My Baby Won’t Stop Crying! 10 Ways to Cope with a Crying Baby
We’ve all been there. The baby is crying and you don’t know what to do next. It doesn’t matter how many children you’ve had, how much education you’ve experienced, or how many books you’ve read on the topic. Crying still happens. It’s happened to me and I’m sure that it’s happened to Dr. Sears and Dr. Spock too. All babies cry no matter how “good” of a parent you are!
It’s OK to admit it. Sometimes you wonder how you keep from throwing yourself out the window and leaving your baby on the neighbor’s doorstep with a note. She just won’t stop crying! Yes, of course you would never actually do such a thing! You love the baby, you just want to stop that loud noise coming from her mouth and you don’t know what to do. She’s so fussy and you feel like a failure–the worst parent in the world. You didn’t sign up for this—you never knew it would be like this. Your patience is shattered and you don’t know what to do.
- First, stop. Just stop. Your baby is screaming but you’re all wound up too! Stop for a moment and collect yourself. After all, you are an adult. The baby…is a baby. Crying is how babies communicate and right now, your baby is telling you something.
- Ask yourself the basics: Is my baby hungry? Tired? Wet? Cold? Hot? Sick? Gassy? Hurt? Teething? Bored? Overstimulated? Afraid? If you feel like you just fed your baby an hour ago and you can’t imagine that she’s hungry again, try it anyway. There are times when your baby is going through growth spurts and needs more than you might have originally thought. Burp her, check her temperature, change her diaper. Look for anything that might be irritating her. One of my closest friends told me a story about a baby who wouldn’t stop screaming and it turned out that he had a hair wound very tight around his finger. Be a detective instead of looking up and asking “why me?” Think outside of the box and go down your list of possibilities.
- Calm thyself: I’m aware this is easier said than done. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve spent 5 minutes counting down from 10 at least 50 times. Remind yourself to breathe. In and out. I tell our Powerful Words students, “smell the flowers, and blow away the clouds.” Try it. You can’t calm your baby is you are in a panic.
- Calm the baby: Try what you can. Bounce, dance, sway, sing, and hum. Speak in low tones. Use a pacifier, a bottle, or a swaddling technique. Divert her attention. Put her in a warm bath, give her a massage, hold her close. Bounce on an exercise ball with her or use the vibrating chair. Turn the lights down low, turn the TV down low, put nice soft music on the radio. Try something you’ve used before and try things you haven’t used before.
- Walk away for a moment: If it gets so bad that you need a moment to collect yourself, put your child in a safe place, like his crib, and walk away for a minute. Calm yourself down. Call a friend. Talk yourself off a ledge. Then get back in there and be the parent you know you can be. Your baby needs you.
- Know your limits: Need help? Ask for it. If it gets to be too much and you are at your breaking point, call your Mom, call your neighbor, call your best friend. Call a hotline if nobody else is around (crying baby hotline is 1 866 243 2229). Ask for help. Ask for what you need—a helping hand, a word of encouragement, some ideas. Someone else who has already gone through this before can be a great source of support and information. You want to keep your head about yourself so you are gentle with your baby and you refrain from shaking him in a fit of frustration. If you are at this point, get help immediately.
- Go with your gut: If you believe that something is wrong and you can’t fix it, call the doctor. Describe what’s going on and get some sound advice. If you really think about it, you know when your child is fussy or gassy versus sick or hurt. Listen to the cries and go with your instinct.
- Support yourself: Tell yourself, “I know I can do this.” Remind yourself that others have dealt with these problems before and survived. Refrain from berating yourself for not knowing enough or doing something that upset your baby. You need yourself to be a friend right now—not an enemy.
- Get ongoing support: Join a mom’s group or a dad’s group where you can talk about helpful tips, your doubts and your frustrations. Other parents have gone through what you are going through. I know I value mine! Talk to your doctor about what’s been going on as well as any patterns that have developed. Could your child have reflux? Colic? Another problem? You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out for support.
- Remember the phase: Even though it’s really challenging, babies cry. Sometimes they do it a lot! But, as we know, your child will not do this forever. I know that 15 minutes can feel like it though. In a blink of an eye, your child will be going off to school and you won’t believe that he was once that crying baby that made you doubt your parenting abilities and your own sanity. This is just a moment in time and as my Mom always told me, “this too shall pass.”
Any other tips out there, parents? Please share!
I know right now it might be difficult to enjoy every moment. But as many Moms and Dads that have gone before you, you’ll get through it. You can do it. We know you can!
photo thanks to crunchiemummy.wordpress.com