On average new babies cry for 2-4 hours a day and cry most often between 6 to 8 weeks after birth. This can put a lot of strain on new parents.
Most crying is normal and it’s a baby loudest and clearest form of communication.
Parents have to figure out the best way to settle their baby and this can be tricky because many babies take a long time to work this out and for themselves. The good news is that all babies stop crying – eventually.
“When things were tough the texts made me realise that it wasn’t me experiencing these things. I would recommend this service to other new dads.”
If you haven’t already, you can JOIN UP via SMS4dads.com to receive free text messages directly to your phone – aimed at the age and stage of your baby.
We asked dads who found they were doing pretty well with the crying and settling their baby how do you do it?” They sent us tips and advice from their experiences. Here’s what they said:
Remember that you and your partner, for the most part, are both doing the best you can.
Have a time cap (like 45 mins) to handle a crying a baby before swapping, so that you have an end in sight.
Remember to take deep breaths when baby is crying.
This helps calm you both No one was born a dad – it’s often trial and error to figure things.
Babies have no other way to say what they need, all they know how to do is cry.
When bub is crying, you’re not necessarily doing anything wrong, you just haven’t gotten clear on what they’re trying to tell you yet.
There’s only so many things a baby might need when they’re crying. Having a “checklist” to work through each time helps to be a bit more systematic in settling bub.
Direct contact, like cuddling and patting, is the number one way to soothe crying.
Finding the approach and positions for holding your bub that works best is the trick.
Combine cuddles/patting with noise – like singing, talking, humming, or playing music.
Try adding some movement – like gentle bouncing, rockling or going for a walk.
In the end, there’s no exact science on the best way to settle a baby.
All dads are pioneers in discovering how to do it and what works best for them and their bub. One dad found that the hum of the washing machine is the key. He spent hours in the laundry.
There maybe times when the best and safest thing to do is to put your unsettles baby in safe place and give yourself some space.
Tired parents can easily be triggered by infant crying and this can put babies at risk of harm. Talk with your partner about the best way to manage when crying is getting on top of either of you.
If you need support right now, you can call 1300 78 99 78.
Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.
“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.
In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.
Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.
Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.
“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people. They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.
“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.
Richard credits a varied career, a talented and innovative team, and much life experience for affording him the insight needed to address the challenges related to actively engaging dads.
After completing his masters in Medical Science, studying epidemiology, Richard earned his PhD focusing on fathers and attachment.
“Fathers are invisible in many places, and that is endemic. Not because people dislike fathers, but because the system is set up to be focused on mothers.”
Some services and organisations are aware of the need to engage dads, but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.
“When people are challenged about this, they generally want dads involved,” Richard affirms.
“Often, however, they just don’t know how to do it.”
Richard works with health professionals on issues related to fathers, and has delivered many antenatal programs for expectant dads.
He credits his own family with giving him an understanding of the role of fathers needed to make his work relevant.
“I have three daughters and two stepdaughters,”
“My kids would say they taught me just about everything I know and they’d be right. They’ve taught me a lot, and still do.”