By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care
Learn about it
A baby’s first tantrum can take you by surprise. Your baby can really shock you by shrieking, stamping, hitting, or making his whole body go stiff. But don’t take it personally; baby tantrums aren’t about anything you’ve done wrong, and they aren’t really about temper, either - your baby isn’t old enough for that. The ways you’ll respond to your baby’s behavior when he is older are different than how you should respond now.
Why babies have tantrums and what you can do about it
A baby tantrum is an abrupt and sudden loss of emotional control. Various factors bring tantrums on, and if you can identify the trigger, then you can help him calm down - and perhaps even avoid the tantrum in the first place. Here are the common reasons and ways to solve the problem:
|Reason for tantrum||Possible solution|
|Overtiredness||Settle baby down to sleep; Provide quiet activity|
|Hunger||Give baby a snack or something to drink|
|Frustration||Help baby achieve his goal or remove the frustration; Use distraction|
|Fear/anxiety||Hold and cuddle baby; Remove baby from difficult situation|
|Inability to communicate||Try to figure out what he wants; Calmly encourage him to show you|
|Resisting change||Allow a few minutes for baby to make adjustment|
|Over stimulation||Move baby to a quiet place|
How to prevent baby tantrums
Often, you can prevent a baby from losing control of his emotions if you prevent the situations that lead up to this. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When baby is tired, put him down for a nap or to sleep.
- Feed your baby frequently. Babies have small tummies and need regular nourishment.
- Give your baby toys that are geared to his age and ability level.
- Warn your baby before changing activities (“One more swing, then we’re going home”).
- Be patient when putting your baby in an unfamiliar environment or when introducing him to new people.
- Help your baby learn new skills (such as climbing stairs or working puzzles).
- Keep your expectations realistic; don’t expect more than your baby is capable of.
- As much as possible, keep a regular and predictable schedule.
- When your baby is overly emotional, keep yourself as calm as possible.
- Use a soothing tone of voice and gentle touch to help your baby calm down. He can’t do it on his own, he needs your help.
This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
You are welcome to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, provided that you reprint the entire article, including the complete byline with author’s name and book title. Please also send a link or copy to email@example.com. Thank you.
If you value this service, kindly consider a donation to the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation (registered charity). Earmark the donation for the International Breastfeeding Centre (Newman Breastfeeding Clinic) and/or the Goldfarb Breastfeeding Program.
Donate online: canadahelps.org
Donate by mail: Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation, 5890 Monkland Ave, Suite 16, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4A 1G2.
© 2002-2019 Lenore Goldfarb, PhD, CCC, IBCLC, ALC and contributing authors to AskLenore.info. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: All material provided in asklenore.info is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your physician regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.