Everyone who has ever had a baby knows what it feels like when nothing you do seems to work to calm your fussy baby down. It may be because of colic; it may be because of teething; it may be because of completely unknown causes, but there’s nothing that can stress a parent out faster than a baby who just cannot stop crying and fussing.

Don’t let it drive you crazy. Your baby’s crying doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent, or that you’ve somehow missed whatever it is that your little son or daughter needs. Babies cry. It’s one of the only ways the possess to express themselves, and often they really don’t know what it is exactly that they’re crying about.

Of course, babies do cry to express needs, and we should do our level best to meet those needs. If your baby is fussy, go through the checklist. Is she hungry? Is she warm enough? Too warm? Does her diaper need to be changed? Does she want a favorite toy or other comfort item?

Unfortunately, your baby can’t look you deep in the eyes and say, “Mom, what I would really like right now is if you would swaddle me in the yellow blanket. I know the pink one is prettier to you, but I prefer yellow. And besides, the yellow one has a silky edging that I really like.”

So instead, your baby cries. Unfortunately for us, that means playing a guessing game as often as not. And the playing field is somewhat stacked, because your baby may not even really be aware of what it is that she wants. As often as not, her primitive thoughts and emotions are simply telling her that she’s not comfortable.

So, how do you stay level headed while trying to take care of a baby that seems bound and determined to drive you crazy? Here are some tips:

  • Remind yourself that it isn’t personal. Your baby loves you, and is crying because she trusts you to take care of her needs. Even if that need is just to be held while she cries.
  • Pray, meditate, or do whatever you do to calm yourself down.
  • Sing. Not only will this often soothe your baby, but it can help calm you down as well. If nothing else, it gives you something to listen to other than the baby’s cries.
  • If necessary, lay baby down and go into another room, or even outside for a little while. It won’t hurt your baby to lie in her crib and cry for a few minutes, and you need a breather every now and then. Make sure that baby is somewhere safe, of course.