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.
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.
God Bless You Rachel. I was really moved to tears & touched by this article, this has happened to me; not only at church but at the stores & doctors office as well. I had even gotten to the point at one store to tell those who were looking: “That Babies Cry, to look elsewhere “. So that they can mind their own business. At one point I felt awfully bad & ashamed I didn’t to go to church for all those things you mentioned above, and also didn’t see the point in going if all I was going to do is care for my child in a room at church; while if I was home my toddler can do all the noise she wants. Now I go to church & if my toddler cries I’ll take her to another room, but dad has to take turns too!!
Rachel Norman says
Ada, oh girl I have been there!!! I really really have. Chin up and let’s hope others show grace that perhaps they were not afforded, which has caused them to be too judgmental :(
Andrea Glenn says
Jd and I go to this church weekly Emma has never caused a disruption we bring her in the sanctuary she usually sleeps if during a rare occasion she seems to start to fuss I immediately take her out. During worship 2 different ushers interrupted us and gave us these cards and Emma wasn’t making a peep. Later a older usher said he saw them give us multiple cards and that we are welcome back because we left to another area of the church and watched the screen. We were going to go back in until the usher that gave Jd the card said he said the pastor wanted to give those out because babies are a distraction and they ask us to think of others?? Our baby is never fussy we wouldn’t keep her in the sanctuary if she cried.
I loved this. Definitely tearing up here! I have a month old that seems to only cry when I try to go to church lol, and only when the preacher pauses! This is my third baby so I’m no stranger to a crying baby, but my other two were quiet as a mouse at least for the few months they were too young for me to want them in the nursery. Thank you so much for the encouragement!
Rachel Norman says
Brit, keep on keeping on, girl. I KNOW how you feel.
Dear Rachel, thank you for understanding. I am typing this in tears because you completely get it. A church elder recently visited us to tell us that complaints had been received by the church leadership and that someone had threatened to leave the church because our little ones aged 1.9 and 9 months are a distraction. He then asked us to love our neighbour by removing our children from the sanctuary to the creche, which is unbiblical. Our 7 year old and 5 year old are calm and quiet through the service but the little ones are fussy. Our hearts are broken. The rejection from our brethren in Christ hurts. It takes years to (3 at least) for children to sit still. Our daily family worship is about 30 minutes long so the Lord’s day service of 90 minutes is a stretch for the babies. Now the family is split with one parent attending morning worship with the older two whilst the other stays home with the babies and goes to evening worship alone. Sad
Rachel Norman says
Oh that is sad sad sad. I honestly get angry when I hear of churches that want everything to be perfectly silent all the time. THAT IS NOT LIFE. Sure kids can go to the nursery if they’re super disruptive and screaming, whatever, but to require it is not at all real life. I’m so sorry you’re going through that!
Grace Franklin says
This article was amazing and encouraging to read. This is my life every single Sunday as I am also aMilitary wife and I most often have to bring my 4 month old to church by myself. I feel as if I send the entire service walking the halls trying to calm her because she can’t seem to fall asleep anywhere but at home or in the car. I pray every week that she might drift off in her carseat on the way there. Do you have any practical advice for attending church with little ones? Obviously it interferes with their nap routine (she can only be happily awake for 1 hour) and my baby does seem to have small meltdowns if she gets tired. I love and need church and our church family, but it’s so hard to go knowing she will most likely cry. I wish I could help her to be rested before we go or to sleep while there!
Rachel Norman says
Grace, girl, I feel you completely. I just try to go and know that some days it’ll be “not worth it” and others it will. Is there someone at church you know and trust (an older lady, perhaps?) that could maybe take the baby for a bit so you can listen?
I am in exactly the same boat as you. I don’t know what to do anymore
What would you say to going out to a weekly bible study in the evening? I have a 6 month old who I could potentially settle in a porter cot in another room but then have to disrupt her and come home and I know it will be an effort to get her to settle!
Rachel Norman says
If that’s important to you then make it happen!
I was very troubled and restless after I was told that my 20 months kid is too noisy and people can’t focus. And asked me to some other room. Our church doesn’t have a nursary.
And I was really discouraged and I felt like a worst Mother who can’t control her kids. I felt so helpless.
Your post encouraged me.
I was in tears.
I love church and my kids love going to church.
Rachel Norman says
Ani, you push through mama. Sometimes these things happen and people forget themselves and forget that BABIES MAKE NOISE. You keep going, girl. Good for you!
Then don’t bring your baby!!! ??♀️??♀️??♀️???
This was exactly what I needed this Sunday morning as I can feel the anxiety build. Thank you!
Thank you. I’m in the choir and a lot of times I’ve asked myself why bother since I’m going to spend most of the time outside the church anyway, or unable to focu? And then other children just seem so calm and stay still!
Taylor S says
Thank you for this. We have been struggling for weeks with this, and I’ve left church too many times wondering what is even the point? Everywhere I look for tips on it, its just filled with a bunch of comments that the church sanctuary is not the place for babies, and my church has no other option. So I appreciate having something else to read. Thank you.
Keep coming g back it gets easier
I have 0 children BY CHOICE. I am very happy being an amazing aunt !! With that said, WHY should I have to get up get dressed, spend the time and money driving and going money to the church only to be burdened with literally CANNOT hear the Sermon or the preacher!! This isn’t right.. I’m hearing more of your baby than I get to hear the reason I got up so early in the first place !! MOTHERS — stop being selfish for once ! Y’all are the best at it… that is YOUR choice to have babies .. this is supposed to a quiet, peaceful service all about God and Jesus. And all I’m thinking about is your damn baby!!! I’m not exaggerating. I could not hear the majority of church service at all this morning.. it was literally a waste and it got me thinking . This is insane y’all either watch from home or get a sitter. This is not fair!!!! Church is NOT the time or place to bring a screaming, crying, disrupting infant SORRYNOTSORRY . Peace be with You
Mom’s sacrifice A LOT to have children and those precious gifts of life should and deserve to hear God’s word daily and on Sunday at church. Jesus said himself to not hinder the children from coming to Him!
Rachel Ortiz says
Jesus said let the little children come and do not forbid them for such is the kingdom of heaven. You are the one being selfish which is understandable since you have no children and are probably bitter about that!!!!!
Perhaps you should be More like Jesus and read your Bible before posting something like this….. Matthew 19:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
It’s not right to stay and let no one hear or enjoy the service. I know when my kid starts wailing, I can’t concentrate, so why stay and torture the entire building, too? Our congregation also has so many folks are hard of hearing, it’s simply unfair to them and everyone else to do nothing. If shushing and rocking and distracting fail, one of us rushes out to calm her and come back when she’s all better. It’s just common courtesy.
Kids are kids and they’ll make noises here and there, but there’s a definite line where their noises pass a certain length or decibel where it’s simply impolite not to leave. We love our neighbors by letting them enjoy the service fully, even if it means we can’t at that moment. :-)
As a mother of six children I certainly understand that babies cry and make noise, and I also understand that older children can be disruptive at times too. No child is perfect, and no parent is perfect. It certainly is a great blessing to see parents trying hard to do right and bring their children to a place where they can hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a beautiful Nursery at our church which I have the privilege and honor of overseeing and directing. It is staffed by Godly Christian ladies Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. We also have wonderful Sunday School classes and Junior Church classes for the children to be a part of. And then certainly we have the main service “Big Church” as I called it when I was little. In this service the pastor brings a message from the word of God. In the service people will hear about the Saving Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the service they will hear the gospel. How that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. In this service they will here that they can trust Christ as their Saviour. Here Christians are exhorted to live holy Godly lives. In the service we are taught biblical principles for Christian Living. I do not agree with the mindset that Nursery aged children should stay in the service even when they are disruptive. That is not fair to those that come seeking the Lord, and it is certainly not right to hinder those that need to hear the gospel. The devil can use many things to hinder the preaching of God’s word including a disruptive child. Dear parent please utilize your church nursery, and be thankful for it. As the nursery director at our church it frustrates me when Mother’s deliberately choose to behave in such a way that is a distraction during the preaching or even hinders them from hearing the preaching that they need to hear. It is always a good idea to put your babies in the nursery and it’s a good thing to be fed spiritually and to be ministered to. Your pastor has labored and prayed all week to preach the sermon he’s preaching. Do all you can to support that and give your full attention to it, and do all you can to allow those around you to hear it as well.
Amen, sister! Thank you for your thoughtful and caring nature. If we make others our priority as Jesus has taught us to, it just makes sense to step out of the service when our kids get out of hand so everyone else can enjoy the service they gave up their Sunday morning to come hear. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this issue, as I was genuinely surprised to see how many mothers on here think the rest of the congregation just has to “deal with” their children’s noises 🤷🏿♀️
It’s stressful on everyone to be expected to take one side or the other on this issue. I think it’s even stressful on mothers who know they are disturbing others but are pressured to NOT CARE or else they are guilty of giving in to the judgemental ways of others!! Wow, what a head trip! I personally think it’s a shame to have week after week of services disrupted when the minister’s whole life is the church and he/she has spent years getting educated and putting so much creative thought into tending to his/her flock and having meaningful sermons and wonderful things like meditations during the service which are then diminished by tiny humans who have only been on Earth a year or two and don’t even know what they are doing.
The answer is a compromise — if people are willing to compromise and not insist it’s their way or the highway — build a soundproof room at the back of the church, filled with donated toys, for mommies/daddies and babies and toddlers to sit in during the service. Then, as the little tykes get older and able to sit still, they can graduate out into the general area. I have seen this in a few churches – it’s a “God send” :-)
Hi my name is nicky, I have a 7 year old son and a 2 year old daughter. My son is in the 2ND grade at school and cries every time I leave him. I pray all the time for him. My heart breaks every morning. I don’t know what to do anymore
Whenever I always heard a baby cry during service, I always saw it as a natural thing. Babies cry – thats what they do. I think we just need to be more understanding and compassionate of that towards the baby and the parents :)
Rachel Norman says
Totally agree, the most natural thing in the world :)
I totally agree that it’s natural for babies to cry, but there is a definite line where it gets so loud and long that it disrupts everyone else’s ability to hear the Word of God. Noises here and there are absolutely to be expected. But the pastor has spent all week preparing their sermon, it would be a shame for no one to be able to hear God speak through them because a parent is unwilling to love their neighbor and step out until their child calms.
I love my neighbor by stepping out with my own daughter so they can hear the message, and I honestly expect others to do the same. Why bother going to church every Sunday when you can’t even hear the pastor speak? I hate to think of those in particular who have not yet received salvation who don’t get to hear God’s word simply because I was too selfish to leave when my child becomes disruptive! I don’t want that on my conscience.
J Eaton says
There is a time and place for everything, and when kids become a distraction for an adult who may wish to concentrate on a message meant for adults, the place is NOT for a crying kid, and the time is to take them out! I am frankly weary of the ongoing “kid worship” that seems to have taken center stage these past 10-15 years. I invite another couple over for game night and they show up not only with their 3 kids in tow, but expect them to sit at the dinner table AND play the games! (Seriously!)
When I grew up we would have our dinner and baths before my parent’s adult guests arrived and were told to stay in our rooms, busy ourselves, and come out only before going to bed to respectfully say our hellos and good nights. Seems as if we have substituted things like, ‘but it’s just so natural to have them around” (even at the expense of adults’ well-being) or “we only do things as a family” (as if a parent has lost all their own identity except through their kid).
Tell me what benefit a wailing 2 yr. old is going to have with anything geared for adults, apart from ruining it for them. The looks you are getting Mom and Dad are valid – are you seriously that rude or so caught up in thinking your kid is that special? Please take them out – that is what the lobby, crying rooms, and the parking lot is for.
I was so encouraged by this article and then I saw all the comments and now I feel worse than before. I’m currently sitting in my car with a baby who keeps making small but unpredictable noises with no option of a nursery or leaving the big room. I haven’t sat in church in weeks and I just feel so discouraged. If children are a blessing from the lord and we are told to let them come but only if they are silent it seems what are we supposed to do? Sit in the car every week til they are old?
Well, i really needed to read these comments and see how people REALLY feel!
We no longer attend church. Our children could not keep quiet, and at some point it stopped being worth it to drive over there to sit in a spare room that may or may not be showing the sermon on a tv. Not to mention there were safety hazards for my toddler (one such room had a black widow spider, the other had sharp pencil and tiny choking hazard toys). We can watch the sermon at home.
At a third church we were relentlessly pressured to leave our children at the nursery without me present. No. As parents, WE are responsible for our children’s safety, not some stranger, no matter how “godly” they claim to be. I understand not having noisy children in the sanctuary, but if my children are leaving im going with them.
And i believe it is unbiblical to not suffer the children to come to Jesus, but until people’s hearts soften, I will not impose.
Just hoping my comment brings some reassurance to any moms who were just not able to make it work.