Although the word ‘tantrum’ is used to describe those horrible situations where your baby becomes so difficult you wish you could just leave him/her behind, I don’t like it. Tantrums are just a normal part of a baby’s development. This is what I try to tell myself whenever Aaron throws one at me.
Life here in Palembang is pretty boring sometimes so I really look forward to the times we leave the house. However, if I don't plan these trips well, Aaron makes them so unpleasant that I start wishing for the relative tranquility of staying home. Here are some of the strategies I use to make sure we're all happy.
Timing - I only leave the house after Aaron has had a nap. Also, if he's due for a nap while we're still out, I always find a quiet corner to walk him to sleep. An overtired baby is a tantrum landmine.
Always Ready Diaper Bag - I usually keep Aaron's diaper bag packed and ready to go at all times. No sense adding to the stress by rushing to pack the bag while running out the door.
Feed Feed Feed - A full tummy always minimizes the tantrums. I feed right before leaving, as soon as we arrive at the destination and then every 2 hrs if we're out of the house for several hours. Even a quick 5 minute feed does wonders in filling the baby, quenching thirst and calming a baby.
Car Seat Toys - The biggest tantrum trap for us is the car seat. The strategy that we use is to have some car only toys available. This stash of toys are only available to Aaron if he's strapped into the car seat. And, even these are rotated to minimize the risk of tantrums.
The strategies I have outlined have worked to varying degrees. A baby is just like you or me; sometimes they have good days and other times bad. I keep reminding myself that tantrums are caused by Aaron's inability to express his frustrations in a meaningful way and my job as Mama is to help him through this phase as gently as possible.