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Frustrating Moments in Baby’s First Year (and Best Ways to Handle Them)

It doesn’t take long for the midnight wake-up calls to wear a parent down! Baby’s first year can be a challenging time for parents. Here’s how to best handle those frustrating moments. 

Crying. Crying. And More Crying.

There will be moments when your Baby is crying and you’ll know exactly what to do (hold her, feed her, change her). And then there will be times when she’ll seemingly cry for absolutely no reason. It’s reassuring to know that babies just do this sometimes.

If you’ve met all of her needs and she’s still crying, try changing the scenery with Baby in tow. Go outside, take her for a walk in the stroller or put her in the car seat for a drive.

Sometimes changing things up works and she’ll fall asleep. Sometimes it doesn’t and she just keeps crying! In any case, taking deep breaths and staying calm and patient really does help. Taking turns with an understanding family member takes some of the stress off too.

It’s 3 a.m. and You’re Up. Again.

Baby’s hungry. Or teething. Or has a wet diaper. Or maybe he’s scared and alone in the dark and wants to be held. Whatever it is that’s causing the frequent wakings, restless sleep patterns are definitely one of the most frustrating things about parenting a baby in the first year.

My daughter is still in this phase. I’m starting to think it’ll never end and she’ll be waking up to nurse every hour forever!

I have three older kids, so I know this isn’t true. There will come a day when she’ll actually start sleeping through the night. In the meantime, I try to get myself to bed earlier to catch up on the interrupted sleep. And when she does wake up, I stay quiet and keep the lights low so she’ll fall back to sleep quickly after her feeding.

The Blowout

Awww, Baby looks so adorable in her cute little outfit! That is, until the most unfortunate blowout occurs. And guess who has to clean up the mess? Yuck!

Have your changing table ready at all times with diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes within reach. Enlist the help of another adult if possible, especially if Baby is older or more squirmy.

And what about when the unmentionable happens and Baby’s blowout occurs during an outing? It happens, so always have the diaper bag stocked with a spare outfit, moist cleansing wipes and a wet bag to hold soiled clothing. 

Resistance to Bath Time

Not all babies are like ducks to water. Many will fuss about being naked and they don’t like the process of bathing. It can be particularly frustrating for parents to bathe a crying and wiggly baby in the tub!

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Bath time should move quickly and efficiently for babies under one year. Many babies won’t want to linger too long in the water, so make sure you have everything set and ready to go before the bath. Keep the room warm, with soap and washcloth ready for washing. Have a cuddly towel to wrap him in post-bath so you can dry him fast and get him redressed.

Drool and Spit Up On Everything

Never thought you’d be the kind of person to wear a shirt that’s been drooled or spit up on, right? It’s true, after a while you get used to it. But in that first year, the constant slobber can be really annoying.

Have an arsenal of clean cotton bibs for Baby to wear through the day and you’ll be able to catch anything that drops down. Switching out bibs is easier than constantly having to change Baby’s clothes. For yourself, get in the habit of tossing a burp rag over your shoulder when you’re holding Baby to eliminate the splatter on your shirts.

Baby Fusses with Everyone… Except You!

Separation anxiety can kick in early for some highly sensitive babies. They can be very aware when someone else, other than you, is holding them. And Baby can be very vocal about letting you know exactly how they feel about it!

Each baby is different in this aspect. My middle son was happy to be held by anyone, even offering sweet smiles to strangers. My baby daughter, on the other hand, has given everyone side eye since the day she was born. Get within a few feet of her and she’d start to cringe with the thought of being passed over to anyone other than Mom! This can be very frustrating, especially when I really need to leave her with someone. I hate to see my daughter upset when other people want to love on her too (Sorry, Daddy, I’m looking at you!).

Continue to get Baby comfortable with others by introducing her to new faces and new experiences early on. Try placing Baby in a bouncer or rocker when meeting someone new. This way that person can interact with Baby and Baby can feel comfortable without being held or touched. 

Lack of Private Time

What did you ever do without your precious bundle of joy? Probably had a lot more free time than you do now! The lack of private time can definitely be one of the most frustrating things about Baby’s first year.

You just want to eat a hot meal, to finish that movie, and have your hands free just for a little while before Baby needs you again. Those moments can be few and far between, depending upon your baby’s character.

Taking time for yourself as a new parent is truly important. Continue to plan “date nights” and enlist a babysitter for a few hours. Get some exercise at the gym while Baby plays in the day care. Banking “Me” time can be priceless towards your ability to stay calm and patient when Baby needs you. 

The most important thing to remember about Baby’s first year is that it’s just a small season in their life. Current frustrations fade quickly with those first smiles and happy coos from your sweet baby! Soon enough all these frustrating newborn issues will pass… and then you’ll be in the toddler phase!

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