A newborn brings much joy to a home. However, with a new baby come lifestyle changes, added expenses, stress, and exhaustion.
As you bring home your little one, you learn that babies cry to communicate hunger, discomfort, a soiled diaper, etc. Even happy babies cry.
A crying baby can be heart-wrenching to hear and can lead to frustration and overwhelm. Expressing your distress does not make you or your partner a bad parent.
However, what should you do if your husband gets angry when your baby cries?
It is important to understand the reasons husbands may become angry when their baby cries and how you can help them cope when your baby inevitably cries.
Reasons Husband Gets Angry When Baby Cries
Men Like to Fix Things
A Journal of Pediatric Health Care study explained the different ways caregivers comfort their babies based on their gender. The study showed that fathers tend to try to prevent problems before they start while mothers provide comfort after the issue has occurred.
This instinct to prevent things and fix them before they happen may prove problematic for men as it is difficult to predict what babies need at all times.
While babies have scheduled feeding times and typically have bowel movements soon after, a baby may cry due to a variety of unpredictable reasons.
This inability to predict what their baby needs ahead of time may leave dads feeling inadequate and ill-suited to take care of their child, which may manifest as anger.
Dad Is Not Spending Enough Time with Baby
In a typical household, if the mother is used to working, she goes on maternity leave after the baby’s birth and the father usually goes back to work after a few days.
As mom stays home with the baby, she can bond and get to know her little one. She learns her baby’s schedule, needs, and different ways of crying.
On the other hand, Dad goes off to work and only spends a few hours with the baby after a potentially stressful workday and commute.
Add to this any chores dad needs to do when he is home, and it does not leave much time for him and the baby to bond or for him to learn about his baby’s needs and quirks.
This may leave your husband feeling frustrated as he is unable to understand what the baby requires when they inevitably cry.
Husband is Stressed and Overwhelmed
As the family adjusts to the arrival of a new baby, every member may be faced with varying degrees of stress and overwhelm.
Dads who return to work after the baby’s arrival may feel physically and emotionally exhausted due to work, household, and relationship demands in addition to caring for the new baby and supporting their spouse.
Additionally, if the dad is the only breadwinner, the financial burden may weigh heavy on their mind. The responsibility of supporting the family through this change may prove to be too overwhelming for him.
The physical and mental demands of a new baby may be taxing on the dad, which may lead him to become angry the moment their baby cries.
Baby Prefers Mom
Mom and baby create a special bond from the moment their baby is in the womb. Their special connection is inevitable.
The warmth and comfort a mother provides are like no other. This does not mean that a mother’s comfort is better than what a father can provide as each one fulfills a different need for their baby.
However, if the baby cries for mom when dad is trying to help or provide comfort, it may leave him feeling rejected, helpless, and frustrated.
Post-Partum Depression and Dads
New mothers are regularly screened for post-partum depression; however, new dads are rarely considered and simply go back to work while moms stay home with their newborns.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that if a mom has post-partum depression, the dad has a 25-50% likelihood of experiencing it as well.
Yet oftentimes men go undiagnosed and their symptoms unnoticed because they are usually unwilling to admit when they’re feeling overwhelmed or depressed.
Furthermore, a study in Psychiatry showed that fathers-to-be experience similar hormone fluctuations as their wives.
Therefore, it is important to look out for the following symptoms in new fathers:
- Lethargy or sleeping too much
- Disinterest in enjoyable activities
- Irritability and aggressiveness
- Unusually quiet or withdrawn
- Lack of socializing
- Losing themselves in work or hobbies
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as gambling or drinking
Going undiagnosed can lead dads to suppress their emotions, which may be expressed as anger when their baby cries and may end up affecting the entire family.
How to Help an Angry Husband When Baby Cries
Help Him Succeed
Take notice of when your baby is in a satisfied, happy mood, and allow your husband to help during those times.
Spending time with the baby when they are less fussy will build dad’s confidence as he experiences positive interaction.
When your husband feels competent in taking care of his child, their bond will become stronger leaving him better able to manage the difficult moments.
If you are the caretaker spending the most time with your baby, you will undoubtedly have accumulated an arsenal of tips and tricks to handle most of your baby’s needs.
Your husband, however, has been at work most of the time and will likely be ill-equipped to handle your baby’s daily needs and will be unaware of the unique quirks you are so familiar with.
If your husband is open to it, share some of your knowledge with him. Give him some insight into your baby’s needs and arm him with the tips and tricks you’ve gathered during your alone time with your baby.
This newfound knowledge will boost his confidence, which leads to a closer bond with your baby, building patience instead of anger when your baby cries.
Listen to His Opinions
It is easy to think you know everything there is to know about your baby and their needs. Your hyper-focused nurturing instinct kicks in and you feel you are the only one that understands your baby.
However, by pushing dad to the sidelines as you try to comfort or help your baby using your tried-and-true methods, you may be doing your husband a disservice.
Remember that although you may have a lot of experience handling your baby, your husband is not clueless and may make significant contributions as well.
Listen to your husband’s opinions and suggestions. Two heads are always better than one, especially when you have the best interest of your little one at heart.
Being included and taken seriously as an important member of the care team will help dad feel more connected and slower to anger when your baby cries.
Let Him Feed the Baby
Letting your husband feed your baby is a need he can easily fill. It will show your baby that dad is just as capable as mom at providing food and comfort.
Furthermore, it may even lead your baby to cry less when one caregiver is not around because they will be comfortable with both parents meeting their needs.
Although breastfeeding is a job only a mom can do, your husband can help in other ways. You can pump milk and store it so that it is ready to go when dad needs to bottle feed.
If you are not nursing or are transitioning away from it, using formula will come in handy as dad helps during feedings.
This extra level of comfort and inclusion will allow your husband to feel less angry and impatient as your baby cries since he will feel more competent to take care of them.
Give Dad and Baby Space to be Together
As a mother, it is very difficult to hand over your baby, even if it is to their dad, and walk away. However, doing so can be beneficial to all involved.
By letting your husband spend time with your baby and take care of him alone, you are telling him you have full confidence in him and his parenting abilities.
If you do not trust yourself not to hover while you are in the house, take that time to run errands or spend time with friends.
Letting your husband do things his way while taking care of your baby will be a great confidence boost. You’ll both realize he doesn’t need to be perfect, he just needs to be there and do his best.
Spend Time Together
Most men tend to suppress their emotions and are not well-equipped to deal with some of the emotions associated with the transition into fatherhood.
They may feel anxiety, exhaustion, guilt, frustration, and isolation during the early days and months of their new role.
Furthermore, they may feel that if they talk to you about it, they may be adding to your stress, so they may keep their feelings inside.
Spending time with your spouse will show them their feelings and your relationship matters. Moreover, spending time together will allow you to notice if your husband may be experiencing post-partum depression.
Providing the care and attention you both need will help immeasurably with your transition into parenthood. Therefore, continuing your connection as husband and wife will be more important after your baby’s arrival than ever before.
The comfort your connection creates will help reduce their overwhelm and anxiety, leading to a husband who can be more tolerant when your baby cries.
Becoming a new parent comes with many joys as well as many lifestyle changes. New parents may experience physical and emotional exhaustion.
During moments of stress and overwhelm, it is important to remember that such feelings are normal, and it does not mean you are a bad parent.
A crying baby can test your patience. This is especially true for dads. You may find your husband gets angry when your baby cries and may wonder what to do about it.
Knowing the reasons for their short temper and how to help them may serve useful as you navigate the early days, weeks, and months of parenthood.
Stay connected to your spouse, show empathy, notice patterns in his behavior, and seek professional help when needed.