Parents--Newbie needs help

How do you survive the first few months of crying-for-no-reason hell? I have a 7 week old baby and he is a sweety for the most part. However, every single day from the time he wakes up until late afternoon, he HAS to be held by me. Mom needs to go to the bathroom, too bad. Forget about eating or cleaning either.

Of course he’s fed, changed, cuddled etc but if I put him down for 2 seconds it’s wailing time. A few hours of this and I’m ready to put my head in the oven. Of course when his father gets home he’s fine. I love him to death but I get frustrated and then feel guilty after that.

I’m not sure if I need advice or empathy, but both are welcome.

There is an excellent book called “The Happiest Baby on the Block” that has very good recommendations for soothing babies that cry frequently. I have heard a lot of people swear by it. The idea is that you recreate the womb environment by using tight swaddling, white noise, rocking motions, and a few other things I can’t remember anymore. Anyway, probably worth a read. In the meantime just remind yourself that before you know it, he’ll be getting on the bus to kindergarten and you’ll be wondering what to do with yourself all morning long. Hang in there.

I took the easy way out and held mine constantly. They’ve turned out relatively normal so far. When I got tired of not being able to do anything I asked myself what was more important than holding the baby, if I had a good answer I would go do it, if not, it was on the couch with the baby.

Don’t worry, this phase will pass. In the mean time you could try a sling, or a baby swing (if you haven’t already)

I’ve heard many good reviews on the book “Happiest baby…”, I’m going to Amazon now to order it.

FTR, I DO hold the baby all the time and nothing like internet or TV is more important. Not even showering or cleaning the house. But I do need to go to the bathroom and eat!
I have tried the sling and swing too, sometimes they work for a bit. I’ve had a really BAD 5 days as my husband was out of town. I think I’m just a little overwhelmed.

We have a four month old and usually one of us has to hold him. He will take naps in the swing and goes to sleep well at night only gets up once around 2am for about half an hour. He has a floor gym that he will tolerate for a few minutes and a bouncer, but the rest of the time he demands to be held. I love the little guy far more than I ever thought I would love something. Yeah I am a first time dad.

For the first two months he lived on my wifes lap on the couch. She ate there I cooked all her meals and she ate them with the baby in her lap. The only break she got was when I could get him to fall asleep on my chest.

I totally understand how you are feeling, as my husband travels out of town 4 days a week, pretty much every week. When you are first home with a newborn, and you are all alone, it IS overwhelming. Only a mom knows what it’s like to try to go potty when you are holding (or even trying to nurse) a baby! Mostly, you just have to hang on until you get past the point where they need to be held all the time (they do get past it, I promise). If you have to get yourself something to eat, and the baby cries, just let him or her cry for a few minutes…it won’t kill them (although I know how hard it is to listen to). And definitely try the swaddling if you aren’t already.

Repeat this until you find you believe it!

As others have said, this phase is debilitating but does seem to pass much more quickly than you’d think. Although it probably feels like an age already, 7 weeks is a very short period of time for you and he to start getting used to each other and to life together. I’m not trying to play down what you’re feeling - the memory of my first couple of months as a mother is still raw - and the thought that I’m planning to go through that again with another pretty soon is a bit scary! However, they do do do get through this and you’ll work out a way that you can muddle along together.

I’m relentlessly analytical, so the one thing that helped me cope (not with the practical side, I have to say) was talking myself through what was happening. It was along the lines of ‘The whole thing is new to [her], I’m the only security [she] knows, [she] can only communicate through crying’ etc. etc.

I’d also recommend The Happiest Baby… - there’s a technique in there for loud shushing just past their ear, and it worked sometimes when nothing else did. Personally I also made a point of gettting us all used to having someone else watch the baby, even if it was just for 10 minutes whilst I sat on my own in the garden. I felt like it was good for me and even better for her, to get used as soon as possible to other people looking after her briefly. YMMparticularlyV on that one, though, as I know a lot of people don’t agree with that at all.

The most important thing of all, though: it won’t kill them to cry for a couple of minutes whilst you grab something to eat, or go to the bathroom.

My niece, who my mother and I kept when she was a little baby, cried and cried and CRIED and cried if you weren’t holding her. It turned out she had terrible, never-ending colic.

Thank you all for suggestions and empathy. My book should be delivered tomorrow and the husband came home last night. I told him that the next time he has to go away, we are going too!
I know it will get better (lather,rinse,repeat).

p.s. how do babies know when to flash that cute smile? I swear just when I’m at the breaking point he gives me a gummy grin and I melt.

Let the kid cry. Seriously. She’s crying because she’s figured out that she will summarily get attention. If you start extending the time before picking her up she’ll figure out that crying WON’T bring about immediate attention.

Shut the door and let the kid cry.

“Cute” is baby’s primary self defense mechanism. If it weren’t for the fact that they are cute, and the top of their head smells soooo good, we’d drop them in the nearest river.

I held both of mine throughout the first couple of months, too. It gets easier when they can start to manipulate the world around them - play on a baby gym, sit in a swing, etc. Until then, if they’re not being held, the world as they know it is ending. They don’t know you’re just making a sandwich and will be right back. As far as a newborn is concerned, they are ALL ALONE and will never be fed or held or changed ever again!!! It gets better, honest.

When my kids were new born, we had great success with keeping them in a Snugli, . It gave them the feeling of being held and keeps holders hands free.

It’s evolution…that’s how they keep from being left on a rock somewhere! :slight_smile:

Somewhere there is a thread I started when my second baby was maybe 5 or 6 months old. He is the sweetest, happiest kid, and always was, but he would. not. sleep. He was still waking up twice a night to eat when he was 8 months old, and I was a wreck. Then, magically, one night he slept all the way through, and he pretty much has every night since then (he’s 18 months now). So hang in there…it WILL get better, I promise!

Um, not a 7-week old. They don’t have things figured out that well yet.

I toted my daughter around like a sack of potatoes the first few months. Sarafeena’s comment made me smile - I well remember balancing on the potty while breastfeeding! Per the eating - my dad taught me a trick of holding the baby on their tummy across your thighs while you eat. Works pretty well.

I don’t know about that. I think our first kid was about 10 days old when he first outwitted his father and me. He was crying. I went to get up, the bed creaked, he stopped crying. So I thought, okay, he went back to sleep, and I moved back to do the same. And he started crying again. I got up, the bed creaked, he stopped…His dad and I sort of looked at each other, then he (dad) said, “Well, humans are very intelligent, he’s as smart now as he’ll ever be, and he’s figured out cause and effect.”

Cattitude, sometimes you do need a break, and the baby can cry. I once decided I had Had It, and I needed a break, just a little one. I put the kid–this was my youngest–into his crib, shut the door, put some Rolling Stones on and turned it up so loud I couldn’t hear him cry. (Call social services!) I set the timer on my watch for 20 minutes (I can aleays hear it beep, even with loud music). When the 20 minutes was up, I turned the music off. The noise had put him to sleep.

Oh, you poor thing! Yes, absolutely you’re overwhelmed. Parenting at that stage really is best done in groups of two or more. Consider, next time he’s away, arranging a few breakfast dates or early morning outings so that when the baby is in a good mood, a friend can enjoy his company and give you a break. That way when the inevitable cranky afternoon hits, you’ll have some reserves of patience to deal with it.

Total evolutionary advantage. The ones that didn’t get the timing right ended up as some mastadon’s dinner. :wink:

No way, not at 7 weeks. Even 12 weeks, I might agree with you, for short periods of time, but 7 weekers just aren’t able to manipulate or think ahead like that. He might be able to notice that when he cries, he gets picked up, but it’s a long walk from there to planning on crying in order to get picked up. Even ping-pong playing pigeons take longer than 7 weeks to train.

That being said, I agree with **Sarahfeena **that the boy won’t break if he’s left alone to cry for a few minutes, but at this age it won’t teach him not to cry, it will just let his mother catch her breath and empty her bladder. And, of course, better he cry for whatever reason he’s crying than he cry because she’s hurt him out of exhaustion and frustration.

But don’t turn it into a “he’s manipulating you” thing quite yet. They’re on the same team, they just haven’t quite figured out all the plays yet.

Lots of sympathy and hugs! My baby wanted to be held constantly until he was about three months old. You can put them down and go to the bathroom. They’ll be okay for five minutes. It doesn’t feel like it, and the first two or three months feel like a landslide, but it will get better. Do you have anyone around (parents, inlaws, friends) that can give you a five or ten minute break? That really helps.

I agree, at that age they’re not manipulating, they’re not able to.
My kid’s nine months old, and I assure you you will survive. It just doesn’t feel like it. Still waiting for the magical sleeping-through-the-night, but in every other way he’s a great kid, and yes, cute is the main defense mechanism.

Babies don’t cry for no reason. There’s always a reason; the trick is figuring out what it is and what to do about it. In your case you seem to have deduced that he’s crying because he wants to be held. That’s not “no reason”, it’s just aggravating.


Here is another piece of advice that isn’t really related to the crying thing, but more just a general health/sanity thing: Try to get out of the house every day. This helped me a lot when I was a new mom with Whatsit Jr. It didn’t matter where we went. I took him to the grocery store, or on a walk to the park, or to the post office… whatever. Just getting out of the house made me feel more like a real human being again, and broke up the monotony of staring at 4 walls. With your husband being out of town and you being on your own, I think this is even more important. If you have friends that are willing to come by and hang out for a while for “sanity breaks” that would be great, too. Even better: Ask if it’s okay if you go over to their place. Or meet for coffee.

Someone wise once said that for parents, the days are long but the years are short. I used to repeat that to myself on bad days and it helped a little, knowing that the “crying my eyes out whenever you walk out of my sight” phase or the “throwing my food all over the floor phase” or the “hey, cool, what can I stick in the electrical outlet?” phase are all finite and will end.

Honey, the first eight weeks can be brutal. Beyond all the advice here, what you are feeling is normal.