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Husband unable to deal with baby crying

(50 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?

DeterminedandSpecialMum Thu 31-May-12 21:42:24

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.

DeterminedandSpecialMum Thu 31-May-12 21:43:58

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

GnocchiNineDoors Thu 31-May-12 22:08:37

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.

MoonlightandRoses Thu 31-May-12 22:30:55

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.

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