Q. I have an infant who’s rather fussy. He cries a lot, which I’m okay with because I know how to calm him down. But my husband goes berserk after a few minutes of tears, shouting at me to buy the kid a pacifier or to somehow quickly calm him down. I feel so much pressure to have a quiet house that it’s really stressing me out.
A. Your husband has to accept that with children comes crying (and just wait for the whining), sometimes well into the preschool years. Perhaps your husband cracks quickly because — as a new father — he feels helpless and a little scared. Whereas you’ve become skilled at reading those cries and calming the baby, your man, who is probably not around as much, may see no possibility for the sound of silence.
To give him hope, show him the tricks of the trade: how to rock and soothe your child, how to tell what the baby wants. If he feels more in control and confident, he might be a little less on edge and may even enjoy his newfound skills. (And, hey, you’d get a break!)
Also, cut out some articles about crying babies or take him along for the next checkup so he can learn what’s normal from experts. And if you’re not using a pacifier, as he’s suggested, you may want to consider it. Some people, including me for my first child, swear by it. (If you’re worried that giving your baby a pacifier now means you’ll end up with a preschooler who’s addicted to his binky, maybe you shouldn’t look so far ahead. Most kids give it up on their own; in the unlikely event that yours doesn’t, you’ll deal with it then.)
Over time, your husband should learn to take the tears in stride. Those early months of infancy are definitely not easy, and your hubby needs to chill out. You don’t need stress coming at you from both of the men in your life.
Julie Mazer is a mother of three in Short Hills, New Jersey.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, October 2004.