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?

No advice really and hope someone comes along to help.

My DD2 5months old, makes noise before she goes to sleep and always has done. I think because I was BF her until she was 6weeks old (I ran out of milk then) I was always the one to deal with her & still do. I get extremely tired as she still has 1 or 2 wake ups in the night, which I also do. DP just let's me get on with it. He does bathtime for both our girls then I again do the rest. So for me it's a 24/7 thing but I just get on with it.

Sorry again for no advice really.

I think if your FF, then you should get DH to do last bottle of evening and then you do bedtime and see how you get on.

colditz Thu 31-May-12 21:46:19

He deserves a telling off, and he knows it, which is why he assumes you are giving him a telling off.

Tell him to grow up or fuck off.

JubileeTatWearer Thu 31-May-12 21:47:11

My DH can't handle either DC crying. If either cries in the car, we have to stop.

I just get on with it, to be honest. It gets better after the baby stage.


narmada Thu 31-May-12 21:48:34

Is he the sort of bloke who gets frustrated when he can't fix something or can't work things out? Could it be he is getting super-angry because he just can't make the crying stop and he feels out of control and angry? If so, maybe just recognising that's at the root of it might help, as well as being reminded that sometimes babies just cry for apparently no reason and there is sometimes nothing that can be done to soothe them smile

spammertime Thu 31-May-12 21:50:21

Are you bf? I know my DH finds it hard when he has to deal with a crying baby as he feels utterly powerless - this can be annoying as obviously they don't always need milk - but I do understand where he's coming from.

And agree it does get better.

bibbitybobbitybunny Thu 31-May-12 21:51:39

What do you mean by "DD can go on for over an hour?"

What is happening when she is crying for that long?

nocake Thu 31-May-12 21:57:35

I'm a dad to a 16 month old and can completely understand your DH's frustration. He wants to be able to stop your DD crying but nothing works and he feels powerless. Please tell him that he's not alone in feeling this way and as long as he avoids losing his temper with her it will get better. I can now deal with our DD when she cries as well as DW (actually better but don't tell her that wink)

blueglue Thu 31-May-12 22:01:40

It would really test my nerves to listen to a baby cry for an hour, not out of personal frustration but just wondering why the baby is crying. Why is she crying, is there no way you can help her during these times? If you are breastfeeding, that is usually a cure all?

empirepenguin Thu 31-May-12 22:02:01

My dh was very similar in the early weeks when it was all new. I think he felt helpless, frustrated and a 'bad father' if he couldn't sooth ds. I breastfeed though so ds tended to want me/the boob, which made dh feel all of the above again. I tended to just have a stern yet understanding word with dh at a more relaxed time & explained that the crying wasn't personal & babies cry to tell us they need something. Once he opened up it turned out his emotional state was more about his personal feelings/fears of parenthood & our changing relationship than about ds's tears & I think talking it through really helped both of us bond as parents.

Sorry but I think to say 'grow up or fuck off' is harsh imo. If you were struggling you'd presumably hope that he'd support you ?

I hope all works out for you both. x

I dont look for cues, I look at the clock. at 3 mo dd was lasting around one hour awake from when she last woke so if she got up at 8am, at 9am she was swaddled; dummy in and into her crib. She would then relax and drift off to sleep. If I ever thought "ill wait till she seens tired" i was rewarded with crying and needing to pace the floir with her.

at 5mo I now do it after 2 hours. Once she gets to 6mo ill bump it to 2 and a half.

if your dd usually naps an hour at a time, work backwards frim bedtime so if you want her asleep at 7 she needs to be awake by 6 so put down for a sleep at 5 and so on. that last hour 6-7 try nappy off time when she wakes for 15mins... bath for 15muns...massage lotions dressed 15 mins....feed then bed.

My dh found it hard knowing what she needed but by having these timings he's bow in the habit of 'well she woke at 8 its now 9.30am so ill offer her some milk as shell be going down at ten"

StrangerintheHouse Thu 31-May-12 22:10:44

Is this your first dc (together)?

Crying babies are really hard to listen to. But for some people its really really hard to handle (one theory is that if you were very distressed as a child/baby, its very upsetting for you to be faced with a baby that it is your job to calm down).

We were just talking the other day about how ds used to cry for hours and we used to tag team walking around with him, til he would accept bf and fall asleep. It was horrible but he grew out of it.

There are two choices really. Either try and confront him, explain he needs to take his turn etc.

Or accept he can't do this, or at least you can't trust him to do this and focus on what he can do to make your life easier - housework, bathtime, early morning walks so you can lie in.

narmada Thu 31-May-12 22:11:37

Breastfeeding is not always a cure-all, blueglue. Some babies will not settle whatever you do, and it can be extremely stressful and testing to parent these children in the early days.

God, how it used to irritate the hell out of me when I got that sanctimonious, po-faced look that said 'well obviously, you're not meeting your baby's needs, are you' every time I mentioned the hours of wailing.

spammertime Thu 31-May-12 22:16:18

To be fair, even if bf was a total cure (and I agree that it isn't), it doesn't exactly help the OPs husband, does it?!

Rowood Thu 31-May-12 22:17:17

My partner called our 14 week old naughty today because she cried for all of five minutes- she's teething. He wouldn't call his 8 year old daughter who is sometimes naughty "naughty". He doesn't see our baby all day and isn't interested in her unless she is smiling- the minute she has a little moan or cry he hands her back even if I am cooking.

PeelingmyselfofftheCeiling Thu 31-May-12 22:18:09

Crikey, none of you lot ever had colicy babies then?
Hours and hours of meltdown, cured only by getting into bed in a dark room together and lying her in my chest, and even then it could take ages. Not wind, or food, or temperature, or nappy, or pain, or loneliness, some babies DO just cry for ages.
Fortunately OP they do tend to grow out of it quite quickly. What's really key is that your dh realises that he needs to be grown up enough to deal with crying also, even if you decide between you that the colic nights isn't the best time for him to get involved.

exoticfruits Thu 31-May-12 22:24:17

I would tell him that babies cry. He is an adult and adults deal with it.
I think that he needs a parenting course because he has got about 18 years of the DC not acting in a way that he likes - he is not going to cope with the 2 year old tantrum or the 3 yr old shouting 'I hate you daddy!'
Is DH very young?
Does he normally get his own way?
Does he have general anger management issues?
Generally I would say - go out and leave him to it- but it sounds as if he can't be trusted, which is why he needs outside help.

TheHouseOnTheCorner Thu 31-May-12 22:26:35

Bedtime is bedtime and by three months you can start putting her down in a darkened room and she'll get used to it...same time every night not waiting for cues.

Same with naps. I'm not a routine follower in ANY other way but sleep is important for all and as fr your DH...he needs to pull himself together, it's too easy to get away with it when you say "I can't handle it."

What if YOU couldn't either OP? Then what? Ask him that!

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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!

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

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.......

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

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!).

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)

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.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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..

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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!!!

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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