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The Single Dad Survival Guide: How To Beat The Crying Game
Cry Me A River
Crying sucks. I'm sure there is some scientific reason as to why we do it but other than looking cool in slow motion for a movie I find it useless. You know who doesn't think it's useless though? YOUR BABY. In fact, your baby is going to do a lot of crying before they start talking and they may even find a way to incorporate the two if your unlucky enough. Don't sweat it Single Dad, as usual, I got you covered on what to do when your baby is crying.
The great thing about babies is that they are extremely easy to please. I know it may not seem like it because, well, the crying, but trust me they don't want much. Before I bestow upon you the secret to life though you must do yourself a huge favor. You must PROMISE to be patient. If you can stay true to that then we can conquer this baby crying thing with no problem.
1 - Babies can't talk, right? If they could then chances are they will tell you that they are HUNGRY. If your little one is making more noise than a space shuttle launch make them a quick bottle to see if that helps. Babies eat a lot and when that little tummy starts to growl the only way they know how to stop it is to let you know by screaming their little heads off. You'll want to pay particularly to the type of cry your baby is making as well. It will be different for every child so I can't help you on this one. Learn which cry is for what and you'll know what time it is from another room should your little tyke decide to start wailing.
2 - You ever get completely drenched in the rain? Maybe you have a shirt that's is super itchy? Sucks right? Well guess what? Babies don't like that either! If baby is making all types of noise it could mean that it's time for a diaper change. AGAIN, listen for the type of crying. Something could be irritating your little one and they just don't have the means to stop it. Make sure they have a dry diaper and nothing in their clothes is poking them. Also, make sure the diaper isn't too tight. If baby is uncomfortable that means YOU will be uncomfortable. If mini you dropped a load off in that diaper and it stinks then make sure you get it all off of them, that means wiping everywhere. Yes, EVERYWHERE. Poop stinks and your baby doesn't like the smell just like you don't like the smell. Handle that man!
3 - I've got your attention right about now, don't I? Well ya know what? Maybe you should be paying more attention to your baby! Babies love ATTENTION! Not only do they love it but they NEED it! Since they can't tell you "Hey, come play with me!" or "Hey, Dad, pick me up I want to look at you!" They do it the best way they know how by letting everyone on the block know. Take the time to play with them, talk to them, do something so that they know you are with them. Remember Dad, you are their rock! They are looking to you to feel safe. Don't let them down.
4 - I wish I knew the science behind this but as of yet I don't know why a sleepy baby won't just go to SLEEP. They will fight sleep as it they caught it stealing from them! This is something you must pay close attention to. A lot of babies have a tell that let's you know they are sleepy. Check to see if baby occasionally rubs their eyes or yawns often. Now this is where that patients you promised yourself you had earlier kicks in at. There are multiple ways to handle this so I'll try to break it down as best I can. Try dimming the lights and getting turning the tv down. Not off, but down. A little ambient noise never hurt anyone and if you plan on staying awake once baby is down, you don't want them jumping back up because of a noise on tv. Let them get used to the sound and it'll eventually blend right in with everything else. Rocking baby is good too. I often sing a little melody like the ABC's song and then mix it in with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Why? Because both songs have the same melody and you can loop them endlessly. The rhythm will help to establish a pattern which should help baby to doze off.
Now, while this is happening you should begin to see some signs of them getting sleepier. I encourage talking and soft singing because you want them to get used to noise, just in case something happens like your phone ringing. Once you've got a pattern and you can see that sleep is near, get ready for the handoff. This is where you take your baby from resting comfortably on your chest to in their crib (or whatever sleep space you've got for them.) This is SUPER TRICKY because any movements that are not timed well could result in your little one waking back up and you having to start the process all over again. By this time baby has gotten used to your warmth and the noise. Gently (and SLOWLY) place them down on a soft spot and cover them up to their neck with a soft blanket. Keep singing even after you've placed them down then try your best to creep away like a ninja! Keep an eye out though because baby might not be all the way in la-la land just yet. Stay close by and when you think its safe, make a break for it!
Bear in mind these are some general rules but by all means, and I can't stress this enough, if you're finding that they crying is getting on your last nerve and you can't take it do the following:
- Place your little one in their crib
- Exit the room
- Close the door
- Breathe for five minutes.
- Man up
- Get back in there and start the process again.
You can not handle your baby with a negative attitude. It's not healthy for either of you. Remember, they want something and it is YOUR JOB to help them. You wouldn't want someone yelling at you when all you're asking for is help, right? Don't take it out on them. As Dad's we are supposed to be strong and that means not letting things get to us, even a little crying. You got this!