Keeping Your Cool When Baby is Freaking Out
Let’s face it: Babies and toddlers have temper tantrums at the most inopportune times. Whether you’re in line at the grocery store or sitting in a church service, young kids seem to have a sixth sense about when it is the worst time to start crying and get upset. Some might make the claim that it’s harder to deal with babies when they have these fits since they can’t really tell you why they are upset, but remind me to tell you about the tantrum my three year old son had the other day where he slapped me across the face and told me “Shut up!”
But I digress.
It can be really tough to keep your cool when your baby is freaking out. It’s one thing when you can pinpoint the issue, such as when a diaper needs changing or you know your baby is way overdue for a nap. It’s another thing when your baby just starts flipping out for no apparent reason. Does something hurt? Does she want a specific toy? Is she scared by something that you don’t see?
It’s only made worse when there are people around you giving you that tsk-tsk look that some people give. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about printing up a shirt to wear that says Unless you’re going to offer me help with my kids, keep your critical glances to yourself. I never did get that shirt printed up but I have perfected conveying the same message through an equally critically counter-glance.
So how do you keep your cool when your baby is having a full-blown tantrum? It’s important to remember that the younger your child is, the less likely it is that what you’re experiencing is an actual “tantrum.” Young babies start crying and fussing as a result of being unable to say, “Mom, I’m hungry,” or “Mom, that guy with the beard is scaring the heck out of me because I’ve never seen a beard before.” When a baby is young, this certainly isn’t the time to discipline. You can’t hope to get a newborn to stop crying by delivering a stern speech about how to act in public.
It’s better to try to soothe your baby while also getting through whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re in line at a grocery store, it may be worth it to simply finish your transaction and let your baby have a cry in the stroller. If your baby is in your arms it makes it a little harder, but keep in mind that the world doesn’t stop because your baby is upset. In other words, you can’t expect everyone around you to be nice for long if you hold up a line of shoppers so you can soothe your baby with a lullaby.
Above all else, just do what you can to stay calm. Your baby can probably sense your mood, so if you freak out then your baby will be even more scared because she’s looking for you to fix the problem instead of making it worse. Believe me when I say that it’s not always possible to not get a little frazzled. There have been plenty of times when I was ready to hang up my Mommy hat because I was so taken aback by my kid’s temper tantrum. Just remember: stay calm, stay focused, and remember that this too shall pass.