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Stressed Out That Baby Will Start Crying
First off, your website is amazing and has helped me "cope" with becoming a father! Second, my question: for lack of a better phrase, I am terrified of my newborn son! I can't get comfortable when he's around and I'm trying to sleep or just relax and kick back. I am so worried he's going to cry or make noise, that I've just started depriving myself of sleep and other things I used to enjoy doing. We have good nights and I still don't sleep that well, and then we have a bad night and I barely sleep at all! I am fortunate enough to be off from work for a month but I'm afraid to go back due to lack of sleep. I don't know what to do to help maintain my sanity. I feel like I just walk around anticipating how awful the night is going to be and it ruins my whole day! Half the time I'm OK with him and the other half of the time, I want him gone so I can go back to sleeping when I want, spending time with my wife, hanging out with my friends, playing video games and all the things I used to do. Please tell me it gets better!
We should apply the term "crucible" to describe new parents' being pushed to their limits in the first months after the baby arrives.
For dads, this is before the bonding fully kicks in and when sleep deprivation, a means of torture, is at its peak. Yes, it most definitely gets better, but not if you are overly sleep deprived. Try to stop worrying about whether he is going to cry, break the cycle by tackling it head on and develop your calming skills. A popular suggestion: Put him in a stroller, put on your head phones, and take a walk. There are many other ways to calm a crying baby, you just need to build up your confidence so you know you can handle it. It won't bother you near as much when you know you've got a game plan in place.
Next, figure out a temporary sleep aid, which may be an exercise program before you go to bed, or a 30 uninterrupted gaming/calming session. You need your sleep.
Give you and your wife a break by hiring a babysitter for a date. It doesn't have to be big, just time for the two of you. Another way to help yourself cope would be having a one-evening blowout with your friends; great for exorcising frustration. Then give her a night out with her friends as well to help her feel like herself again. Some couples will even trade weekend days, you get the baby Saturday morning while your wife does whatever she wants and then Sunday she takes the baby so you get your free time.
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