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Surviving With A Screaming Infant

Very few things in life rattle you like a screaming baby that just can’t be comforted. The frustration, fear and anger experienced by most parents with an infant that can’t be consoled is very real, and very rarely talked about.

My second child was a screamer. She came out screaming and now, 13 years later, is still intense. I remember asking the nurses to take her back to the nursery so I could sleep during my hospital stay because I was overwhelmed with the amount of crying quite frankly. I remember them bringing around the babies for feeding time and hearing a screaming infant being wheeled down the hall in a bassinet. The screaming stopped outside of my door and I realized that the screaming infant was indeed my child.

Several days after she was born, she developed a severe case of jaundice and was re-admitted to the hospital. She was placed under special lights to help with the jaundice and her eyes were covered to protect them from the lights. I remember quite vividly how lethargic and quiet the other ill infants were. My child was screaming and ripping her mask off, so frequently in fact, that a nurse was assigned to stay over her crib and put the mask back on when she ripped it off. She was inconsolable, even though she was very ill.

I learned some very important lessons during those early years. I’d like to share them with you!

  • A support network is vital. I didn’t have any family support, but I did have a network of helpful friends I could call when I felt super stressed.
  • Take care of yourself! I hired a college student for a few hours a week so I could at least sleep or pamper myself a little without dealing with the screaming.
  • I took my child to the doctor for a complete physical. I took my child to a second doctor when the first doctor suggested it was my fault or that I was just too sensitive. The second doctor found that my child actually had severe ear infections which were causing her pain. I took her to a third doctor when the second doctor prescribed my infant large doses of antibiotics which created side effects.
  • I learned to swaddle my child! This really works.
  • I learned that sometimes, you need to put your child in a safe place(like a crib) and walk away if you get super stressed and if there is no apparent reason for the screaming.
  • Keep ‘gas drops’on hand. These are wonderful if your child has gas pain! They can be found in any drug store.
  • Ask your doctor about changing formula types, or if you are nursing, see if certain foods might bother your baby. For example, when I ate tomatoes while nursing my son, he would refuse to nurse. I quickly gave up tomatoes, and foods prepared using tomato sauce, which was actually not an easy thing to do!

My fifth child was a very calm, easy going baby and I was so thankful! But the lessons I learned with my second child matured me and made me a stronger person.

In a perfect world, all babies would be healthy and would be easy to be consoled. We don’t live in a perfect world though. Hopefully, the above tips will be helpful to you if you are dealing with some of the issues with which I was dealing.

Do you have tips you’d like to share? Has something been very effective for you in calming your infant when he or she is upset? Please share!


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