‘Cause everyone is different, and I’m not an expert.
Number one thing that is making life easier this time with a new baby, for anyone interested, is knowing that babies cry.
I got so stressed when the little dude cried as a baby. As a toddler, when he cries I usually know why – both the surface reason and the underlying reason. Like today, surface reason was because I opened the top of his banana to make it easier for him to peel when how fucking dare I, he wanted to open it himself and I destroyed his afternoon by robbing him of that experience. Underlying reason was that he had a bad nap at creche and was still in sleep deficit from staying at my parents’ on Saturday. Knowing the reasons means I can think – ok, he’s tired and feeling fragile, so I’ll a) get down close to him and nuzzle his forehead while I tell him it’s ok, b) give him a new unopened banana and eat the one that is forever destroyed, and c) put him to bed very very early.
With a baby it’s harder, they don’t talk, and sometimes they cry for seemingly no reason. Tonight bub had more of a wail than he’s ever had before, he was tired, and my mother-in-law tried to settle him while I put the little dude to bed (hubby was still at work). He’d gone down for her fine earlier in the day, but wasn’t having a bar of it in the evening. So I put him in the carrier and put some music on my phone, and went into the garden to walk round in circles in the dark so that bub’s crying didn’t disturb the little dude (who was also protesting the going to sleep thing fairly vigorously too, ohmigod, when they’re both crying and overtired and they both want you! But he didn’t get out of his bed, and settled down to a quiet murmur well before bub did).
As I was walking in circles round the garden, I thought of all the times I did that with the little dude as a baby and how very different it was. I’d think to myself “WHY IS HE CRYING, HOW DO I FIX IT?!” and I’d seize up with the stress of the noise and the burden of the responsibility. Once I got to the breaking point of yelling at him to stop crying, before putting him in his cot and leaving him there bawling while I had a shower (he fell asleep while I was in the shower). When bub cries, even tonight when he was really hysterical and kept screaming for ages, I sorta just keep calm and carry on. Put him in the baby carrier. Walk round. Boogie to a spotify playlist. Know that if he’s fed and has a clean bum, being held close to me is comforting even if it doesn’t stop him crying straight away.
And that’s my non-advice. Know that comforting a baby isn’t just measured in how quickly they stop crying. They cry sometimes and you can’t tell why. It’s a thing babies do. At some point, they get bigger and they only cry in response to obvious triggers. Like an opened banana when they wanted to “opnen” it themselves.