Articles, advice and tips for fathers - Reluctant Dad

Why do babies cry so much?

Babies cry. They’re not like those TV kids you see on “Everybody Loves Raymond” and such. Actually you hardly ever see those kids much. Which is why it’s not real. It’s TV. TV shows that depict children as quiet, unobtrusive and absent most of the time should be sued. I think women are more emotionally involved in the television programs they watch, and are able to project themselves into the situations depicted. Hence, they think having children would be like it is on TV. Witty and full of comic possibilities. I suppose that it’s possible your children will be enjoyable for a total of 24 minutes, the estimate length on a sit-com. But spread that out over a full 24 hours and that’s only 1.67% of the day!

Anyway, the crying from a baby is a real test of endurance. And you will fail. Everyone does, not just reluctant fathers. But generally I have found my wife to have a far greater endurance for the ear drum bursting wails of an infant. I would guess that women on the whole have a greater ability to endure hardships (not financial, mind you) than men. Take the whole pregnancy thing. Who would willingly allow that to happen to them? Only a woman… and possibly some very strange men. And not to mention child birth. Come on! That’s insane. It is perpetually amazing that a woman would be willing to go through that. Sometimes more that once. Clearly there are some synapses misfiring in the female brain (the same ones presumably that weren’t registering when you said you didn’t want to have kids) for them to, almost immediately after delivering a baby, forget the whole trial that they just went through and agree to try it again (not that week, but later on at some point).

Driving with a screaming child in the back seat is perhaps the worse thing that has ever happened to me. It’s truly horrible. It’s like having a swarm of angry bees in the car whilst listening to a slightly out of tune radio station playing something you hate really loud. Makes me want to drive into a tree. There’s nothing you can do except get home and feed or change the baby as soon as possible. Of course you’ll hit every red light and get stuck behind every Sunday driver out there.

I used to hate seeing those “Baby on Board” things on cars. As if that would make much of a different to a sleeping driver of a semi-trailer or a drunk driver who probably couldn’t read that many words. But I have given serious thought to printing my own version. “Screaming Baby on Board. Get the HELL out of my way!,” seems to sum it up pretty well.

Generally, baring illness/injury, teething, or other discomfort (lactose intolerance, for example, or needing to be burped) if a baby is crying it’s because going to be because of one of three things (or all three at once). The baby is either hungry, tired or needs a diaper change.

The you can easily check to see if a full and scary diaper is the cause of the tears. You can always try and feed the little bugger to see if he/she is starving.

For older infants who have started drinking water and juice, while still needing a large shot of satisfying milk in their daily routine, you can give them a sippy cup of water and if they start sucking that down with great gusto they’re probably hungry for milk.

If neither of these cure their whining put them to bed. Sometimes kids get tired randomly (just like they get up randomly during the night. Well, not so randomly, just when you’re getting your much needed REM sleep, or so it seems), in addition to their regular naps.

Concerning the midnight fits of loud consciousness, you kind of develop an idea of whether the kid is likely to go back to sleep or not without your intervention. Certain cries are not so frantic and seem to soothe them back to sleep. Other cries are clearly the “I’m wide awake and need something, you suckers” kind. In case food is the only thing able to settling the baby downI try to remember to measure out formula before I go to bed so all I have to do is heat the water, pour it into the powder and shake it up. It’s hard to measure properly as 2am for some reason. If the baby is nursing still, you might as well get up and fetch the kid for your partner to deal with. Remember how women have a greater endurance for hardships than men? Well that extends to being able to wait much longer than you to see if the baby goes back to sleep. You’ll get back to sleep sooner if you just get up and deal with the baby right away.

Sometimes, for these loud and alarming midnight crying fits (might have been brought on by a bad dream or the realization that you were happily sound asleep) if you get to the baby quick enough before it really sets in you can soothe the baby back to sleep without the need to feed.

I read somewhere that researches had found that the wailing of an infant is one of the most destructive sounds for the human ear (maybe that’s why baby’s scream worse the longer you leave them. They’re damaging their own ears?). At first it seems ridiculous that nature would create something that when it needs you it makes a sound so repelling. I’ve now come to the conclusion that the damaging nature of a baby’s yelling is to ensure continuation of the human race. As you become more and more deaf you become more suited to spawning additional offspring. 10 screaming kids won’t bother a deaf person as much as one crying baby would a person with normal hearing. Apparently the onus is on the first born to scream enough for you to become slightly hard of hearing and thus saving the human race from certain extinction, but not so much that you drive into a tree.

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