Joshua February 2005
Babies cry. It’s a fact of life. Crying is a natural way for babies to communicate. As they grow, they generally cry less each day as they learn other methods of communication such as smiling, laughing, sign language, etc.
When our babies cry our natural response should be to soothe and comfort them. In order to do this we have to figure out why they are crying.
The big three to check for are hunger, wet/dirty diaper, and tiredness. I have found that if those needs are met then my babies are generally pretty happy and content.
However, there are times when babies cry for other reasons. Boredom, loneliness/wants to be held, overstimulated, needs to burp, gassiness, teething, and sickness are some of the other reasons a baby might cry. Determining the cause of the crying is half the battle, resolving the problem is the other half.
What if you think you have met all of your baby’s needs, yet he or she is still crying? Only one of my baby’s has had this problem. I wouldn’t necessarily call it colic, but Joshua definitely had periods of crying/fussiness that would last for what seemed like forever.
The way I dealt with it was to hold him very close to my chest and sway from side to side while keeping his tiny blankie over his eyes. It worked and he would fall asleep and not have another fussy period until the next evening. This went on for several weeks and then, blessedly, it stopped.
I have read that newborns can cry as much as 2-3 hours each day. While this seems like a lot, it is usually spread throughout the course of a 24 hour day. Colic involves even more crying/fussiness.
Colic is defined as a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. Are there any of you reading this that have had to deal with colic in your infant? How did you handle it?
On the opposite extreme, Joseph rarely cried. During his first few weeks he barely cried a total of 5 minutes a day. It was easy to anticipate his needs before he even cried. His disposition was a welcome break.
This just reiterates something I have said before, all babies are different.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the cries of your baby and feel like shaking or hurting your baby then you need to take a time out. Put your baby in a safe place like a crib or playpen. Then shut the door and walk away for 5 minutes. Even though I am not a fan of letting a baby cry it out, I am a fan of keeping babies safe.
Something that I plan to talk about in the next few weeks is babywearing. Wearing a crying baby in a sling and taking a walk is a great way to calm the baby down. It will also give the caregiver an extra pair of hands to feel like they might be able to accomplish something.
A couple of other ideas to soothe a crying baby are swaddling, using white noise from a fan or white noise machine, pacifiers, putting baby in a swing or vibrating bouncer, rocking baby in a rocker or while you are standing, or even putting baby in a stroller and taking a walk are all things to try when baby is fussy and all of his or her physical needs have been met.
What methods of soothing a crying baby have worked best for you?
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- Tummy Time
- Clothing a Newborn
- When You Suspect a Problem
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- Knowing Your Baby
- Trimming Nails & Suctioning Noses
- Baby Learning
- Attachment Parenting
- Sleeping Like a Baby
- Traveling with Baby