Husband unable to deal with baby crying

(44 Posts)
gloucestergirl Thu 31-May-12 21:36:41

I'm not sure where to put this, but as it is about baby crying and how to deal with it thought here would be good enough.

In a nut shell: we have a 3 month old who is gorgeous but does throw the odd screaming fit - usually because she is tired. I have tried to introduce a bed-time routine and it has been a bit of an ordeal. She really fights sleep if we miss the cues.

Anyway, my husband just can't handle the crying. It really upsets him after a few minutes (DD can go on for over an hour). He gets very tense and angry, so I end up with the baby again to soothe. As she is getting older I think that she is sensing how upset he is so gets more upset herself, and so starts a vicious circle.

I have tried everything to help DH to calm down, techniques to help him cope, a stern 'pull yourself together' talk, offered sympathy. But I am knackered. I deal with her from the early mornings to the bedtime. DH helps out during the easy/fun times. I need him to help during the tough times too. But it is actually at the point where I don't trust him with her alone when she is crying. I am actually ashamed to admit that he loses his temper with her and has started swearing at her. Also any advice is interpreted as a telling-off.

Has anyone else had any experience of this and suggestions of how to deal with it?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sat 05-Jan-13 08:38:49

JadeWolf, it might be a good idea to start your own thread? I think you might be able to get quite a lot of useful advice on here, but your post is a wee bit lost on this thread.

Up at the top of the page^ just under where it says "Topics >> Behaviour/Development" is 'Start a new thread in this topic', if you click on that it will open up a shiny new box for you. Or it might actually be better to start it in 'Relationships', but up to you.

Sorry if you already know all that, don't know how much time you spend on here!

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 04-Jan-13 22:02:55

JadeWolf if you're on the lease, perhaps you can ask him to leave? Or could you talk privately to your landlord? Or just go - your child's safety is so much more important than anything else. I assume she is not your boyfriend's daughter? This puts her at much greater risk of being hurt by him sad

pinkpudding Fri 04-Jan-13 21:53:18

Oh I could have written this post myself. My sympathies that you're having such a shit time when if you were like me, you had dreamed it was going to be all happy families. Ime time heals so much and men are much better with kids than babies.

JadeWolf Fri 04-Jan-13 21:39:14

To BeerTricksPotter and falalalalagirl, thank you for your comments and suggestions. I do agree completely. I'm going to try to bring up again the doctor or something to find help for him when he's in a fairly good mood instead of right after a 'fit'. See I know I love him completely and I know she loves him too. But I signed a lease, I can't just leave like he has told me to already in his anger. If I did me and her would be back on the street again. I just got an amazing job and might possibly get a better one. The ONLY thing that sucks so much about this guy is his temper. Reminds me of beauty and the beast. So again I will try other solutions and possibly find a way to help this issue.

falalalalagirl Thu 03-Jan-13 15:41:09

Jade, I think your BF needs to get some help to sort things out in the long term. Your daughter is only a toddler and is going to carry on having tantrums for a while probably, that is stressful enough without you worrying about your BF's tantrums too! And how the hell is he going to cope when she's a teenager and she's really challenging him and pushing his buttons?

My DH also has some fairly major anger management problems but eventually had the sense to see the doctor and has been diagnosed with depression and has got some ADs. He still gets quite stressy with my our DCs but he is getting better so I have lots of sympathy with your situation.

It's not your responsibility to "tame" your BF; he is responsible for his own moods and mental well-being. You are responsible for yourself and the two of you are jointly responsible for your DD.

Please tell him to sort himself out or, as BeerTricksPotter said, just leave. It's not fair on you or your daughter.

mummy2lola Thu 03-Jan-13 15:08:26

My oh was pretty similar with our dd, mow 2mo. I the early days when she cried and cried and we couldn't figure out why, he used to get very frustrated, but now he's actually better at calming her than I am!!! It's brilliant. He swaddled her. Puts her down with her soother, talks calmly to her and strokes her hair and nose and she drifts off to sleep just like that- I've tried this myself, but she won't do it for me!! He'll find a way of settling her if given the opportunity and put in a position to, and once he finds it, it will be a huge confidence boost for him. Hope this helps - mum of a 2mo who now sleeps 9 hours at night!!!!! Would never have thought it.... Seemed like we'd never sleep again!!!

This is quite an old thread btw, but I couldn't pass JadeWolf's post without commenting as it was very worrying.

teacher123 Wed 02-Jan-13 18:58:33

brettgirl I am so pleased to read your post! DS will not be comforted to sleep in any way, shape or form. Rocking, patting, shhing, dummies, PUPD, hand holding, stroking etc etc all met with horrific wailing and outrage. If I (or anyone else) is in the room with him he will not sleep. He will sleep if rocked in the buggy or in the car but only if he cannot see me. Over Xmas we shared a room with him and I had to sleep with my back to him, as soon as he caught a glimpse of me, that was it!

I hope your DH manages to find a coping strategy to deal with the crying..

Jade, your bf needs to deal with his anger or leave. At the very least, if he starts to feel anger when your DD is having a tantrum or crying then he needs to leave the room/house immediately until he has calmed down.

You shouldn't have to be calming a 2.5 year old down because you are scared another adult in the vicinity will lose their temper!

JadeWolf Wed 02-Jan-13 18:45:55

My daughter is 2.5 almost 3 now. I'm not sure if it's my parenting or what to do. My bf is an awesome role model and perfect to me and her otherwise. But when she starts crying and screaming over nothing for more than a few minutes is when the wolf in him comes out. He does start yelling and cussing even throwing things and nothing seems to calm him down. So I have to try to calm her down as quick as possible. Which like many know can be hard to do especially when someone else is yelling and cussing about it. I'm trying to find ways around it. Maybe me and her going around the block or something. Yes we know he has a anger issue but won't listen to me about going to anger management. As far as her crying goes, I've read some useful tips I will try. Such as distracting her with something else or giving her something to do to help me. I hope these tactics help.
I wish there was some way or something I could say to help him realize she's only two and it will pass. Not automatically saying she's my kid and telling me to leave as a first 'resolution' for him being upset.
After the outburst and she hasn't been crying for a bit do things calm down and everything goes back to normal. No he doesn't do this very often, only a few outbreaks. Maybe I can tame him as well as get my daughter to stop crying so much.

candr Sat 02-Jun-12 19:58:42

OP, my DH was exactly the same. On some cases he would put DS in crib and come downstairs saying he couldn't deal with it. He knw that pissed me off and I had stern words about we can't both behave like that so why should he.
He really struggles to understand that you need to teach babies to sleep and over tiredness is a huge deal for them. Our DS also had colic for first 3 months and annoyingly is still awful sleeper (now 8m)
Pleased to say though that DH is much better at dealing with him when crying most of the time and we try to relieve eachother if it goes on for over 30 min. The record is 3 hours (and yes he was cuddled, rocked, sung to, laid down etc in that time not left on his own for more than a few min)
He finds it hard that DS will often stop much quicker for me but I bf and am SAHM so do 90% of tme with DS. He understands but it is sill hard so I try to make sure he enjoys some relaxed playtime with DS to help them reconnect rather than a tired baby at end of the day. Am completley knackered but we are going to use next 3 days to sleep train as DH has no work so can finally share night shift with me. It does get better but that doesn;t really help you now I am afraid other than to say I completely understand how you feel. (having said that I have shouted at DS at 3am when he just won't sleep and I was to tired to cope - felt awful but woke DH up and dumped screaming baby on him while I sat outside for 15 min to calm down before trying again. Think almost helped DH to see that I found it hard too sometimes)

Nikkim30 Sat 02-Jun-12 11:38:02

Narmada, how old was your baby when he stopped crying so much? Mine has severe reflux too although it is now under control (8 months), and only today my husband was threatening to fake report us to social services in the hope they take her away (hopefully joking but not too sure!).

Nikkim30 Sat 02-Jun-12 08:59:35

Exactly the same as my husband - the things he has said in anger I wouldn't repeat. The only thing that helped a bit is when he meets with other dads, and they talk and share experiences. Is there a dads club near you. Then he may realise that your baby isn't the only one that cries. Babies are usually better when they are out as well.

Feeling your pain. Xx

brettgirl2 Sat 02-Jun-12 08:42:35

My daughter did that at 3 months it was awful. They do cry when they are tired and this daily crying time is common. It may or may not be to do with colic as well.

All this 'rocking them to sleep'/ 'feeding to sleep'/ 'stroking head'/ 'soothing' stuff did not work for us with either of our daughters. I unfortunately didn't manage to breastfeed either but definitely they would not bottle feed to sleep they just screamed cos they were tired not hungry.

With DD2 the only way we could get her to sleep was to put her down in her cot screaming, walk away for 5 minutes. Then after 5 minutes go back in pick her up, soothe her and she would go to sleep. We discovered this accidentally when having been trying to soothe her while she screamed for 20 minutes one of us started to lose it, and had to put her down and walk away. It was as if she needed that time to scream, it was just horrible and went against everything you ever read.

I'm sure someone will come along and say that she would have been better off screaming for 2 hours being held by me or dh and by putting her down for a few minutes I will have damaged her for life but to me a crying baby is an upset baby so I disagree. I think people forget very fast what it is like having a very young baby.

I hated it but it does pass she's now 5 months and goes to bed happily with barely a wimper. The problem is that you can rock them/feed them but you can't actually make them sleep. Both of mine had to learn to self settle as it was the only way they would sleep. DD1 was easier because she was impossible to soothe to sleep at all and learnt to self settle at about 8 weeks hmm I fell about laughing when one of the girls at nursery told me at 11 months they had tried to rock her to sleep (it didn't work unsurprisingly).

Of course all babies are different.......

narmada Fri 01-Jun-12 20:55:36

Oh mewkins I am so glad we're not the only ones. I was afraid we would sound like heartless parents but really it was just about survival smile

mewkins Fri 01-Jun-12 20:44:31

I second the suggestion of giving him an ipod to listen to or some ear defenders if he can't take the crying! worked for us!

empirepenguin Thu 31-May-12 23:09:40

I had never heard about that theory before 'focusing on/feeling own pain from childhood', but makes huge sense for me too. My DH had a lot of stress and difficult emotions around him during very early childhood and was eventually abandoned by his crap dad. He eventually realised that this was what was upsetting him and not our DS.

He was kind of unknowingly following in his dads painful footsteps until we had long, good old fashioned, talks about it. Don't always need counseling but could help if DH is willing (often people can be reluctant). I do believe its worth a try to tackle as a couple. Isn't your responsibility but if you cope more easily why not use tact and the love you have for him and try to help your partner.

Some tough love approaches on here too though. You'll know which one is likely to work best for you...

StrangerintheHouse Thu 31-May-12 22:48:38

The theory goes that you are so distressed by the crying because you are focusing on your own painful feelings, rather than working out what you can do for your baby. Sorry I really can't remember where I read this but it made a lot of sense to me at the time.

He's going to have to find a way to not be his dad - in my case, me not be my mum, its been hard but I really feel I've largely escaped from that pattern of behaviour.

Timandra Thu 31-May-12 22:43:01

Some babies do cry for long periods no matter what you do. It is a dreadful experience when you have done everything in your power to soothe and satisfy your distressed child and he or she is still screaming blue murder. It really isn't helpful to suggest that it's something the mother is doing wrong. There are very few people who wouldn't do everything they can to soothe a crying baby.

OP I think your DH has a bit of growing up to do. It isn't your responsibility and it's probably not within your capabilities to help him sort this out. He needs to work it out for himself or perhaps get professional help.

Maybe he needs some help with anger management or some counselling. Perhaps he just needs to be mature enough to realise that being a parent means your own feelings no longer come first. I would suggest he sees his GP if he can't sort it out himself.

Whatever it is think very carefully about whether you feel deep down that your baby is safe with him at these times. Follow your instincts because they are usually right.

One thing is for sure. Parenting does not get any easier and if he can't keep his temper now he will not find it any easier further down the line. She will scream, cry, whinge, complain, backchat, etc for the next 20 years or so and your DH needs to learn to handle more appropriately. She will learn to push his buttons and he needs to learn to stay calm and in control. If he doesn't all three of you are in for a very rough ride.

narmada Thu 31-May-12 22:36:28

Ok, now this is a bit of a peculiar suggestion but please understand a) it worked for us at a desparate time and b) DS had severe reflux and various other issues and cried a great deal and very loudly c) I was debilitated with PND.

DS found some, ahem, industrial ear defenders in the garage. He wore them to stop himself getting totally wound up and to enable him to do his bit and to offer some sort of physical comfort and closeness to our son.

Like moonlight's BIL, DH had an almost physical reaction to our son's crying. The ear defenders helped him do his bit without feeling overwhelmed.

gloucestergirl Thu 31-May-12 22:35:35

Thanks for your replies. It has made me realise that it is probably due to frustration and feeling out of control. Although it is very interesting that StrangerintheHouse mentioned being distressed as a baby, which DH was very much apparently and had a very reluctant angry father. I'm sure amateur psychologist would say that alone explained it all.

We do mix feeding, although mostly bf, and DH does give the baby a bottle at night, which he loves doing. She cries mostly to do with sleep - not feeding. I guess we need to work together on sleep routines and I need to work on my patience and understanding. I have to admit that I have taken the "grow up or fuck off" route before. Very satisfying at the time, but it didn't really help.

Thank god I can moan properly on mumsnet. It is so bloody exhausting having an actual baby and a man-baby with an ego like eggshells to deal with. But will focus on his positive points - of which there are many - thank god!

PS Bf our little one when she not hungry only leads to more tears. It isn't the solution to everything.

ThisIsMummyPig Thu 31-May-12 22:34:18

Sorry, but your baby is very young, and tiredness comes with the territory. My first daughter cried contstantly, and I just dealt with it because it wasn't fair leaving DH to deal with a crying breastfed baby.

By the time I had the second one, i was just glad if he could look after the first one.

If he can look after your child during the good times, then get him to do that, and rest then. DD2 is 2 now and DH has only put her to bed once. He is very supportive and in many ways a perfect father, but my babies at least want me when their tired.

My BIL is like this - isn't not that he doesn't want to help, or feels helpless/frustrated, it's that he actually feels pain from the sound and had to leave the house, let alone the room on occasion. That said, he is brilliant in every other way - getting up at stupid o'clock, playing, etc.

Could it be possible your DH is having a physical reaction, rather than a mental one? In BIL's case the doctor's think it's something to do with his dyslexia.

They don't have a solution for it, but I think knowing what might be causing the reaction helped both DSis and BIL to re-organise the child-handling duties without too much resentment (took them a while, unsurprisingly).

Good luck and hope you do find a solution.

FredFredGeorge Thu 31-May-12 22:30:41

How much time as he had alone with her up until now? If you're always there (especially if you're breast feeding) then he'll never had a chance to find a method of soothing that works for him. DP can just bf, but even when she doesn't DD responds completely differently on things than from me, I needed to learn my own techniques. If you're always there, giving your methods that work, it may well be that it just doesn't work the same, he smells different, his temperature is different etc. etc.

bibbitybobbitybunny Thu 31-May-12 22:27:05

Peeling - yes, I have had two extremely colicky babies who cried for hours and hours on end.

But I think if your baby is still suffering from colic (which is probably not all that common at 3 months) then it is not a good time to try and get them into an "evening routine".

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