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Sorry to intrude as a dad, but I think this may be the best place to get some advice I desperately need.
Last night I had a situation that scared me as well as possibly revealed a little too much about myself. We have a 6.5 month daughter that has been a dream when it comes to sleeping through the night. We've removed the swaddler and for the past month she has went down with no problems. Usually it's a set ritual where I feed her a bottle, after which she falls asleep in my arms (my favorite part of the entire day) and I take her to the crib around 8:45 or 9:00 p.m. She usually wakes up crying about 30 minutes in, and some gentle pats on the butt put her back to sleep about 5 minutes later.
Last night mom had to go stay at work until midnight as she had signed up for a special task. I've had the baby by myself all evening probably about 10 times, and every time I loved it as she went down without an issue. Mom's friends have even asked her why I'm not calling her ten times a night to ask what I should do; in other words, we both feel I have a pretty good handle on putting our daughter down.
If the baby is fussy, we have a couple of options that usually work. A white-noise machine, rocking, singing, the vacuum cleaner (strangely enough), or just playing a little while longer.
Last night, my daughter would not take the last bottle at the usual time. She had been rubbing her eyes, and did not take the nap she usually takes when I take her in the jogging stroller after work. She kept looking around, which I assume was from her missing her mom. We played a while longer, I tried the bottle again, and she took it for about 20 seconds before she started rolling the nipple around in her mouth.
Since I knew she was tired I took her and put her in her crib. She immediately started a gently cry, which then turned into kicking, arm-rolling, and a stronger cry. I had the white-noise machine on, but added the vacuum. Nothing helped. She started crying louder. I continued to pat her butt gently. She screamed more forcefully. I moved the vacuum closer. She screamed. It turned blood-curdling. I was a little frustrated, but I picked her up to soothe her a little bit. She immediately put her head on my shoulder, and so I laid her down. She didn't cry as strongly as before, so finally with the vacuum and me patting on her she fell asleep.
I left the vacuum on for a while while I cleaned some bottles, thinking it would let her get to a deeper sleep. About 20 minutes later I went in and saw that she hadn't moved a muscle, so I turned the vacuum cleaner off. Within two seconds she was screaming so hard she would go silent at the end. I immediately got frustrated because I knew that she would be waking herself up more from crying so hard. I turned the vacuum back on and started patting her again, but she still screamed with just as much force. I walked away to see if at least she would calm herself down a little, listening for just some change in her crying volume. It did not come.
I came back in 5 minutes later, and she was still wailing. I went to pick her up and she was drenched in sweat. So I walked out of the room and tried to pace back and forth with her. That's when everything hit.
At first I just said calmly "stop . . . stop". She was screaming right into my ear. I said "Hey . . . . Hey, honey . . . " but nothing changed. About a minute later this feeling came over me and I set her down on the couch and screamed toward her at the top of my lungs 'STOP ******* SCREAMING GOD****IT!!!!" I then left the room and paced around the house for about a minutes. I still remember the look of helplessness she gave me, with tears down her cheek and looking at me as if to say "daddy help me", but all I did was look back at her with complete contempt.
After a minute, I went and picked her up. She immediately calmed down and I remember just looking at her, overcome with guilt. We walked around a bit, then I tried some more bottle. She again took about 10 seconds of it, and then started just playing with the nipple. So I thought a diaper change was needed.
I took her to the changing table, and as soon as I laid her down the absolute screaming started again. I walked away for a second, then came back and actually put my hand over her mouth saying STOP IT. ******* STOP IT! Please understand I was only trying to get her to stop screaming, not to harm her or stop her breathing! I remember turning into a zombie and just changing her diaper, almost as if wasn't even there mentally.
At this point I had given in and resigned myself that I would be up the remaining 1.5 hours until mom got home. I remember secretly wishing she would call just to check in, so I could tell her to get home immediately because I'm having thoughts of doing something that I shouldn't.
I took my daughter outside and sat on the patio set with her. She was this smiling, inquisitive perfect little baby at 11:00 at night and I just sat and stared at her, wracked in complete guilt coupled with a fear of those thoughts that had recently gone through my mind. I played with her another hour before she fell asleep on my chest, five minutes before mom walked in the door. Worst thing was, I wasn't even tired nor did I have any reason to be upset that she wasn't asleep. And that is what scares me.
Have any of you had this issue? I guess the issue is complete rage and/or harmful thoughts that come from a fussy baby? Maybe I'm naive and it is a common occurrence, but I actually started crying earlier because I can't believe I was thinking the thoughts I was thinking last night. It scares me now, and suddenly I'm wondering if I'm secretly harboring some "abusive husband" syndrome where some trigger sets me off, only to later be wrapped in guilt and promise it will never happen again. I wasn't completely honest with mom, saying only that the baby was "difficult". Should I tell her what happened or just leave it be?
Its perfectly normal to get frustrated from a screaming baby. Lord knows I did and probably the majority of this forum. I had three babies under 2 (twin boys and a baby girl) and sometimes I had to put the babies in their cribs and take ten minutes to myself.
One thing I will say is Never Ever Ever put your hand over her mouth, thats scary for an adult, I can only imagine how scary that would be for a baby. If need be put her down and sit on the step until you are not as frustrated.
I wonder, is she teething? My kids got impossibly fussy when they were teething and I had a hard time getting them to sleep and eat.
If this is bothering you as much as it does I think you should talk with your wife.
HUGS!! I know how frustrating a sleep-less baby or a crabby baby can be! My hubby is WONDERFUL with our daughter and he's very laid back type personality. But, there were times when I did notice him yell at our daughter. He always felt bad afterwards but is always a great dad! I will have to say there are times sadly that I have yelled at our daughter. I think it just happens or maybe both me and my hubby are horrible people - but I doubt that. I think it just happens occasionally. Just so long as baby doesn't hear that / feel that anger/frustration all the time. Hang in there daddy!! It's a fun but challenging journey!!
I will say when you get frustrated, just try and walk away - I hate leaving a screaming baby but sometimes in order to not just want to squeeze her really hard I have to just walk away and calm down for a bit. Do this as many times as you need to take a quick break. Or, quickly walk outside and get some fresh air - getting out of the house for 1-2 minutes and away from the crying noise usually really really helped me!
I just want to commend you for being so completely and utterly honest with us all here. I think that what you experienced is far more common than anyone would really admit.
I definitely had my share of absolutely losing it inside my own mind and needing to take a time out myself. So, it sounds like that's what you did. Next time, you'll know that when you start to feel that upset, it's just time to put the baby down in a safe place, walk away, and take a few deep breaths yourself. My midwives would always say anytime I thought about telling my son to take a deep breath as he was an infant, I should really be telling that to myself.
I don't think that you're on the path to some horrible psychological or harmful or abusive issue or anything at all. I think if you feel like telling your wife, she might not be so upset hearing it, because she's probably felt the same at some point as well. Really just hang in there. Remember to take deep breaths and time outs when you need them and know that eventually, you'll be able to converse with your daughter, sleep will be easier and everything will be a lot better. Good luck.
I have had a similar experience. When Elliott was 5 weeks old, I was zombified. My boyfriend worked, so I got up every two hours and barely slept. It was hard to sleep when the baby slept when he would sleep for an hour at a time, and I needed time to fall asleep too! I got to the point where I was a zombie. He was crying one day, non stop, and I yelled at him to stop crying as well while he sat in his swing.
There have been other otimes where he has thrown a complete fit and I get frustrated and just walk away from him. My boyfriend has even told him to shut up once! I know this sounds horrible, but fussy babies are annoying. I have never heard, "Oh, I love the sound of a baby crying!" lol
Don't feel bad. I have even patted his mouth while he was crying to make him sound like an indian and not be as hurtful to my ears. I wouldn't suggest the hand on the mouth thing though, as tempting as it is! You did good by getting a change of scenery. Sometimes kids get too tired and don't know what they want! Talk to your wife about it though. You will feel loads better.
We as parents here can relate with your frustrations, Babies will go through these phases of not wanting to sleep for no reason, just gently pat their back and sway them on your arms until they calm down. I would discourage you to scream at your daughter becauses she would pick that up and scream at you later on because she wil think its ok. If your frustrated, lay her on the crib get out of the room to cool down.
Think of it this way, when you daughter grows up shell not spend as much time with as she does now, cherish every moment good or bad.