After Pregnancy: How to Manage New Dad Frustrations

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Admit it — your son or daughter is the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen. As a new dad you stare into the wondering eyes of your newborn, you may think it impossible to ever feel anything but absolute adoration for this child.

However, babies often are exhausting and unmanageable beings that wake you up in the middle of the night, cry endlessly without giving you a clue as to what’s wrong, and require 100 percent of your attention.

Feeling frustrated is okay, because parenting, especially when you’re brand-new at it, can and will be a frustrating experience from time to time. In fact, bonding over how frustrating it all is can be a very healthy thing for new parents. Sharing frustrations with each other allows both of you to know how the other is feeling, which means you won’t feel alone.

Here are some simple ways to manage your baby-related frustrations:

  • Blow off steam. Whatever it is that puts your mind at ease, make sure you take time to continue engaging in it. If you find yourself getting frustrated, spend five minutes doing your favorite activity. Even a walk around the block can be a great way to hit your reset button.

  • Control the controllable. Don’t waste your time trying to solve problems that aren’t really problems. If your baby has a clean diaper, a full belly, and a gas-free stomach, yet still continues to fuss, just put on some noise-canceling headphones and let him cry. Unless something is wrong, don’t worry about him.

  • Lean on your support system. When the going gets rough and you feel like you need to get out of Dodge, do it! Call a sitter, a friend, or a family member to fill in for you, even if it’s just for an hour so you can run to the grocery store in peace.

  • Monitor baby’s routine. Keep a log of when baby sleeps, wakes, eats, poops, and pees. Understanding his routine takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining what he needs at any given time.

  • Sleep in shifts. If baby is constantly waking during the night, both you and your partner will quickly lose patience in the wee hours of the morning. Though it’s not the ideal situation, try taking turns sleeping for blocks of time in the night and throughout the day while on leave (or the weekends).

    You need to get as much sleep as possible, even if those hours aren’t consecutive. The key to keeping your frustrations in check just may be two hours of peaceful slumber. Make sure you and your partner get the time away you need to function.