Cry it out

Photo by Ryan Franco / Unsplash

Sometimes she just needs to cry.

This afternoon my wife and mother-in-law went to Costco while I stayed home with my baby daughter. Everything was fine at first, she had just sorta woken up from a little nap and was just hanging out with me. I carried her as I walked around the living room, rocking her, and singing the ABC's/Twinkle-twinkle. I was pleased as I saw her slowly drifting back into her nap, her eyes slowly closing as I sang.

Bam! Ok, she is sleeping! My daughter currently does not sleep on her own, she likes to be carried, so I kept carrying her and got myself set up on the couch, pillows arranged to support my back and my arm carrying her. Within minutes, she is wide awake again, and very fussy. So, I figure, something must have woken her up; maybe her diaper or she is hungry.

I decide to feed her first. This is because in the past I have tried changing her diaper while she is hungry, and she ended up crying and throwing enough of a fit that she ended up peeing on me and her clothes and it was a mess. NOT making that mistake again.

Feed baby first, then change!

I warm up a bottle of formula to prepare to feed her. Because of how the formula tastes compared to breast milk, she will only take the formula if it is sufficiently warm. All the while she is crying/fidgeting/rooting, and I am doing my best to keep carrying her while preparing her bottle

Once the bottle is warm and I test it with the back of my wrist to ensure that she will not end up burning her mouth, I prop her up and try to feed her. I am then greeted by gurgling screams and her spitting the milk out. Alright, she’s not hungry. Let’s break that rule and just change her diaper, maybe it is so wet that it's just distracting her to the point that she won’t take the bottle?

I get lucky. Her diaper change goes off without a hitch. Fresh diaper successfully swapped and rash cream applied all without incident. I try the bottle again, nope, now it might be too cold for her. She continues screaming at me as I struggle to understand her cries.

I head back to the kitchen to warm up the formula again and do my best to distract her by doing squats and lunges with her, which sort of works, but is not enough to make her forget about her crying. Once the bottle is warm, I attempt to feed her once again.

No joy.

I check her diaper, it is once again wet, probably from her crying, which is due to my lack of understanding of what it is she needs. Not her fault, just mine. So, I go and change her again, because I do not want my babysitting in a wet/dirty diaper for no good reason. She is still mad, crying to the point of running out of breath, and I am just trying to sing to her again and bounce, walking around the house and up and down the stairs.

This goes on for almost 20 minutes, and she is not letting up. I figure she needs to cry herself out. I reluctantly put her in the bassinet and turn on the baby video monitor to watch her. From the couch in the living room, I can see her crying and screaming with no end in sight. I give her about 10 minutes or so while I get some water and watch a YouTube video.

Once the 10 minutes are complete, I head back to the room to retrieve the crying baby. She is still screaming as I pick her up, but the moment her head rests against my chest, she quiets. Within maybe two minutes, she is sound asleep in my arms.

The baby was so tired that she didn’t know what to do with herself. I took the break I needed and gave her some space in her bassinet, and I guess she was finally ready to take a nap. About 5 minutes after she falls asleep, here come my wife and mother-in-law through the door back from Costco just in time to see the sleeping baby, just missing the screaming and crying.

The lesson, as indicated by the title of this post, is to just let her cry it out sometimes. As a parent and a very new 1sttime parent, I have this overwhelming desire to be there for my baby all the time. But what I learned is that sometimes, she needs to learn to be by herself for a little while. There is nothing wrong with giving her some alone time and I can use the monitor to make sure she is safe.

The hardest part of love is letting go, even if it's just letting your baby go & crying by herself for 10 minutes.

alex
Honolulu, HI