screaming baby when mama is away - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-29-2009, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my partner and i have a six month old girl, she is breastfeeding, has never taken to the bottle. we are teaching her how to eat now, but breast is still her main source or food.
often when mama tries to get away for a lil, baby is very upset, crying that turns to desperate screaming cries when papa cant settle her with attempts of all kinds. feeding/babywearing/outside play/etc...
neither of us feel comfortable just letting her cry thru this.
we both prefer for mama to come home when things get out of control to make a happy baby, but this is not helping papa's confidence, or mamas sanity in needed time/space away.
suggestions/experience sharing would be greatly appreciated!!

thank you
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Oh goodness, that's so rough to deal with, for everyone. Is it possible to go outside the house, all three of you, maybe walk around a forest preserve while you babywear the little one, then after she drifts off, Mom can slip off and read a book under a tree?

If that's not the kind of escape Mom is looking for, how about nursing her down for a nap then Mom slips out of the house for an hour?

When our son was that young, I found it very difficult to leave for more than an hour, two tops. She'll be able to leave for a longer time once your little one is a tad older though, so hang in there!
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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I don't know that there's an easy answer to this. I assume the OP is the Mom? How long do you leave for? How much does your partner spend time with your kid otherwise? Are you feeding the kid any solids?

For me, at that point, I could stay with DD and usually it would be OK, but sometimes she would be inconsolable. I did develop things that would calm her down a little bit, but even now they're not 100%.

At this point, if I have to be responsible for the crazy baby for any period of time, I'd rather my wife just made herself scarce. It is SO much easier to calm a baby when they aren't aware that Mama is in the other room and maybe if they just scream a little louder they'll get their way. So irritating if I spend half an hour calming DD down and then DW wanders through the room starting the entire cycle again.

If you're feeding solids to the baby, I find that the Cheerios-type food is kinda helpful (puffs or whatever). Easy for Dad to give the baby. Or whatever other foods you're trying. Something that Dad can use to satisfy the baby a little bit. My daughter also refuses a bottle.

So what techniques do I do? Hrm. I am not a big baby wearer, unless I am going someplace, in which case I use the Ergo. I think at six months we were playing with crawling. So I'd put her on the floor and distract her with whatever games I could think of. Making her laugh and so on. If that didn't work, I'd play music on Itunes and sing and dance with her. She really likes this. I use 50's music mostly, but I'd imagine that anything your partner enjoys and can dance and sing around to would work. If that doesn't work, I put her in the stroller and we go for a walk.

Around that time DD got pretty sick and I had to stay home with her for two days. That really helped long term, I think. Maybe your partner should sacrifice a day or two, go through the crazy crying, and get the baby to really understand that he can help out and that he's an OK alternative to Mommy. They were pretty hellish days, though.

Also, it may be obvious, but is your partner able to tell when your baby is just really tired and crying as a prelude to being calmed down and going to sleep? That's a good thing to be aware of, differentiating between the "I'm hungry" and "I'm beat" cries.

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Old 07-31-2009, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the replies folks! This is mama talking. i know i cant get away for too long at a time right now b/c of the feeding schedule. 3 hours tops. but the other night i was gone for an hour when there was a serious breakdown. this has only happened a handful of times, i'm hoping it does not become a habit, hopefully we can find a solution before it becomes one. baby girl is only starting to accept solids, not enough yet to replace a nursing though. we've been trying to give her food for about two months now, and only in the past week or two is she finally starting to accept it. i do my best to nurse before leaving for any period of time. hunger and sleepiness often happen at the same time. rarely does baby girl fall asleep w/o the boob. sometimes sleeps by wearing her, but cant put her down w/o waking her up when getting her out of the moby (our carrier). i'm a stay at home mom, papa works full time (outside in the sun on the farm all day) so by the time he comes in, showers, we have dinner, there is not alot of one on one time left before he is ready to go to bed. my thoughts is that papa should spend more time with her one on one so that he can fine tune his skills in reading her needs before any major breakdowns happen, but not sure how this can happen without overstressing papas already very busy schedule.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:34 PM
 
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My daughter also breastfeeds and hates bottles. At that age, DW always fed DD in the bed until she fell asleep, then stealthily crept away for an hour or two. When she wakes up, I'm there to play blocks with her or keep her entertained with peek-a-boo games for a while longer. One trick I used occasionally (and got in trouble for) is playing classic rock music on the computer with DD on my lap. The visualizations on Windows Media Player are a great pacifier. She got that "Whoa, cool" look in her eyes from all the moving shapes and colors.

Another trick I've used recently to get a friend's 6-month-old to quiet down (albeit temporarily) is to carry them into the bathroom, turn on the shower, and just let them look at it for a couple minutes. Babies are fascinated by the sight and sound of the streaming water.

Unfortunately, going out to a movie, party, etc. is difficult to impossible for a breastfeeding mom. It does get easier as they age, however. We didn't start leaving DD with a babysitter at all until she was over a year old.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:28 AM
 
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They have contraptions that you can wear as the father that expresses pumped breastmilk from your chest area. Some babies (one of my DD's was like this) think eating is the ultimate form of intimacy, and they do get really attached to eating from Mama!
I would suggest you look into one of those devices (I wish I could remember what they are called!). They look like backpacks with containers in the bottom for the expressed breastmilk. The milk doesn't come out of a bottle nipple... it's much more like a "real" nipple. They use them in hospitals for preemies in the nurseries.
Then, while Mama is gone, you can feed and calm your baby the same way Mama does (without the mammary gland). :

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Old 08-15-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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I went back to work, FT, at 7 weeks with DD1 and at 11 weeks with DD2, with DH as the child care provider. It took a while for him to get his bearings (both times). It took some nights of them not clicking before they figured out what worked for them.

We sort of had to use a "sink or swim" mentality, in that DH and the girls had no choice but to make it work. So they did.

DH's ways of doing things aren't always my way of doing things. And both DDs behave differently (slightly) for him than one-on-one with me. So it took them some time to find what worked - just like it took me some time in the beginning, one-on-one, with each of the babies.

And it's OK that DH's way to soothe, calm, placate, comfort, entertain, etc. are different than mine. There's no hard-and-fast rules with babies (outside of the safety issues, etc.) - I can tell him "That sounds like a hungry cry" or "It's usually better if I hold her upright after a feeding because otherwise she'll puke" or whatever.

Have Daddy do as much as he can when you are around - so that you are playing more of a supporting parenting role and he's the primary care giver even when you're home sometimes. Have him change the diapers and play with the baby and bathe her and whatever else needs to be done, while you're there. Nurse her as you normally would, but try not to interfere with their time too much. That way, he builds confidence, baby begins building trust and comfort levels, you get a bit of a break, etc.

In the early months, even though DH is used to being the solo care provider, I plan my outings around baby's naps. Especially with him also having the toddler to care for, it just makes sense to get the baby clean, fed, and sleeping before I head out the door to run errands or whatever.
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by writteninkursive View Post
They have contraptions that you can wear as the father that expresses pumped breastmilk from your chest area. Some babies (one of my DD's was like this) think eating is the ultimate form of intimacy, and they do get really attached to eating from Mama!
I would suggest you look into one of those devices (I wish I could remember what they are called!). They look like backpacks with containers in the bottom for the expressed breastmilk. The milk doesn't come out of a bottle nipple... it's much more like a "real" nipple. They use them in hospitals for preemies in the nurseries.
Then, while Mama is gone, you can feed and calm your baby the same way Mama does (without the mammary gland). :
I would never do this.

Dad to DD 9/2008
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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haha. I'm laughing at the Daddy "front"pack nursing thing. DH would never do that either. Anyway, I second (third??) the ideas of mom nursing down for a nap (or bedtime) and heading out to a close location. We have a bookstore down the street from our house, and if DH does need me to come home, I am there within 5 mins. Whenever our LOs would wake up from a nap before I got home, DH would do all kinds of things I never do with them, just like someone mentioned the shower thing above. Here are some of his ideas....

Looking in the bathroom mirror
Walking around the house to look at photos on the wall and talking about them
Going outside almost always works
Music and dancing
Rolling around on Mommy and Daddy's big bed
Giving the baby water...sometimes, it seems to make the LOs mad if it's breastmilk from a bottle, but water will soothe them long enough

I LOVE it when Daddy gets to take care of the baby (not only b/c I, the mom, get a break) but b/c it's so different with Daddy time. I respect you, Dads. I know it's a whole different ballgame when Daddy is taking care of a baby who is used to Mommy ALL-THE-TIME. We thank you

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Old 08-22-2009, 09:06 PM
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The three for an outing is a good idea. Solids early can decrease milk production and ideally should not replace the milk. The crying is separation anxiety and is normal but distressing to all involved. Hope you can plan around your baby, as this will pass very soon. That milk is golden and is better than any solid food around.
Good luck family
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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My wife teaches dance and at the six month mark she stopped taking our daughter to class with her. Night classes, by the by. I was excited and a little scared. I ran into the same issue. After a few weeks of feeling like a failure (unhappy baby, frazzled father) I was going through everything we had to try and get her to be, well, not super mad. At first I asked my wife to pump during the day and feed with a bottle to get our little monkey use to the idea of the bottle. That did not work out. What ended up working was a sippy cup. Aside from that we listened to music, played, talked and whatnot. When she would finally get tired I would pop her in my ring sling, throw in Concrete Blond, tap the drum beat on her butt (gently) and watch her drift off. It was like magic. Food was the key. I feel it brought us closer together.

There are a bunch of different ways to get milk into your baby. Boob, bottle, sippy cups, spoons, small diameter tube attached to the end of your pinky (well groomed and washed) that goes to a bottle, hose, bucket and beer bottle. Ok, the last few were for fun. And sometimes you just have to hold them close tell them it's alright and let them cry. We all aim for happy babies but sometimes missing mama is just too much to bear. Dad's just have to preserver and do our most imaginative best.

Oh, and you know what, in a few months that won't work and you'll have to figure it all out again. Change is a constant. Be patient, flexible and kind including to yourself.

Peace
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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MonkeyDaddy's advice is so true! Daddy watches our DD while I am in class in the mornings. It took them a little while to get used to the arrangement. And like MonkeyDaddy says....whatever worked today may not work next week, so you need to keep coming up with new stuff. That's one of the things I love most about parenting....how quickly the little ones change. I also second his advice of using a sippy cup. You can also try a straw or a tube. Daddy used a tube when my little one was only a few weeks old. He taped it to his pinky and that's how she ate with him. If your LO likes being in her stroller, you can try that. Taking her outside and showing her the leafs on the trees is a huge hit for us...and letting her touch the leafs and twigs. Yarn doesn't go out of style (always supervised). Instruments, like recorders, harmonicas, shakers, etc....that you can play for her or that she can use herself. Books.....if she won't hear you read them let her tear the pages.....our DD is an awesome editor! lol Even if she won't eat, let her play with food and get dirty....they love feeling the different textures (smearing on their face/hair). Playdates!! Get together with other little ones, go to the library's children section or join a parenting group....they love being around their own kind.
It's late and I can't come up with any more options but I hope you will find at least 1 of them to be useful. Good luck Papa. It can be so stressful when the little ones can't be consoled.
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I know I'm necro'ing an old thread here but hey we need more activity in this forum anyway :-)

We have two apartments in the same building so it's relatively easy for me to take our son for a couple hours and have mom be completely by herself to do whatever she wants and yet still be close enough to come if he really seems to be fussing to be fed.

I enjoy my time alone with our son a lot. We always make sure he nurses right before I take him and then I usually wear him in the sling for a little while as I walk (bounce/dance) around my apartment singing and if he was fussy before that usually fixes that problem. Like Monkey Dad I do a lot of musical drumming/humming stuff with him too along with singing.

We're just at the point now where my partner is comfortable pumping and we are ok with bottle feeding him. He seems to like the bottle a lot so we're being careful there since we want him still a primary breast feeder. To date I haven't yet fed him during these break times, but hopefully in the next week or two we'll get that process nailed down a little bit more and I'll be able to take him for longer than two hours which seems to have been about the max so far, but I really want to give mom a longer break soon if I can. (He's only six weeks ...)

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:30 PM
 
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What worked for us was to let dad give a bottle while the baby was in a carrier. He first let them get used to being carried around by dad, they would start falling asleep that way too. And also took to a bottle better that way.

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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saw this thread in new posts.... not sure if i am ok to post reply since i am a mom? For the first year, babies don't have much use for males. It is just a biological thing. Mom represents food, comfort and life to baby. If she is not immediately beside the baby, since they don't understand mom has just gone away for a bit... to the baby, mom no longer exists and that is very distressing. it is as though they feel they will die. humans have not changed much at a cellular level since caveman type times, so in their cellular memory they know that no mom= death.... it is too scary for them. I agree with a pp that early solids is detrimental, dd1 didnt really eat until 10 mo, and dd2 at 8 mo. i did try to give a bottle to dd1 when i attempted to return to work when she was 6 mo (had 2 partial shifts and knew it would not work based on her and my distress) but she didn't want them thank goodness.... now i know more and would never recommend anything but boob.... but those two times i was gone, dh gave her my pumped milk from a glass (an empty baby food jar, actually), i would pump some and keep it in fridge, she liked it cold or room temp... he used a spoon once too i think... but like i said two half shifts, and we knew she was not ready for me to be gone. I did return to work for a few months when she was a year old, but i would not do that again either ( i may return to school when she is 3). I know you have heard it before but it is so true, they are only this small for awhile and one day the LO will be playing so much with daddy they won't care if you are there. dd2 prefers daddy over me many times now, at 15 mo... and I was able to resume the grocery shopping (alone) for one hour a week when she was about 10 mo, she has never cried while I was gone at all. they watch me drive off from the front window and wave... but like i said she prefers dad to me a lot, struggles to leave my arms for his.. I think it is because he is willing to stand and sway with her, but I am not (she weighs too much for me to do it comfortably). She also loves to fall asleep on him, just as dd1 did. I would recommend to not leave her if at all possible. It is scary for the child. You can catch a few minutes here and there alone without leaving earshot hopefully...

http://kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/delay-solids.html
http://www.dy-dee.com/html/dad_and_baby.html

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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saw this thread in new posts.... not sure if i am ok to post reply since i am a mom? For the first year, babies don't have much use for males. It is just a biological thing.
I just wanted to post that this was not consistent with our experience. I stayed home for the first 3 months and then as I went back to work, my husband stayed home for the next 3 months. He was a very important part of her life.

I remember when he called me at work that first week. He was like: Ok - she won't stop crying. I changed her, rocked her, fed her, what do I do now?

I answered "Well - when that happens to me, I just nurse her again, I'm not sure what to tell you." And he was awesome! He was like - "OK, I'll figure it out. Don't worry about us, go back to work." And somehow he did.

I think you are doing and awesome job as a dad. Sometimes babies cry, and they cry when they are with mama's too. There's probably not one magic answer as to what you can do. Try different things. Do things to calm YOURSELF because that little bundle is totally intuitive and picks up on your discomfort. It can be like this feedback loop. What works one-day might not work the next. But you'll find your way. You're doing great!

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Old 03-09-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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saw this thread in new posts.... not sure if i am ok to post reply since i am a mom? For the first year, babies don't have much use for males. It is just a biological thing. Mom represents food, comfort and life to baby.
I also don't agree completely. When you nurse it is more true than if you give bottles. In my experience it is very hard to let a baby drink from a bottle when they are used to nursing. I work full time. And it has been a struggle in the beginning, even if we practiced from 5 weeks old. Both times I went back to work at about 4-5 months. It took about a week of transition until they were comfortable drinking my milk from a bottle. That first week I would be on call to come and nurse if needed and we did short days at first. But they adjusted really fast.
Babies that I know that drink bottles from the start, are very easy going with both mom and dad and other people as well for feedings.
Separation anxiety starts later at 9 months approx. That is a tougher time IMO. Both my kids preferred me during that time. My 2.5 year old still prefers me and the 4 year old is now equally happy with both of us. But she was also a mommy girl until a year ago or so.

So I agree you are doing great, it just takes some time. But she will adjust very fast.

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