Thursday, January 13, 2011

Knowing Your Baby’s Cry

Today’s post is something that I think every parent who has bonded with their baby can understand. Our son is now 5 months old and my wife and I are amazed at how quickly time has flown by. He’s passed through so many stages and is really at a fun stage right now. And as I recall with our daughter, it only gets better with time.

In life, there are many things that may cause us discomfort. We may be too hot or too cold. We may be hungry or sleepy or just simply annoyed. Whatever the reason for our discomfort, most of us can speak and tell others the reason. And in most cases, we can actively do something about it.
But babies don’t come out of the womb talking. That’s a learned skill. Their only means of communication when something’s wrong is crying. But how do we know what our baby’s cry means? I used to think that they just do it for the sake of doing it. When our daughter was a baby, I quickly learned that there’s a specific reason that they cry. They may be: hungry, wet, tired, sleepy, sick. Or perhaps they may be gassy and need to burp.
My mom tells me that when I was a baby, I was an angel by day – I slept and ate and slept and ate. But by night, I was awful. I cried and was just a handful to deal with. No amount of food or anything seemed to calm me down. I guess I was just miserable.
From what I’ve grown to understand, that’s not typical. Babies generally cry for specific reasons and when the reason is satisfied, they’re just fine.  Now with our little one, my wife and I, as we’ve bonded with him, can tell within a minute or so why he’s crying. Sometimes he’s in an uncomfortable position. Sometimes he’s hungry. Or perhaps he just wants to be held.
How do we know why he’s crying? That’s something hard to explain. We just know it. And we’re generally right. One funny thing with him when he’s feeding is that he often wants to burp. But because he’s hungry, he doesn’t want to stop eating to burp. So while feeding he starts to wiggle to get rid of the gas. When this happens, we just stop, burp him and he’s back to his meal in no time. To me this experience is quite fascinating.  
A separate issue is that our son could be in a room with 10 other babies but if he begins to cry, we know it instantaneously. A bonded parent just knows that cry and could pick it out even if there were 100 babies in the room.
Why do I share this post today? First I believe it’s something that other parents can relate to. But the other side of the coin is that I believe far too many dads are missing out on this stage of their children’s development. Many dads are not emotionally connected with their babies so when they are around them, if they begin crying, they have no idea how to soothe them and get them to stop crying.

Babies are new to the world but let’s not make the mistake to think they don’t know what’s going on. They are naturally connected to those who they spend the most time with and with those who meet their needs that they can only express by crying.
I’m sure that before long, our son will get to the stage where he fusses and cries when being held by a stranger, wanting to go back to mom or dad or another person with whom he’s familiar. I wonder how many fathers have children that would refuse to go to them today simply because they don’t recognize them and are not familiar with them? Hmmm. That’s a question to ponder.
I’m not ignorant to the fact that there are dads who want to be involved and connected with their kids but because of certain legal measures, are not able to make that connection. That’s certainly frustrating, I know. But I also know that some dads – especially those who are not married to the mothers of their children – do not make enough effort to bond with their babies. And the unfortunate consequence is that their kids begin life without the special connection that should exist between father and child.
I hope this post has been enlightening and encouraging to you. I also hope that it speaks to the heart of our dads who need to become more bonded with their kids. I believe that every child needs each parent in their life. And the more that we connect with them, the more deeply rooted their trust in us will become.

Enjoy your kids. They won’t be young forever. And keep that special bond with them – it really lasts a lifetime.
Have a great day.
The Upbeat Dad


No comments:

Post a Comment