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Tantrums are one of those unavoidable parts of parenthood and when you're in it, you're really in it. Your toddler has gone boneless and is sprawled crying across the floor. What can you do?

Here are six things to try:

1. Be present and listen.

My number one recommended strategy is to be present. In some ways, this sounds deceptively simple. If you walked into a room and saw a father using this strategy with his child, you'd see a child having a tantrum—yelling, crying, maybe kicking the floor—and a parent just sitting there with them. How hard could that be? Very, it turns out. Pay attention to what is happening and listen to what your child is trying to say.

2. Be empathetic.

In Western culture, we very rarely sit still and just listen to anything. Our instinctive parental urge is to make the tantrum stop. We go through different strategies one by one, just waiting for something, anything, to "work."

And if nothing "works" to calm our child down, we do the next best thing for our own comfort: We check out a bit. We walk away, take out our phone or start to do something else. All we want at that moment is for the crying, the yelling and the kicking to stop; if that doesn't happen, whatever we tried didn't "work."


The other definition of something that "works," though, is something that makes our child feel better, something that's comforting at the moment. Sometimes a parent's presence – their ability to sit and be with all of the distress without trying to cut it short—is what a child needs.

Tantrums are often a discharge of sorts, a catharsis of overwhelming emotions, and often the most "effective" thing a parent can do may be to sit near their child and nonverbally communicate their unconditional presence.

3. Distinguish between feelings and behaviors.

As your child is letting out all of their feelings, it may be that they become so overwhelmed by anger, frustration and distress that they engage in certain behaviors that are not okay, namely those that are not safe for themselves or those around them. These might include hitting, kicking, scratching, hurling wooden blocks across the room, etc.

At this point, you need to make a distinction between their feelings and their behavior, with the underlying message being that although all feelings are welcome in your home, all behaviors are not: "Chloe, I see that you are so angry. You can yell and scream and cry and kick the floor as hard as you can, but I will not let you hurt me [or your little sister, or the dog]. That is not okay."

4. Use a firm—not angry—tone of voice.

Ideally, your presence, including your words and actions, will ultimately help soothe your child. We want them to experience you as both loving and containing. When you use words like the ones above, speak firmly, in a way that conveys you are setting an important limit, but not one that communicates your own anger and frustration.

Might you feel angry and frustrated? Of course. Might you even say that you feel angry and frustrated? That too is okay (although it might be communicated more effectively after the eye of the storm has passed). Speaking in clearly angry tones, however (including yelling), will have the opposite effect you intend; your child's emotion—anger, frustration, perhaps even guilt at this point—will escalate, and therefore so will the tantrum.

5. Consider using touch to keep your child and yourself safe.

Sometimes your voice will not be enough to calm your child down, and you will be sufficiently worried about your or their safety that you need to respond using your physical body. If your child tends to feel calmer when you place a hand on their shoulder, or move closer to them, or even envelop them in a bear hug, then these are all options you can employ, although heed their cues as to whether this is something they actually want or need (as you likely know from your own experiences of strong feelings, sometimes physical touch from a loved one is welcome; other times it feels intrusive).

Of course, if safety is an issue, then this, of course, comes first, and holding your little one in such a way that they do not hurt themselves or anyone else is a priority regardless of their reaction (if safety is an ongoing concern during your child's tantrums, then professional assistance is recommended).

When thinking about the use of physical touch, pay attention to whether your child seems to receive more hugs and loving touch from you during a tantrum than at other times of day, as, once again, you don't want to fall into the trap of inadvertently rewarding (and thereby encouraging) the tantrum behaviors. If this is the case, make a conscious effort to up your physical affection at times when your child is not in the throes of a meltdown.

6. Make keeping yourself calm a priority.

Whatever you do to keep yourself emotionally regulated—deep breathing, feeling into your body, reminding yourself that your little one's brain isn't yet fully cooked—now is the time to go for it.

If you can exude calm and stability, your child will be able to use this to bring themselves back to a regulated state. For me, this is sometimes as simple as Van Morrison's Into the Mystic; when this song is on,right from the opening guitar chords, it is physically impossible for me to feel agitated. Thanks to Spotify and Sonos, I can (and have been known to) play this song while one of my kids is mid-meltdown, in an effort to bring myself to a calmer place.

Excerpted from The Tantrum Survival Guide by Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, PhD. Copyright (c) 2019 The Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission from The Guilford Press.

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."


We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"


The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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