It’s happening. You tried everything to avoid it. You thought you were prepared. You purchased the entire baby store. Spent nine months reading parenting books. You even sat through all those classes. And suddenly, you can’t seem to remember any tips or tricks for this moment. There is no “nurse” button. You’re in the big leagues now, and honestly, you just want to hide under a rock.
Am I being a tad dramatic? Absolutely. But this can be how it feels to be a new mom with a fussy baby. Veteran moms will tell you, “It’ll last just a few weeks or months.” But for someone who has never had to walk around the house at 2 a.m. with a screaming baby, a few weeks or months can feel like years or decades! (dramatic, again).
Babies fuss. That’s what they do. Some more than others. Not all babies are fussy though. If you were blessed with an always-happy baby, good for you! Maybe you can share this blog with someone who might need a little encouragement.
My Cheyenne falls in the category of a fussy baby. She also falls in the category of an adorable, squishy kiss factory! But when she’s fussy, it seems nothing helps. She’s not a colic baby, there’s a BIG difference. If you have a baby with colic, God bless your soul. If you think your baby has colic, I advise talking to your pediatrician about it. I can only imagine how difficult colic is and I’m praying that you stay strong until they grow out of it!
Now that Cheyenne’s older she’s gotten better. Although long car rides are still at the bottom of her list. But I can remember a time when I would literally dread bedtime or a car ride because I knew that was the beginning of lots of sleeplessness and crying.
Now, for the good and bad news. The bad: there is no cure for a fussy baby. *pause for reaction* There are great products and methods to help your baby become more comfortable but don’t go bankrupt buying into the hype. You can’t permanently stop a baby from fussing – it’s part of how they communicate.
The good news: there are a few ways you can prevent or reduce your baby’s fussing. It takes some practice, and Lord knows I’m no expert at it. There are still times when I don’t know what in the name of John Wayne is wrong with this girl! But, I’ve figured out a few things that have worked for us and hopefully will work for you too!
Know your baby
This sounds obvious, but it’s something I had to figure out. Being a first-time mom, you’ll get LOTS of advice. You might also read a lot of books or articles about motherhood. But that’s not your baby. As moms, we get the privilege of having a bond with our baby that no one else will have! Keep the advice in the back of your mind but really take time to know and understand your baby’s personality. Maybe your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled. Maybe your baby prefers a carrier over the stroller. Babies are not “one size fits all”, it might take a little practice to figure out what your baby likes and dislikes.
I know that Cheyenne doesn’t like to be held in a cradle position anymore, not unless she’s sleepy. If she’s awake and alert she wants to see what’s going on (that’s my girl)! So if someone is holding her in a cradle, she’s going to fuss until they change her position. I also know that she doesn’t like to sleep in complete darkness, so I leave a night-light on to help her feel secure. Use trial and error to figure out what keeps your baby happy and don’t give up until you figure it out!
Babies, especially newborns, don’t tolerate being uncomfortable. They spent 9 months warm, cozy, well-fed, and sleeping without distractions. The moment they’re born, they’re screaming, “I don’t like this!” It can take a little time for them to get used to the world outside of the womb. This is why it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible.
I know Cheyenne doesn’t like to be in a wet diaper so before we head out, I always make sure she has on a fresh, dry diaper. This might seem pretty basic (you have no idea how many times I’ve forgotten to change her! *insert eye roll*), but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference! Maybe your baby needs a distraction. Pack a book or a toy to keep them occupied. Try to remember what worked the last time and try it again (and again, and again, and again).
You might have heard that babies can sense when you’re anxious. I don’t know if there is any scientific proof behind that, but I personally believe it. There have been times (usually in the middle of the night) where I’m so eager to just get back to (bed) what I was doing that I’m tense and rushing her to relax. It doesn’t work that way. I noticed when I calm my mind, relax my body, and focus on helping her – she responds better.
It’s also good to keep in mind that our little ones can’t speak yet. This is how s/he communicates. Babies depend on their parents to help them adjust, bring security, and teach them to be content. It’s so important to have patience with them as they grow and learn. The more you practice patience, the more patience you’ll have.
Cherish the Moment
Yep, I said it. And I’ll say it again, cherish the moment. Before you hit the unsubscribe button, hear me out. We’ve all heard how fast they grow and believe me, it couldn’t be truer. One thing I hear from moms of teenagers and adults is that they miss when their child “needed” them. They miss holding, rocking and, consoling. They miss when just a touch or a soft hum would bring peace.
Whether you can believe it or not, our little ones will grow up and won’t be so little anymore. Enjoy this time. Is it hard to only get three hours of sleep? Yes. Is it difficult to drive with a screaming baby in the backseat? Yes. Is it fun to walk through the mall with an unhappy baby? Not at all. But are these moments worth it? From where I stand, yes!
You can handle it. That’s why God chose YOU to be your baby’s mama! They need you. They need you to be loving, calm, and forgiving of their tantrums. Sure, there are some great gadgets and items you can purchase to help calm your baby. I have my go-to baby items as well! But, I’m convinced that nothing soothes the soul better than mom’s open arms, warm heart, & loving eyes. Even when you’re 28 😉
Take the time to learn your baby. Accept them for who they are, plan ahead, and be patient as they discover the world around them. It won’t be long before they outgrow your arms – but never your heart.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16