How to Have Easier Evenings with Your New Baby
In my experience, babies are usually fussier during late afternoon and throughout the evening for the first few months after birth. These few beginning months can be a difficult transition time for new parents. Usually by 5:00, moms are exhausted from caring for the baby all day and need relief in desperate way. By the time dads arrive home, they too, are exhausted from their work duties and many times, everyone they love is cranky and out of sorts when they walk through the door.
Everyone is hungry.
Everyone is tired.
Everyone is cranky.
This difficult time of day can be made easier if you have a 5 minute check-in, eat something nutritious and then figure out what to do next.
With our first baby, we didn’t communicate that well. We were exhausted and so very new at parenting. We fought a lot… and I was worried about that. Neither of us understood how hard caring for a baby could be, and we simply know how to make life easier.
Thankfully, we figured out about the 5 minute check-in.
Step 1 – the 5 Minute Check-In
If you deliberately check in with each other when the working spouse comes home for the day, it just helps to get ready for your evening ahead. What we learned to do was something like this:
I’d say something like, “today was a good day. Cody was happy all morning. He slept for 3 hours this afternoon and he started fussing about 30 minutes ago.”
Bruce would ask “what do you need?” and my answer was almost always the same with a few variations:
I need you to hold this baby so that I can go brush my teeth.
I need you to hold this baby so that I can finish supper.
I need you to hold this baby so that I can have a quick shower. I just feel gross.
Getting the picture?
Or another day, it might go something like: “today was an awful day. The baby has been crying and I can’t calm him down. He pooped 4 times all up his back and I had to do four complete changes of clothes. I’m exhausted and I don’t know what to do.”
Again, Bruce would ask “what do you need?”
I need you to hold this baby so that I can walk around the block and clear my head.
I need you to change his diaper and see if you can calm him down.
I need you to ….. the list was always different, but if Bruce jumped in, I had a chance to take care of myself and have a small break.
I felt like my needs were met. Bruce had a bit of direction on how the day went and whether things were just fussy or had been awful. He also was able to help me in a way that I needed to be helped. The great part wat that we became better at communicating with each other.
Step 2 – Eat Quality Food
If I was with it, I had supper ready for 5:00. I used my slow cooker, made soup or had a casserole ready to put in the oven at 4:30. This alone made the biggest difference of how the evening would progress. We would eat healthy food together or in shifts, if necessary, and get our blood sugars up. Then we were able to handle the evening shift easier.
Eating supper was the key for us holding it together rather than losing it completely.
Step 3 - Spend Time Together
After supper was bath time, feeding time and off to bed. Sometimes Cody would fuss up until 11:30 or so. (I learned a few years later that the fussiness was a result of the foods that I was eating. If this is interesting to you, click here for more info. If we could get Cody to sleep, that was the time to cuddle one the couch and watch TV, or chat about our day. Sometimes we would just go to bed early because we were so tired and the next feed was only hours away.
The difference was that by communicating, we had a chance of helping each other out. By eating supper between 5 and 6, we had more energy to cope with the fussy times and then if there was time left over, we could spend it together.
As time went on, we shifted into an easier routine. Cody wasn’t as fussy and our parenting skills became stronger. Life was more manageable, it just took time.
Do You Have a Fussy Baby in Your Life?
Oftentimes, fussy breastfeeding babies are either experiencing physical pain from birth, they are reacting negatively to the foods that their breastfeeding mom is eating, OR BOTH!
Birth is a very difficult process for babies to experience. If you suspect that your baby is in physical pain when you feed or diaper him or her, take your baby to see a pediatric focused chiropractor in your area. We are trained to gently relieve irritations to muscles and joints.
If your baby is fussy after breastfeeding or cries inconsolably in the evenings and won’t settle easily, chances are that your baby is reacting to foods in your diet.
If this is the case, please consider purchasing the Calm Baby Cookbook – it outlines the foods that commonly cause problems for babies to digest and offers 100+ delicious breastfeeding recipes to get started! It has helped to calm many babies in my practice and I sincerely hope that it will calm your fussy baby as well.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.