Let’s face it, babies cry. And sometimes they cry a lot. Whether they are colicky, sick, or are just wanting attention, crying is their only way to convey that they need you or that something is wrong. Unfortunately, when you’re the parent of a young infant and are already physically drained from lack of sleep and all the demands that come with having a baby, excess crying can become intolerable.
I remember the first few weeks home with our son. It was rough! He never was the type of baby that would sleep long stretches at a time. He was up every two hours to eat at night and had trouble settling back to sleep after waking. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. I also exclusively breastfed, which meant I was the one who had to get up with him during the night to feed him, which added to my exhaustion since my husband and I couldn’t really take turns.
To make things worse, starting at about 3 weeks of age my son went through and extremely fussy stage where he would cry for a couple of hours straight every night. It was probably colic but I never really wanted to admit it. I remember on a few occasions where I would get so frustrated with his crying that I would start to feel very angry to the point I just wanted to scream. And although hate to admit it, there were a couple times that I did. To this day I still feel horrible about losing my cool.
I hate it when someone asks me the question “is he a good baby?” about my son. What parent is ever going to answer “no” to this type of question? Yes, I know I have an precious baby whom I love more than anything in this world, but there were and are definitely times where I don’t consider him to be a “good baby”. Unfortunately it is almost a taboo subject to talk about. I have never had another mom talk to me about a time that they became angry with their crying baby, or that they yelled or started crying because they just couldn’t handle it. Come to find out, it is much more common than anyone is willing to admit. I came across an article called “Home Stressed Home” which is all about parents losing their cool with their children, including babies. Apparently half of parents with children under a year old admitted to screaming at their babies. Half! I was amazed to read this, and somewhat relieved that those couple of instances I had were something that other people have experienced and struggled with.
Let me make it clear that I am not condoning this behavior. It is not okay to lose your temper with a baby. I’m simply saying that sometimes it is very easy to and it is normal to feel frustrated and even angry at times. Noone ever wants to cause emotional or physical harm to their children, and that is why it’s extremely important to learn how to control your emotions and your anger when dealing with a baby that won’t seem to stop crying.
Here are a few helpful tips to help you keep your cool with a crying baby:
- Take a deep breath: Try and relax! Close your eyes and focus on the big picture. You love your baby and your baby is only crying because he is doing what babies do. Talk it through your head or even say it out loud.
- Sing or tell a story: Sometimes just hearing your voice over baby’s crying will help you blow off some steam and at the same time your baby will hear your calm voice and know you are there for him.
- Hand baby off: If you have someone else living in your home with you, let them have a turn holding baby so you can walk away for a minute or two to gather your thoughts.
- Call someone: If you are feeling very frustrated and just need to talk to someone to get you through, call a parent or a good friend who will be understanding and can give you encouragement. Maybe they will even come over and give you a break! Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Most people will be more than happy to help since many have been in the same situation in the past.
- Lay baby down: If all else fails, it is okay to lay baby in a safe place like a crib or swing and walk away! If holding them, talking to them, feeding them, and everything else won’t make them stop crying, you might as well lay them down if you feel like you’re going to snap. Your baby will be fine, and better yet, you will have a moment to step away and focus on calming yourself. Letting your baby cry it out is better than you losing your cool and yelling at them, or even worse, doing something physical. Protect your baby and yourself by laying them down in a safe place.
Caring for a baby can be very challenging at times. It is very normal to feel frustrated and even angry. Just remember to do whatever you can to get yourself through the tough times with no regrets. Many times excess crying is just a temporary phase that many babies go through. It will pass and you can make it through the tough time guilt-free.
Do you have any tips for how to keep your cool with a crying baby?
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