Daddy Lessons Bites! When Babies Use Hyper Voice AKA Crying Like Crazy!
Okay, okay I guess only Pokemon fans know the Hyper Voice recipe . Heey, I AM a young dad after all! Besides, Hyper Voice is usually NEVER super effective anyways.
But irregardless of where the reference came from, we've all been at that point somewhere in our lives as young parents--only its not a Pokemon, its our baby. Or babies. Using Hyper Voice. Or in layman's terms, extremely loud, piercing, bone-chilling, ear-drum smashing crying like crazy. I just survived one episode as I type this.
Now you may be wondering, what kinda parent sits through an infant crying like crazy because he's too busy blogging on the computer?
The kind of parent that asks the following 5 questions first.
An infant cries simply because it is the only way he/she can communicate. Thus, an infant cries when he is upset, when he is hungry, when he is sleepy, tired, restless, or if something is not right.
The challenge for us as parents, especially young parents, is to understand that our babies cry because this is the only way they can tell us if something is wrong, and not because they want to annoy us or bother us. I'm not perfect, and I most certainly have had my moments, but I recall a young mother on the bus SWEARING at her baby because it was crying, saying stuff like "Why the f*ck won't you shut up? Stop doing this! Aargh this is so annoying!"
And really, most likely all she had to do was take the baby out of the stroller and hold it in her arms.
My point is, before we overreact and start going bonkers at our babies, ask yourself these 5 questions first.
1.) Has The Baby Been Fed?
Hunger has always been the #1 reason babies cried. It's a biological response of many baby animals who are unable to feed itself: It will try to locate its mother for sustenance, and it does that by crying.
Many parents immediately assume that a crying baby is a hungry baby. Not always true. Instead, try to remember the last time the baby has been fed, how much was fed and how long it has elapsed since the baby was fed. For example, Alphonse is turning 3 months old, and usually chugs a good 180 ml of formula every feeding, stopping to burp 2-3 times. Based on his previous feeding habits, he feeds every 2-4 hours. The best way to test if your baby is hungry when crying? Curl your index finger and put it next to his mouth. If he tries to suck on it (or at least reach it) then he may be hungry, so try feeding him.
Now since Alphonse started crying like crazy, it's only been 1.5 hours since he fed earlier, meaning he's not hungry. And in this episode, he wasn't. So I moved on to Question #2.
2.) Has The Baby's Diaper Been Changed?
This is the 2nd question you should ask yourself. If the baby is still crying and he's not hungry, check his diaper. Is it full? Some babies, like Alphonse, hate having even barely any excess moisture in his diaper. If the diaper isn't quiet full, try putting some baby powder on their bums before putting the diaper back on to give them a soft, dry feeling.
In this situation, Alphonse didn't have a full diaper. So after applying a little powder to his bum, I had hoped he would stop, but he didn't. So I moved on to Question #3.
3.) Does The Baby's Seem Sick? Are There Anything That May Indicate An Illness?
The best way to check for Question #3 is to do a full-on body scan. Look at the baby's eyes and see for anything strange. Check his temperature if he's running a fever. Press against his tummy--is it soft? hard? Did he react when you touched it? Gently press his arms, thighs, bum, hands--see if he reacts more. One of the most common reasons babies cry is gas and colic, and neither are easy to diagnose. Another common reason babies cry is the beginning of teething, when their gums can get sore. This one is a bit easier to diagnose with symptoms (drooling, the tooth actually appearing). If you suspect colic or gas, give the baby some Ovol. Ovol is an over-the-counter drug that helps release gas buildup in a baby's stomach.
In Alphonse's case, I realized that he hadn't burped twice yet, and that gently pressing his tummy seemed to bother him more. So I gave him 0.25 ml of Ovol and made him lie down on his tummy. Soon enough, he started farting like a whoopie cushion. Thinking it was over, I put him back in his rocker, only to have the crying return a short while later. Okay, time for Question #4.
4.) Is The Baby Comfortable?
I personally can't sleep unless the pillow I'm using is soft...but not too soft. If we as adults can get fussy so easily, especially when it comes to rest, imagine how it is for babies! Some parents simply wrap their child up and place them in the crib like a shawarma waiting to be eaten. Not cool. Have you checked the crib? Is the mattress hard? Or perhaps the baby is swaddled in too much clothes/too little clothes? Has the baby had a shower? I personally find babies who have showered are easier to calm down and soothe. See if you can figure out why he's still upset.
It had been a pretty warm day--even I was sweating--and then I realized Alphonse had overall pj's. So I decided to take them off, and sure enough his crying calmed down a bit. At this point I realized that "YES" was the answer to Question #5.
5.) When Did The Baby Last Have A Nap? Is It Time For A Nap?
The moment Alphonse started farting, I had an idea of what the reason may be behind the Hyper Voice attack I was enduring. Taking off his overall PJ's in a way helped confirm it. So all I did next was take him in my arms, and held him until ALAS! he fell asleep.
When did the baby last have a nap? Sometimes babies may find it hard to fall asleep depending on outside circumstances. Some babies find noise more sleep-inducing than pitch silence, and some like it to be pitch silence. Maybe the sun's too bright, or the TV is too loud.
The easiest way to put a baby to sleep is to hold them in your arms in a way where your arms form some kind of cradle, and cradle him slowly. This cradling sensation that helps a baby sleep is the same mechanism at work for when people find themselves falling asleep in the train/tram/subway.
This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it the "ultimate" list. Over time, more reasons, explanations and causes will be added to this list. But this basic list at least helps you determine that 1.)your baby is not in immediate danger, and helps you realize that 2.)Crying is the only way a baby can communicate. Adjust yourself to their level; don't expect them to be the ones to adjust to you, the parent. YOU CAN DO IT. It just takes extra time and practice, and soon you'll be able to hone in on why your baby is crying like crazy in as close time as possible.
And I'll be glad to report that after all that, Alphonse eventually fell asleep. I then moved him to his crib upstairs. And after a good half hour or so, FINALLY, the Hyper Voice attack was over. At least, oh for the next 2-3 hours...