Your crying newborn
It’s common for new parents to worry that their baby is crying too much. And, like most new parents, you are likely being bombarded by advice and ideas on how to deal with this from your friends and family.
It’s completely normal for new parents to be concerned when their baby cries. Of course parents feel uncomfortable when their baby cries, but all babies do. It’s the main way they have to tell you that they need something.
Parents worry that if they always pick up their baby when he cries they will spoil him, but that just isn’t true. Your newborn isn’t crying to please or upset you – he doesn’t know how to do that yet. He’s just letting you know that he needs something or that he’s upset and unhappy. In fact, babies that are soothed when they cry actually cry less in the long run. Also, if you don’t respond to your baby’s cries on a regular basis it can interfere with his ability to trust you and other people now and in the future.
Our experts have put together some facts about crying and some tips to help you cope.
- It’s common for many babies to cry more during the first six weeks. Gradually, as they learn to soothe or quiet themselves down, they’ll cry less and less. It takes a while for this to happen, though. Some babies who have very sensitive temperaments, can take a long time to learn to soothe themselves.
- It’s typical for young babies to cry many times a day for a total of about 2 hours in a 24 hour period. But you have to remember, every baby is different. Some cry more often or for longer periods. This can add up to 3 or more hours in a day. Most of these babies are healthy and growing well.
- Talk to your doctor about your baby’s crying at your next appointment. Ask if she has any guidelines about when to call or when you should worry. There are no real hard and fast guidelines, but if you want to know what’s typical and normal try filling out a crying log to show to your baby’s doctor.
- And never hesitate to call the doctor if you are worried about crying. The staff will ask you more specific questions and help you gauge your baby’s needs.
- Babies cry for lots of reasons. He could be hot or cold or have a tummy ache. Maybe he is just lonely and needs to be held. Finding the reason for his cries is part of the learning – in time you will learn most of his cues.
- Babies do not need to cry to develop their lungs. Most babies don’t know how to soothe themselves for at least the first six months and sometimes longer. So always try to soothe your crying, young baby.
- Avoid letting him ‘cry it out.’ Keep trying to soothe him. Your baby needs to feel your presence.
- If you feel frustrated or angry, you can let your baby cry until you feel calm again. Letting your baby cry is better than you feeling the urge to shake him or worse. Try calling someone for support; ask for help. It’s OK to need a break now and then.
- When your baby is fussy try consoling him by walking, rocking and talking softly to him. Sometimes a warm bath helps or singing. Some parents find taking their baby for a drive helps, as the motion of the car can be soothing.
- There are two red flags to watch for when your baby is crying: one is a very high-pitched cry and the other is a really feeble cry. IF your baby cries in either of these two ways, or if you’re worried about your baby, call the doctor or take the baby to the emergency room.
Age Groups: 0 - 2 months, 2 – 4 months, Infant