If your baby cries at church, everyone looks, and you wonder if it’s worth it to go to church when your baby cries or is fussy, read this.
Dear mom whose baby cries at church…
I see you.
I see you breaking out into a sweat when your baby starts fidgeting and fussing. And I see your face turn red and your neck flush as you bounce your baby up and down.
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When lots of people turn to stare at you…
I see the relief you feel when your baby takes the pacifier, falls asleep, or starts to feed and is quiet for a few minutes.
And I see you trying to listen to the sermon, sing the songs, and conversate with others even though your tiny human is demanding your attention at every turn.
It’s really obvious, your hypersensitivity towards bothering other people.
I see you go in and out of the sanctuary or meeting room to change a diaper, calm your fussy baby, or nurse with a look on your face that is almost apologetic as if to say…
“I’m sorry that bringing my baby to church disturbs everyone.”
We see you prepared for everything under the sun in hopes she will be calm, quiet, and allow you to pay attention to the message.
I see your tired eyes. The eyes let me know you wonder, sometimes, if it’s even worth coming to church if you have to bring the baby with you.
Sometimes, I see you take your baby to child care and return to your seat only slightly less calm than before. Then, not long after, I see someone come out and say your baby wants you and only you.
Then I see the onlookers
I see the heads that turn in your direction, trying to pinpoint where that fidgety baby is.
And the occasional eye roll (usually from another woman) that says, “Can’t she keep her baby quiet?” Even though every mother knows babies aren’t robots.
We see (and hear) sighs and shoulder shrugs that show exasperation that the sanctuary isn’t so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
The blatant stares that are supposed to communicate, “Please take your baby somewhere else and leave us in peace.”
But I also see the ones who “get it“
The pastor who continues through your babies cries with his sermon or prayer without missing a beat. He’s probably a dad, after all.
Mothers who give you a knowing smile or wink because, hey, babies get fussy. That’s real life.
I see grandmotherly women smile nostalgically at you, they too remember this life season.
The women who offer to take your baby for you and give you a chance to hear the sermon.
I see those around you who seem nervous, not because they are annoyed, but because they want you to feel at peace but aren’t sure how to help.
Would you let them walk your baby around while you listen?
And then I see your baby…
A baby whose mother is willing to brave the discomfort, “inconvenience” and stress of bringing him into church even if it doesn’t “go well.”
I see a baby who is blessed to hear the Word of God on a Sunday morning (even if he can’t understand it) when so many never do.
We see a baby who with a mother who values spiritual things in a season where natural things have completely taken over her life.
I see a baby with a godly mother who prioritizes an eternal message over other people’s temporary discomfort.
And I see your baby… being a baby.
Don’t stop coming, mom whose baby cries at church.
Even if your baby cries every Sunday.
And you get over-the-shoulder looks.
And you feel so stressed you wonder what’s the point.
So many of us see you… and we have been you.
Strategies to handle baby crying during church
Here are some simple strategies you can use if you feel that you are never getting to pay attention because of baby.
- Do nothing | Honestly, I think this is valid. Babies cry. If it gets out of hand go stand in the lobby or outside until baby calms a bit.
- Sit in the back and feed | This is a great way to keep baby quiet and happy. Sit where you are comfortable nursing and start when the sermon starts so you can get some good quiet time in.
- Rotate in and out with your spouse | Divide and conquer. Choose who will “go out” during service and rotate it.
- Use the nursery | If you need to get used to the nursery workers to feel safe doing this, spend a week or two in with them. Then use the nursery so you can get a few minutes.
- Let someone hold the baby | I personally would walk your baby around for 30 minutes. I’m betting many others would too. Be vulnerable and look around if baby is fussing. If you see someone giving you sympathetic eyes, ask them for help. We’d have people lining up to hold your baby at our church.
- Give baby a pacifier | This is a great time to use a pacifier. If you have a newborn, introduce the pacifier early on so you can use it in times like this.
We are for you, mama, keep on keeping on.