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Is it OK for Dad to Get Out of the House?










QUESTION:

I'm 19 and a new father. My son was born 2 weeks ago and everything was okay for the first few days. Now he doesn't want to sleep through the night at all. He will wake up at around 1am - 3am and will stay up for at least 2-3 hours before settling back to sleep. I find myself becoming quick to anger when he begins to cry and while I know I won't hurt him, I'm still concerned with my feelings.

My partner is very stressed also but treats me like I don't know how to take care of a baby. I have experience caring for a child as I raised my brother from a young age because my father was abusive and didn't do anything himself. I want to get out of the house to let off steam and be a little aggressive with friends to get rid of these feelings but my partner and mom are very critical and against me leaving the house.

Am I wrong for wanting to get out for just an hour or two? Any kind of insight would be helpful as I feel like I'm falling apart.




ANSWER:

You should most definitely get out of the house to blow off steam with your friends; it is the best way for you to regroup so you can get back to doing your best as a dad (like you did for your brother).

Then tackle the challenges your baby presents:focus on the; it generally peaks at six weeks and is largely over at 3-4 months (it can get a lot worse in the meantime). Get “Happiest Baby on the Block” video to learn some heavy duty techniques; watch it with your partner, and look for other techniques like gently bicycling his legs, and distracting him by showing him new things around the house and yard. When he starts crying, put headphones on and crank up the volume; this will help you relax and focus on him to learn how he reacts to different things you try. With headphones on, put him in a stroller and take him around the neighborhood, or in a front carrier. Be the go-to guy when he cries; go for a “dad to the rescue” frame of mind when he starts up. Suggest to your partner that she focuses on sleep issues; get her The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep.

Next focus on your partner; you should score big points with your crying initiative. Talk to her about sleeping and crying issues to help you two get on the same team – the first months breed lots of stress and conflict between parents and this can become the biggest problem and can last years. Regularly ask her, “How can I make your life easier?” and then do what you can, even though new moms generally experience more stress than dads, she should take the same approach with you.

The fact that you stepped up to care for your brother is a huge indicator you will be a good dad; reaching out for help now is another.

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