It has been so long since i posted on here! Time has been busy lately. Oak is now nine months old, work is busy, I’m writing a book and I’m in my second year of uni!
I actually don’t have a picture of Oak crying. The title picture is him feeling sorry for himself during his first bout of man-flu at 8 months and the picture above is of him teething…but possibly crying as well…I can’t really remember. We have been lucky enough that Oak didn’t cry very much in the first few weeks. But when he did, it was our job to work out what he was crying about! As he got older, and I expect the same for you, the crying became more about tiredness. Or over tiredness. Those were troublesome but you generally find your way with those. I try as much as I can to help out when Oak cries. I want him to learn that I am there if he is upset. And if I am not enough. Super-mum is right behind me.
Hearing your baby crying will play a big part of your life over the next few months. There will be different types of crying and over time you will get used to all of them, you will also be able to pick up on the signs your baby makes before they even start crying. In this post we will go through each type, explaining why they are crying, what the signs are before they start crying and how to deal with crying.
Types of Crying
– The Hunger Cry
– The Sleepy Cry
– The ‘I need a poo!’ Cry
– The Uncomfortable Cry
– The Pain Cry
– The ‘I don’t know but something made me cry and that’s going to make me cry more and OMG that noise is frightening so I’ll cry more and OH I CANT STOP WAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (catch breathe) WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!’ Cry that seems to never end.
The Hunger Cry is an obvious one. Your baby is hungry and the only way to communicate they are hungry is to cry. Your baby doesn’t know just yet that he is hungry, he just simply feels an ache in his body which we would interpret as hunger pains and for a new baby, that is a new and horrible feeling that he would not have had in the womb. As they get a little older they become more able to deal with the feeling of hunger and will try to get your attention, either by what sounds like fake coughing or sucking their hands, fingers. Course of action? Feed your baby!!
The Sleepy Cry will happen usually on a day where your baby has been vastly overstimulated. In our house that happens frequently when I’m home. Most babies will have a time during the evening where they are at their most grizzly (a word that should really be ‘grumpy’). During these times, the best course of action is a quick jaunt in the buggy around the block. The motion will gently rock them to sleep.
The ‘I need a poo cry’ is similar to the hunger cry in which your baby doesn’t not understand what it is feeling and as time goes on will get easier. Any gas or poo will feel like pain at first and you will see your baby straining or going red in the face. Sometimes it can simply be a whimper, sometimes it can be a wail. If breastfed your baby can take up to a week for a poo to come through so don’t be surprised if your baby finds that uncomfortable.
The Uncomfortable Cry. Some people would say your baby is ‘colicy’. This is usually general uncomfortableness and is in the gastrointestinal area, but can also be because your baby is too hot, too cold, needs to poo (in the first couple of months). It can last for a few seconds or a few minutes but is generally short lived. Tummy massages or hugs will usually help your baby in some way. In terms of temperature either remove clothing or add clothing. 18 degrees Celsius is the perfect temperature for a baby to be wearing a layer or two. At 21 degrees start thinking about removing a layer. Around 25 degrees and baby should be in a nappy only. Above 26 degrees get the fans out. Same goes for when it gets colder. For every 5-10 degree drop below 18 degrees ad another layer. If it is actually freezing. A Single layer under a thermal all in one should be ok.
Teething is also (for most babies) incredibly uncomfortable…and can also lie in the pain cry category. For Oak, it was a bit of both and he was lucky (or unlucky) enough to have lots of teeth come at once. I think five at once is his best so far.
The Pain Cry. As a dad you are going to know about this fairly quickly. At roughly eight weeks your child will recieve their first round of immunisations. In the docs office I held Oak and opened up his sleep suit to expose his thigh. The doc was pretty good about it, said he would do it as quickly as possible. He got the three needles ready. And I held Oak on me.
The first needle went in and out as smoothly and quickly as you can imagine. I watched little Oaks face as what just happened got processed in his little mind. Shock was first. Only for a split second. Then pain and fear erupted on his face. All his features screwed up and the noise that came out of my boy was enough to make me well up instantly myself. It’s a wail. A sound that did undeniably mean he was hurt. Not a bump on the head sound. A real scream. Real tears. And then the next needle went in. He was so upset. Tears streamed down his face. A real high pitched scream came out and the doc put the last one in… straight away I picked up Oak and the doc put a plaster over where the needle marks were. I bundled my sobbing boy into my coat and held him as close as I could. A proper dad hug. Trying to send as much calming love as I could to the sobbing bundle on my chest. I think I cried a little. I definately felt tears in my face. I have never heard Oak cry like that. He stopped sobbing and crying for about four minutes. They were hard minutes. He fell asleep on my chest.
The second round of injections were a few weeks after. It wasn’t as bad but the pain cry happened again and it upset me. Same with the third batch at sixteen weeks. I think I got so upset simply because he was in pain and he had no way of dealing with it. It was his first experience of excruciating pain.
There is a bright side to these experiences your child has, even if it’s hard to see. Apart from the immunisations he will have to dangerous viruses or diseases, his body feeling pain like that is important for his nervous system. Also, if you are there to hold him or her during and after that experience, your baby will know that if they are within contact with you, the pain will go away. That is an important psychological tool later in their development, knowing that you will come to their aid. Or that they can go to you if hurt.
The last cry is quite a different board game. One that can be incredibly difficult to manage and it is very important that you be able to deal with this type of crying.
This cry can go on for hours. Sometimes your baby will be able to be soothed. Sometimes not. They may make themselves sick they cry so much. It is with these cries that you need ultimate patience and love. I can remember only two instances where Oak went through these cries and I used to have to prepare myself physically and mentally for them and even then, it was incredibly tough.
It can cause you to become upset with yourself. It can cause you to become angry. You may feel urges that make you feel guilty. You may feel disgusted with yourself. At first you will be fine. Your baby is crying, they do that. Then baby doesn’t calm down. Baby cries enough to make them cough or hack. It makes baby cry harder. After 10 minutes you can feel your face flush. It may take twenty minutes. (It is in this moment you need to swap with your partner or vice versa) On the occasions where you go beyond your barrier of patience, the crying may persist for much longer than you can tolerate and you may have the following feelings and thoughts.
You may feel like screaming at your child.
You may feel like shocking your baby out of crying (that wont work by the way).
You may feel like throwing your baby onto the bed or downstairs…Or somewhere. Anywhere.
You may feel like squeezing the baby tighter than you should.
You may feel like hurting your child.
-Such is your DESPERATION to stop your baby crying-
The above underlined is the important part here. Desperation is the point in which you are possibly capable of things abnormal. So it is important to recognise and talk about this with your partner and other parents. Because this doesn’t get talked about as far as I know.
No one told me about these moments. I shocked myself with the thoughts I had when Oak was in these states (few as they were). I was lucky I knew about relaxation and medatitive techniques.
So, start learning now about breathing exercises for relaxation. In through your nose deeply, slow out the mouth. Repeat. Repeat. Visualising something specifically calming like the ocean or clouds. Rocking your baby. Changing positions that he or she is held in every few minutes to see what works for baby. Use a birthing ball to sit on and bounce gently up and down on it. A number of times I could get Oak to stop crying with prolonged repetitive movements.
But this type of crying is physically and mentally challenging so it is important to know about it before it happens and understand how to deal with it.
Learn to meditate. Learn to communicate with your partner if it is getting to much.
Do not put your baby down and leave him or her alone for a prolonged time because you can’t handle it, your baby needs you. If you are alone and it is getting too much, put baby in his or her cot. Go get a drink of water. Breathe. Breathe some more. Compose yourself. Repeat to yourself that you love your baby. You want your baby to be calm. To make your baby calm you need to be calm. Repeat affirming words to yourself. Go back to baby, hold them another few minutes or as long as you can until you feel that you need to put baby down again, remembering gentle, calm movements. You are doing a great job.
You are being the best parent you can be.
And slowly, with time, your baby will sleep.