My Angry Reaction to Crying: A Plea To Ask-A-Coach and a Solution
I love my new son. I feel horrible at the way I feel when he cries even a little. I have researched and found things that help me feel better, but I am dreading tonight when he cries and I am afraid that I may get mad. I don't think I would ever shake him or anything, and I can't let on to my wife because she counts on me for 1/2 the baby duty. I can be feeling great and confident going in, but the second he cries, my face gets hot and I become "less gentle." I will try forever to get this under control and I am beating myself up to no end over it. It’s all I can think about. I am a first time Dad and am surprised at myself and ashamed. I love him and don't want to be a horrible Dad and make him hate me. Please, I have counted to 10 again and again and again. Am I nuts?
The crying bothers a lot of guys, and the more they care about their child, the more concerned they get. So mark yourself in the caring a lot category, which is fundamental to becoming a great dad.
Now for dealing with your anxiety over the crying: Keep in mind that in its simplest form, it is just a chemical reaction in your brain, triggered by something that makes you extra sensitive to your child's crying, which even the hint of can set you off. Suggestions for getting it handled: First, change something in how you respond to your baby's crying - like walking around the block with him in the stroller with you wearing headphones. Turn the volume up, and smile knowing that you have found at least one way to get on top of this crying thing. Then set a goal of becoming the expert on dealing with crying - check out our Troubleshooter's Guide to Crying Babies, which essentially is being proactive in learning to calm your baby. Use your imagination as a guy to create techniques to calm him; babies are fascinated and distracted by anything new, and so take him to the garage and show him your tools. Guy's are amazed when their crying anxiety turn's into a feeling of "dad to the rescue!" as you come up with ideas that work (Canadian indigenous dads use drums to calm their babies).
Mention to your wife how much you love him, and the only real challenge is that his crying grates on your nerves. It will help to "get it off your chest" and alert her to the need to play tag team when crying is an issue. Ask her what is toughest for her, and how you can help.
Finally, give it time. Most crying (especially colic) is over by three months, this issue will become a distant memory, and you will have discovered lots of other ways to be a great dad.
After this response, he had this to say:
I really have to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Everything has literally changed overnight. We took a walk around the block, and when he cried, I decided to try to help him figure it out instead of letting it grind on me. The change of venue put things in perspective somehow. I burped him and got a big one, and he stopped crying. We then explored the neighborhood together for about an hour. During the night, he cried hard and I "came to the rescue" again. We figured it out together. He didn't cry for hours after that and actually smiled at me for the first time. I did a "double shift" and let her sleep the whole night because I wanted to be with my son. If he started to cry, we got through it. There is nothing like the resource I have found with Newdads.com. There was something in the things you said that turned it around, I can't put my finger on any one thing, just the response you gave was on point. I cannot thank you enough, my friend. I learned to swaddle from a newdads.com video and handed my wife a fed, clean, happy and sleeping baby before I went to work. Thank you again, you have no idea the impact you have made.