One thing most new parents discover very quickly is that babies cry. A lot. Of course, we already knew that, at least on an intellectual level, but it isn’t until we have a baby of our own that we can really begin to appreciate how much crying really goes on in a baby’s day.
Before anything else, you need to understand that it doesn’t make you a bad parent if your baby cries. It makes you the parent of a perfectly normal, healthy baby. Unfortunately, other people are not always as understanding as they should be about crying babies.
So, how do you stay calm when your baby chooses the “wrong” moment to have a fit of crying? Start by taking a deep breath and reminding yourself, “She’s a baby. She’s crying. That’s what they do. This is not a big deal.” Continue to remind yourself of this as often as you need to, regardless of how long your baby cries.
That’s not to say you should do nothing, of course. No doubt you will do everything you can to soothe your baby and help her stop crying, and you definitely want to try to take your baby someplace where she won’t present a distraction to others when possible.
The thing with babies is that they sense their parents’ tension, or lack thereof. While they don’t really understand words until they are about a year old, they certainly can tell when you’re worked up. They can feel your tension in your touch, and can see it in your face. And, they react to it.
The best thing you can do for your baby if you want to calm her down is to calm yourself down. If you are relaxed, it will help baby relax. Here are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Take a few slow, deep breaths. Some people find it helps to close your eyes while you do this. It’s amazing what this can do to help calm you down in stressful situations.
- Take turns. Let your partner do some of the parenting. It’s important that baby bonds with both of you, and that both of you are able to soothe her. If one parent is calmer than the other, let that parent take over for now.
- Lay baby down and walk away. Obviously, don’t do this in public, but if you are home, or somewhere you can lay her down safely, and are stressed out, lay her down and walk away for a few minutes. You are not helping her by holding her when you are overstressed anyway, and this can help her learn to self soothe. Your baby won’t be scarred if she’s occasionally allowed to cry it out.