By Nicolas Callegari , on the one hand – writer, gamer, full-time sci-fi geek, and future rock star. On the other – first time dad, stumbling his way through parenthood one lesson at a time. Visit his blog
Crying is probably the number-one thing that scares men away from kids. If you’re anything like me, you just come near a child and the tears start rolling.
It’s the one thing that can make you hate being alive and feel like a complete failure as a parent. But reality check, it’s inevitable if you are or are planning to be a parent so you need to know what it’s all about and how you can de-code what your baby is trying to tell you.
Unfortunately, babies aren’t born with the ability to articulate what he or she needs, so every word that comes out of their mouths will sound something like this: “WWWAAAAAAAAA!”
Not ideal. Especially when there’s a list of things it could be and you have no clue how to identify any of them.
Over the first few weeks of my son’s life, my wife and I managed to whittle the reasons for crying down to a list of four things. I can confidently say that any time my kid decided to bleat like a little goat (I’m not lying, that’s what it used to sound like), we’d use the process of elimination:
- Nappy – even the smallest pee can make the baby uncomfortable.
- Tired – babies get Les Miserables when they are tired.
- Over-stimulated – If too much is going on. Being passed from one grandparent to the next, too many colours or movement…this can lead to the baby becoming over-tired and excessively moany.
- Hungry – if it’s close to feeding time (or if we suspected a growth spurt) **BUT be careful not to comfort feed if any of the other steps have already worked. I’ll deal with feeding strategies in another post.
There are other reasons that babies cry, like being too hot or cold, being sick, or just plain bored, but in most cases, we found that one of the four listed above were the cause of the commotion.
The hardest part about crying is letting your baby cry for a while so you can figure out what type of cry it is.
No, I’m not heartless, letting babies cry serves lots of purposes. Most importantly, crying allows you to learning your baby’s cry-pattern or cry-disposition.
A cry-pattern is a very distinct pattern to how your baby cries when he or she is hungry, or uncomfortable.
Parents who have learnt their baby’s cry-pattern will easily be able to have a listen and predict what is wrong and if when the cry will end.
But to learn your baby’s cry-pattern you have to let your baby cry…sometimes for up to 45 minutes. And it’s the most heart-breaking thing in the world, but after a few days you’ll be able to tell if baby’s hungry, attention mongering, or being attacked by the Tokoloshi.
HIGH FIVE for progress!