When my oldest was around 3 months old, he went from being a mostly smiley and calm baby... to a screaming terror. All my online research pointed to one thing: colic. I couldn't figure out how to soothe him, though, and nothing that was suggested online seemed to work. Thankfully, my partner seemed to intrinsically know how to soothe a colicky baby. Turns out, it's not just a mom's responsibility! Who would have thought, right?!
Initially, I assumed the whole "try to soothe your screaming child" thing would fall to me, the one who was lactating. But breastfeeding sucked when my baby was inconsolable, and not in the usual way. He would nurse for a second, then scream like a dying rabbit for 10 minutes. Then he'd stop, nurse for a second, then start screaming again. Rinse, repeat.
Fortunately, my partner developed his own ways of calming the baby. At first I hated having to hand my baby over to him, but letting him take control turned out to be extremely beneficial. My partner would sit on a yoga ball with the baby, bounce (way more than I would have) and shush or sing to the baby (way louder than I would have). And if that didn't work, he'd simply put the screaming baby on his chest and, somehow, our baby would just fall asleep. While I was thankful that his ways of soothing the baby worked, it was also frustrating. I mean, what was I doing wrong?
It turns out, nothing. Sometimes a colicky baby needs to be away from the breast for a minute. Maybe they're too hungry and there's no milk, as was the case with me and my baby, or maybe they aren't self-regulating their feeding so their stomach hurts. Whatever the reason, my partner developed ways to soothe our screaming baby, and I learned that I wasn't the only person who should be tasked with calming our child. So with that in mind, here are a few things all grown-ass dads, and other non-birth partners, should be doing when they have a colicky baby on their hands: