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How to Dad: The Baby Cry Mamba

How to Dad: The Baby Cry Mamba

When my wife and I found out that we were going to be adding a second child to our family, we were excited and couldn't wait to welcome him to our family. Fast forward a year and a half after that positive test and our tunes are slightly different.

We love our son dearly and we’re glad we get to raise him. He’s really happy, pleasant and he has an infectious smile – while he’s awake. When he sleeps and gets hungry, all bets are off because he’s a screamer. Not just a little cry or whimper that gets your attention, but a full-on blood-curdling, ear-splitting scream that could wake Rip Van Winkle up. When this happens, what are we to do? My wife is exhausted from going to school during the day and watching the kids. I am exhausted from working and watching the kids, and my alarm will be going off at 4 a.m. so do I get up? I’ll admit it; my wife and I aren’t the best at taking turns in feeding a screaming baby. Depending on how tired we are, we will both wait it out to see which one of us will get up to the beckoning youngster. Both of our children have been really good at keeping schedules down. If our baby wakes up around 2.a.m. then that means it’s feeding time. Since I do not produce the sweet juice to life known as breastmilk, I get to stay snug in bed as my wife gets up. Any other time means I get to investigate and see if he’s unwrapped himself and is cold, or if he needs his binky in his mouth. However, when my wife’s supply of breastmilk dries up like a lake in the Sahara Desert, the parent who gets up changes. When my two-year-old son switched to formula, we decided that we would trade off feedings. Things started off okay. I had gotten used to sleeping when he would wake up and would try to snooze through my feeding shift. My loving and equally tired wife would gently nudge me and remind me that it was my turn to get up. Good thing it only takes a minute to shake up some formula and another to watch him scarf it down. It may not be a perfect system, but it’s our system. In fact, I feel more inclined to do more of the formula feeding because my wife spent the last six months feeding him by herself. I think I can handle one, maybe two feeding times a night. Like many of my suggestions, guess what? It’s all about communication! A broken system of playing chicken when our baby cries works for us. It might not work for you. Perhaps you and your wife need to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets up. Or maybe, you’re one of those wizards that produces children that don’t need food until the morning.

Either way, talking about what you will do and having a plan in place will lead to less arguments (albeit playful in our situation) of who needs to get up and who does what. The baby is hungry and that is more important than any sleep my wife or I will get.

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