intentions and limited ways to communicate their feelings. Also, the three of us is the closest and most reliable support network we can ever build. A network that allows us offering strength to each other when things are getting stressful, and eventually calming down ourselves and our baby.

Stay calm, support each other, hard days will come and they will go, and you’re going to be just fine.

Today’s lessons:

  • The first time your baby goes into unconsolable cry is though, it’s heartbreaking, and no theory can prepare for that.
  • Knowing that all babies cry and hearing your own crying that tears your soul into pieces are two different >things.
  • You’re a team, stepping on each other toes and arguing over approaches creates even more stress.
  • Staying calm can be very effective on its own. Babies are potent mirrors of our own moods. Be there for your baby, they will cry and make soul-shattering noises, but all they have is us, and we should do our best and not add to their stress.
  • Call for help if you feel like you need one, get all the numbers from your caregiver or GP and use them.