By Michael Farrell
If you are like almost every other new father,
you are not alone in this question. It's a fair question to ask,
especially after you've been up trying to soothe your screaming
I have good news. The screaming and crying will
eventually subside and, yes, you will eventually get some well-deserved
rest. But, it may be a while, so here are a few tips to help you
make it through those long, sleepless nights.
1. Breastfeeding mothers need help. That's right,
don't assume that because your wife is breastfeeding that you
are "off the hook." If your wife is breastfeeding, she
will treasure you for taking the time to get up and bring your
baby to her. It seems insignificant now. But at three a.m. in
the morning, it's a beautiful gesture.
2. Take shifts with your wife. Agree before you
go to bed at night which of you will get up with the baby first.
It may help to simply pick even and odd hours. For example, if
the baby wakes up during the 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
hours, then you wake up with him. If it's during the 12 a.m.,
2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. hours, then your wife will will wake
up with the baby. The point is to have a plan before you go to
sleep at night. This will eliminate the anger and frustration
of the moment when neither of you wants to get up.
3. Learn the different ways your baby likes to
be held. Some like to be held chest-to-chest. Others like to be
cradled. And still others like to be seated, in your arms, facing
away from you. Find the position that your baby feels most comfortable
in and try soothing him in that position.
4. Don't be too proud or embarrassed to sing
softly and even talk to your baby. The sound of your voice is
very reassuring to your baby and it is part of the bonding process.
Your baby will quickly learn to associate your voice with safety
5. Gentle bouncing works sometimes, but be careful
not to bounce baby too much or you may upset your baby's tummy.
6. Pacifiers work, too. Some babies find comfort
in a pacifier. Others refuse to accept it, especially if your
wife is breastfeeding.
7. Rocking, either in a chair or in the bassinet,
can also be a helpful means of easing your baby back to sleep.
8. Pacing the floor, while holding her, was very
soothing to my daughter. In fact, she would transition from a
"deathly scream" to silence if I put her chest-to-chest
with her head on my shoulder and simply started pacing the room.
While pacing the room, you'll discover little nooks and crannies
that you had never noticed before.
9. Placing a warm heating pad in your baby's
cradle before bedtime can ease the transition when laying baby
down for the first time at night. NOTE: The heating pad should
never be left in the cradle when it is occupied.
10. A warm bath in a baby tub can also be a great
way to soothe your baby before bedtime. It's important that you
have a towel to wrap your baby in immediately after the bath.
A cold baby is a crying baby.
These are all useful tips that will help you
get your baby back to sleep a little quicker -- and that's good
for you. If you discover other ideas, write to me and let me know
what works for you.
Mike Farrell and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of three children,
ages 8, 4 and 3. Mike has been married 11 years. He graduated
with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1991 and never became
a teacher. Go figure.
Mike is an Idaho native and works as a professional
in information technology. In his spare time, he loves golf, computers,
swimming, serving in his church and, of course, spending time
with his family. His dream is to raise three "very smart"
children who will one day support him in a manner to which he
has never been accustomed.
Mike is the owner, operator and senior editor