The Family Project:crying baby
Q. I am a young father of a two-month-old. I really enjoy being a dad except when the baby won’t stop crying. What should I do?
The panel members began by congratulating the father for recognizing the problem. They said they have all been through the baby-crying situations themselves.
“You feel like this will never end,” panelist Denise Continenza remembered, “but it does get better, and it does end.” Assuming that the baby’s pediatrician has ruled out any health problems that are causing the crying, she suggested that when the crying continues too long, the father should take a timeout for himself. “Put the baby down on her back, make sure she is safe, then walk away and listen to some music.”
Panelist Pam Wallace cautioned against yelling at the baby or shaking her, which can cause injury.
Noting that it is important to know why babies cry, panelist Mike Daniels explained, “Crying is the only way babies have of expressing themselves. They respond to their environment, including your tone of voice. “If you spend a few minutes preparing for contact with the baby, so that you go in with a loving and calming mindset, the baby usually will respond.”
As a way of quieting the crying, Daniels added, “Babies love rocking and movement. Soft music and slow rhythmic movements relax them.’
The panelists were concerned that the father might be becoming isolated in dealing with the child’s crying. Panelist Erin Stalsitz said it would be good for the father to talk about his reactions to the crying with someone in the home, or a person outside of the home, whom he trusts. The father might consider taking parenting classes available through Project Child.
Another suggestion for the father and other parents with crying infants was to check go to the website Purplecrying,info. On the home page, it states: “The Period of Purple Crying begins at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3 to 4 months of age. All babies go through this period. It is during this time that some babies can cry a lot and some far less, but they all go through it.”
The site states that the use of the word “Period” means there is a beginning and an end. The website has links to other information sites.
This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, Program Coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Denise Continenza, Extension Educator, Food, Families and Health, Penn State Extension; Mike Daniels, LCSW, Psychotherapist, CTS, and Erin Stalsitz, casework supervisor, Lehigh County Children and Youth.
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Family Project weekly column is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.