Information For Dads

Author: Marilyn Barr, Founder/Former Executive Director, NCSBS

Often fathers would feel much better if they could just "fix" a problem. They are used to figuring things out and reading a manual and then they seem to be able to successfully fix the situation. Well, that just doesn’t work with babies. They are what they are, they do what they do, and there is just not much a dad can do to change that. It is important to first recognize that it is not your job to "fix" this baby. Understanding your baby's normal developmental stages is the first real step in making progress.

Have you ever come home from work to a screaming infant and wondered why they are always crying when you come home? Have you ever thought that your baby was crying because he/she just didn't like you? Have you ever felt inadequate as a father because you couldn't get your baby to stop crying? If you answered yes to any of these then rest assured that you're not alone. Many fathers have thoughts very similar to these when caring for their crying baby. The important thing to know, however, is that your baby's crying has nothing to do with you as a father. Many new fathers are surprised to learn that all infants go through a phase of increased crying which begins around two weeks of age, peaks at about two months and eventually levels off by about four-five months. This developmental stage in a baby’s life is called the Period of PURPLE Crying and it is normal. Some babies cry a lot and some not very much but they all go through this stage in the first few months of life.

This increased crying, which is normal, can be particularly stressful for new fathers. In addition to each of your many other responsibilities, you are now responsible for caring for and providing for your infant and when you get the impression that your baby doesn't want you or isn't happy to see you, this can add to the stress and frustration you may already be feeling from other things in your life.

What you need to know though is that this increased crying your baby is going through isn't triggered by you. It is a normal developmental stage that research has shown, amongst other things, is most likely to occur in the late afternoon and evenings, very likely around the same time you might be returning home from work. So, while you may attribute your baby's crying to you or something you are doing you can rest assured that it has nothing to do with you at all.

"It (infant crying) is a normal developmental stage that research has shown, amongst other things,
is most likely to occur in the late afternoon and evenings"

While a crying baby may be one of the most frustrating things you are dealing with, it is probably not the only thing. Many new fathers have expressed concerns about things like their baby's sleeping habits, sharing responsibilities with their spouse and changes in their routine. All of these are valid concerns and can also be very frustrating