What you need to know about your crying baby
All new parents expect a wonderful, smiling, responsive baby. Being confronted with a screaming, inconsolable baby, who appears to be crying for no reason and does not respond to your attempts to stop the crying, is one of the most disappointing and frustrating experiences of a new parent.
Crying is normalCrying is normal, and it does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your baby. We now know that all babies in every culture have a period of time with increased crying. It begins at about two weeks of age and continues to about three to four months of age. Most babies follow a general pattern, but it can be different for each baby. Some babies may cry upwards of one hour a day, at their peak, while another baby may cry five hours a day.
It is appropriate to take your baby to your health care provider to be examined for signs of any illness if you are of the opinion that his crying is excessive. The medical provider will perform a comprehensive physical examination and may run a few tests to assure the family that the baby is healthy and not crying because of pain.
Many parents and physicians describe this normal crying stage as colic. This can be very confusing for parents. It concerns them when they’re told, "your baby has colic". It sounds like an illness. When the baby is given colic medicine, the physician reinforces the idea that something is wrong with your baby, when in fact, the baby is completely normal.
Why is this crying so frustrating?Despite what you do, crying babies get worse and worse with time until it peaks at about two to three months of age. If we know ahead of time that the crying will get worse before it gets better, it should be easier to deal with.
These crying spells tend to start and stop for no apparent reason at all, which can be very frustrating for caregivers. We as parents are always uncomfortable when the crying happens for no apparent reason.
Remember, crying does not mean that there is something wrong with your baby or that that you are not a good parent. Your baby is not in pain. This time of increased crying does end, and your baby will be completely normal.
When crying becomes a concernWhen caregivers are confronted with prolonged periods of inconsolable crying, parents may feel overwhelmed with frustration and anger. For some, this frustration escalates, and can result in shaking their baby. This could result in permanent brain injury or even death.
Steps to Help Parents and Caregivers Alleviate Anger and Frustration due to Baby Crying:
- First reassure yourself that your baby is okay. It is a good idea to take your baby to the pediatrician if there is a time of increased crying for a check-up to reassure yourself that your baby is fine.
- When babies are ill, they often have other symptoms besides crying such as decrease appetite and a fever. They may have other symptoms such as cough, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Tag Team: It is important to have someone else you trust to take to help you care for the baby for a short periods of time. This will allow you time to decrease your stress and allow you to do things such as taking a few minutes to take a hot shower, walk, or nap. This all can make a big difference.
- Tips to Sooth Your Baby: Remember there may be times that nothing you do will calm your baby. At that time just place the infant in a safe place and walk away.
- Feed your baby
- Burp Your Baby
- Give your baby a lukewarm bath
- Massage your baby
- Make eye contact, smile, rock your baby, hold or change position
- Hum or sing softly
- Run a vacuum cleaner, which is an example of white noise
- Take your baby for a ride in the car
And, remember that all parents of all backgrounds and cultures go through these feelings of frustration and anger with their baby. In parenting, we often experience challenges as our children grow. And, although those frustrations feel like they will last forever, they don’t. Our children grow and change, and these things, too will pass.
The most important thing to remember is that if you get angry, take a deep breath, put your baby in a safe place and walk away. Never! Never! Never! Have a baby in your arms when you feel angry or resentful. It is okay to put the baby down and all will get better with time.
For more information, check out these resources:
When your baby just won’t stop crying: what you need to know about colic
Nov 02, 2015