After watching my few week-old newborn for 7 hours, I was drained. I’m not going to sugarcoat it — I was going through hell as he was fussing, crying, and intermittently sleeping.
After two weeks of agony, I woke up one morning and had very little to give. I was running on empty and put my in-ear noise isolating ear buds and kept them on for the entire 7 hours to muffle the loud sounds.
To my surprise, after the shift ended, I wasn’t drained as before. I still had energy to lift weights afterwards.
Baby cries and screams evoke anxiety, depression, helplessness, anger and frustration in parents. It causes some parents to overreact and apply harsher discipline towards their kids. I don’t want to overreact.
I figured out that I had sensitive hearing and that baby cries were messing with my nervous system. I was overstimulated at the end of my shifts. I feel the same when I go to Las Vegas for three days. The noise and overactivity saps my energy.
Earbuds or noise cancelling headphones lower the volume of crying. I still hear the baby but I no longer panic or wince. I respond intentionally rather than from dismay. Other parents on Reddit came to a similar conclusion. Here’s another post where more people confirm that earbuds saved their sanity.
My partner is not sensitive to the loudness of crying as I am. There’s no shame in using earbuds and I’m going to continue doing that.
What I use
I use the Symphonized NRG 2.0 Wood Earbuds as I’ve been using them for years. I replaced the silicone tips with these small sized memory foam tips for better in-ear noise isolation. It’s a comfortable set up and I’m able to keep them in my ears the entire shift.
I might upgrade to bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones in the future as the baby’s lungs get stronger and his cries grow louder.
If I wasn’t going to listen to music, I’d get Etymotic ER20’s. Regular cheap soft earplugs also work but they are less comfortable.