All sorts of emotions are invested in the parent-child relationship—pride, happiness, burnout, frustration, anger, even guilt. Most parents feel helpless when their baby does not stop crying; they can’t figure out why their most anticipated bundle of joy won’t allow them peace of mind. In this situation, the mother is especially predisposed to getting frustrated and losing her temper.
I yelled at my 1-month-old baby, and I cried all night because of guilt, says MammaAthel on the BabyCenter community forum.
And since there is no official preparatory handbook for motherhood, many are at a loss for handling their emotions. We have observed how hundreds of mothers seek solace and advice for dealing with guilt towards their crying baby. In this blog post, we polled many helpful resources to address why you get angry and the best ways to handle the situation whenever you are tempted to lose your cool.
What Causes You to Get Angry with Your Baby?
Whatever the reason for your baby crying is, you instinctively develop a sense of urgency as you strive to figure out and satisfy their needs. And if they don’t stop crying, you begin to feel helpless and mildly irritated.
Before you know it, you start yelling at your child or throw them roughly in the cradle. When the dust settles, a feeling of guilt washes slowly over you, and you begin to think that you don’t deserve them.
This narrative plays out for most first-time parents and can happen for several reasons.
Reason 1: Stress
Stress caused by an overwhelming sense of responsibility can leave you cranky and short-tempered. If you allow the tension from trying to balance life to build up, you are bound to let out your anger and frustration on your innocent baby.
You are not an angry mom for no reason, the root cause of your anger might be the outstanding bills breathing down your neck or constant quarrels with your spouse.
Reason 2: High Expectancy
Babies don’t understand that you are tired and need to rest. They don’t care that you stayed awake all night to ensure they had everything they yearned for. You have fed him, burped him, changed his diapers, even wore lighter clothes because you felt he was feeling hot. Yet. He. Just. Would. Not. Stop. Crying.
It’s normal for you to get frustrated because of your high expectations of your baby. It’s like being in an unrequited relationship; you would feel hurt because your love isn’t understood or reciprocated by the other party. The difference here is, the other party is your clueless baby.
Reason 3: Sleep Deprivation
Lack of adequate sleep can lead to clinical insomnia, which can plunge you deep into postpartum depression and influence your behavior towards your child.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you will become irritable and ready to fire at any external trigger that threatens to stress you out. This includes the ceaseless wailings of your baby.
Reason 4: Postpartum Depression
Post-partum depression affects up to 10 to 20% of all mothers in the first few post-partum months. It is characterized by loss of appetite, sleep deprivation, mood swings, crying spells, and reduced attachment with the baby.
This sad, empty, and emotionless state is a likely reason why you always get irritated and mad at your crying baby. If this depression is left untreated, it could last for up to a year and hamper the child’s development.
Reason 5: Short Temperament
Let’s face it; some people are naturally short-tempered. This means that they are prone to get angry very easily. If you are short-tempered, you will find it difficult to hold back when your baby’s unending cry threatens to bring down your walls of sanity.
You can handle a short temperament with love and compassion. They say that a mother’s love is the greatest and will always survive the wildest storms, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that your short temper can surface at any time.
Losing Temper with Baby? Try These 5 Things
Tip 1: Take A Deep Breath
With all the tension and confusion, you will begin to fill gallons of adrenaline rush through your body, pushing you to do something rash in response to the situation. Before you can act on the signal, try to slow your heart rate down. How?
Close your eyes, and imagine yourself in your dream holiday resort. Breathe in and out till calmness replaces the anger that you feel. This might be hard to do in the same room as your crying baby, so you can step into the restroom for a while or the porch so you can have a breath of fresh air. You can take up yoga or mindfulness meditation in your free time to increase the effectiveness of this skill.
Tip 2: Take A Break
You might think that your baby needs you at the moment and that you’d be a bad parent for wanting some space to clear your head, but you have to understand that your baby needs you at your calm state. Else, he won’t feel safe with you. Here’s research that shows that babies actually mirror their caregiver’s emotions.
If you are alone, carefully place your baby in its cradle after ensuring all its needs are met before you step back to calm down. If not, ask your partner, relative, neighbor, or nanny to step in for a while. You can take a walk, take a warm bath, listen to music, exercise, self-care, meditate or journal, pick up a hobby, anything nonbaby related.
Tip 3: Sleep
Now taking a short break doesn’t have the same effect as getting some good ol’ shut-eye. Working around the clock to care for and pamper your baby can be exhausting. We advise you to invest in quality rest time by having up to 6 hours of sleep for at least 3 days.
You would think with a clear head and act more calmly whenever you are faced with another crying baby situation.
Tip 4: Be Patient
You and your baby are trying to adjust to many changes, and you have to give it some time. Most parents begin to feel as though they are not doing enough, and their babies are crying out in rebellion or displeasure. That’s not true! You are doing the best you can. The fact that you are reading this confirms that you are a great parent. Understand that your baby doesn’t hate you; he is more connected and attached to you than you know.
Your baby is just trying to adjust to this new world. Do not beat yourself up, cut yourself some slack, and be more compassionate with yourself. You are an amazing mother/father, and your baby loves and appreciates you. So, no matter what your baby does, see through the eyes of love and patiently deal with the situation.
Tip 5: Talk to Someone
We have to say that this tip is underrated by many. Pouring out your emotions and thoughts to someone who cares about you has a powerful effect on your mind. It would be best to let someone you trust understand and help you deal with how you are feeling.
If you suspect that your reactions might be linked to postpartum depression or piled-up emotional baggage, we advise you to seek the help of your doctor or a psychotherapist who can help you work on and improve your mental health.
It is important to carefully examine yourself for any possible reasons we mentioned in this blog and devise a means to defeat them. Also, the 5 practical tips we shared have been proven to work for hundreds of supermoms, and we are 101% you would observe positive changes after implementing them.
We understand how you must be feeling, and we are rooting for you. You’re doing great! Your baby is lucky to have a parent who is so concerned about their wellbeing.