Baby Basics

What Should I Do When Baby Won't Stop Screaming?

Baby's developed a habit of screaming at the top of her lungs. I feel like I tried everything, but she keeps doing it. What should I do when baby screams?

Screaming? We've been there. Remember that, though highly annoying to us, even yelling is a learning experience for children. Babies and toddlers don't have the ability to decipher where it is acceptable to yell and where it is not. They like to yell to hear their own voices and at times they like to scream to see the reaction that comes from their parents.

Consider whether baby's screaming is age-appropriate exploration or a form of expression, says parenting coach Tammy Gold. For example, is she screaming because she is bored and trying to get your attention, or is she screaming because she got excited? In babies less than a year old, it is really just age appropriate expression. Begin to give baby messages such as 'We do not scream in restaurants,' or 'We do not scream at home,' and then distract her and offer another option, Gold. Try something like, 'instead of screaming, can mommy hear you laugh? Let's laugh together.' Laughing, singing and even jumping are all ways for her to get out excitement without breaking the noise barrier.

As baby grows older, her comprehension will improve and she'll be better able to respond to your directions of 'no.' For the time being, you can direct her to where she can (a park) and can't (home) scream. You can also verbalize what she is likely feeling: "Are you screaming to see your friend? That's wonderful! Let's give her a hug." Verbalizing as well as distracting might help to minimize some of the screaming. The rest will go away as she gets older and adopts other physical and verbal tools by which she can express herself.

Here's how Bumpies say they handle a screaming baby:

"We go outside! The fresh air works like a charm." — Diana M.

"I do squats with her in my arms or wear her in the Boba wrap. Calms her immediately." — Megan P.

"Into the bathtub with her!" — Holly L.

"I Play The Beatles' 'Here Comes the Sun' or 'Let It Go' from Frozen." — Jessica C.

"I let her nurse. It's comforting to her and always calms her down. The cuddling and warm milk is nice and soothing." — Lindsey E.

"I hold her while walking around. The second I sit down with her or put her down, she resumes the fit." — Kaliaunna B.

"I check the diaper first, then a nice warm bath followed by cuddling, rocking and singing softly." — Sarah C.

"A car ride with a window open or cracked, depending on the temperature." — Abbi H.

"I give her to dad." — Stephanie C.

"Vacuuming and soulful R&B music. Puts her to sleep every time!" — Gwynne C.


By Tammy Gold