How Do I Look After Myself When My Baby Is Crying
Parenting can feel like a marathon rather than a sprint and its important to look after your own needs. This means eating regular, healthy meals, staying well hydrated, getting as much rest and sleep as possible and knowing when to ask for help. Accept all reasonable offers of support from the people closest to you.
Try to stay calm, even though your baby is upset. Practice some mindfulness exercises and deep breathing.
Understand that sometimes you wont know what your baby wants. Try not to view their crying as something you need to ‘fix’, but instead see it as their primary means of communication.
Letting Your Child Cry It Out At Naptime Is Totally Different Than Bedtime
In my research and experience, sleep training during the night and doing so for naps? Its two completely separate events.
So if youre nap training your child with a version of cry it out, its okay to have a completely different set of rules especially for how long you let them cry.
For us, we found that letting our children cry for an hour at naptime had zero effect except to leave us all frazzled and exhausted. Instead, I had to implement a 10-minute max to the crying time. After 10 minutes, a crying baby was gotten up and wed try the nap again later.
Ive talked to other parents who were able to get a crying child to nap even after a longer period of crying.
In other words, theres still no time limit as to how long your child can cry it out at naptimes. Just remember that its different than bedtime and thats okay.
What Are Some Of The Common Reasons For Crying
Sometimes it may be hard to know why your baby is crying. But its helpful to be able to rule out a few of the more common causes of crying and to understand why your baby is upset.
Consider whether your baby might be:
- feeling uncomfortable try changing their nappy and checking theyre not too hot or cold
- hungry, tired or have a tummy ache overtired babies often cry loudly when they need to sleep
- in need of cuddles and reassurance
- not feeling well sometimes crying is the only obvious sign that a baby is unwell
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Coping With A Crying Colicky Or Unresponsive Baby
You already know that no two babies are alike, but this reality may still hit you hard when you hear other parents talking about how easy their babies are or how their newborn sleeps peacefully through the night. Try to avoid comparisons and specific expectations, as they can create negative feelingsespecially if you have a very challenging baby. Give yourself a break if you are having feelings you didnt expect. It may take a bit of time to get in sync with your baby, but the extra work will be worth it!
For stressful situationswhen your baby wont stop crying or wont respond to you, and when you are feeling frustrated, tired, and angryyou need to develop some strategies for taking care of yourself. When youre calm and centered, youll be better able to figure out whats going on with your child and soothe his or her cries.
Recognize your limits. Pay attention to internal warning signs when you are feeling overwhelmed. The sooner you spot your personal limits, the easier it is to plan aheadfor extra help, a break, an excursion outside, or a quick pep talk from a friend or loved one. These small steps to prepare will help you get in the best frame of mind to care for your baby.
Remember that time is on your side. For most babies, crying peaks at six weeks and then gradually eases off. There is an end to the crying on the horizon! You may have to put in a little extra work right now and be very patient, but things will get better.
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How Long Is Too Long To Let A Baby Cry At Night Before Picking Them Up
There is no set timeline for when its too long to let a baby cry before picking them up, as long as your babys needs are met and they are safe. If their cry changes, check on them in person or via a monitor to see if they need to be picked up and comforted.
If youre not sure, youve got two choices:
- Give it a minute. See what happens.
- Go pick them up and comfort them. You can always try again later.
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Notice Your Babys Tells
There are other, subtler, cues that offer a peek into what your baby needs, and reading these can prevent crying spells.
A few are clear, like rubbing their eyes or yawning when theyre tired.
Others are less obvious, such as averting their gaze when theyve had enough stimulation. Watch your baby closely their body movements, positions, facial expressions, and vocal sounds at various times of day to learn these cues.
Remember, every baby is unique. Just because your first baby sucked on their hand when they were hungry doesnt mean your second one will. Instead, this action may say, I need to calm down.
Needing A Diaper Change
Alright, so you may think this one is easy. However, because a newborns poop doesnt have a distinct smell yet, it can be tricky . So, how can you tell when theyve done the deed in their diaper?
Your baby might look uncomfortable, restless, or even irritated. Having a dirty diaper can make them cranky and moody.
If your little one falls asleep while wearing a soiled diaper, they may wake up suddenly. Another clue is if its been a while since the last diaper change then its probably time to check.
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Reasons Why Some Babies Dont Cry
Most babies have a natural crying instinct theyre programmed to announce their arrival with a big Waah. Since newborns cant talk yet, crying is simply the best way for them to communicate.
Still, as long as your babys needs are met, theres no issue with them not crying as much. Every baby is different some might feel hungry or cold but arent able to express it by crying.
If your pediatrician has determined everything is fine with your newborn, they may simply still be learning how to cry. If so, you must discover other gestures your little one might use to let you know what they need.
Clinically, I find that the amount of crying varies with the temperament of the baby. This is best seen with twins one twin may seem to cry and vocalize often, while the other is calm, quieter, and cries less.
This is also why its so tough for parents with babies who cry less. How do you know if their needs are met? Its common to label a baby who cries less as an easy baby but chances are its the opposite.
Here are some ways your newborn might communicate with you without crying :
How To Know When To Seek Help
Sometimes no matter how much swaddling or swinging you provide, the crying wont cease. Many parents are concerned that excessive crying could be harmful for the baby. Dr. Bristol assures parents this is not the case.
Assuming there are no medical issues, there is no harm in a babys excessive crying, he says. They may get a hoarse voice, but they will eventually get tired and stop crying. Your baby may also get a little gassy from swallowing air while crying, but thats OK. If your baby wont stop crying, youre not a bad parent for letting them cry it out. But this is easier said than done.
That said, there are times youll want to consult your pediatrician.
If your babys crying is accompanied by fever, vomiting or diarrhea, or you feel like they might be injured, you should bring them to see a doctor, Dr. Bristol says. If everything seems normal and your baby is still inconsolable, you can still turn to your pediatrician for help. Doctors can provide other techniques or remedies you may not have tried.
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Is My Fussy Baby Colic
When infants cry excessively and regularly without identifiable reasons, they are often called infantile colic. Colic is defined as inconsolable crying for 3 or more hours a day.
Colic is not just a growing pain. Its not the childs temperament or a medical condition.
It means, We have no idea why they cry, but lets give it a name.
If you and the pediatrician are unable to identify the cause of your infants long, persistent crying, then you may say that your baby is colicky2.
Put Yourself In Their Place
If your babys cry or cues hold no insight to what is troubling her, think about what would bother you if you were them. Is the TV too loud? Is the overhead light too bright? Would you be bored? Then take the appropriate action.
If you suspect your baby is bored, carrying them around in a front-facing carrier or taking them outside in a stroller offers a welcome change of scenery.
To mask ambient sounds in the household and recreate the shushing your newborn heard in the womb, provide calming white noise, such as turning on a fan or the clothes dryer.
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What Is The Cio Method
Cry it out or sometimes controlled crying is an umbrella term used to describe several different methods that involve letting a baby cry as they learn to fall asleep on their own.
You may be familiar with the Ferber Method, for example, which has parents set specific time increments to check on baby if theyre crying but there are several other sleep training programs that involve varying degrees of CIO.
How Is Colic Treated
There are many tips for helping to soothe and deal with a colicky baby. Know that this is a common problem for new babies. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider to find out more about colic and what you can do.
If your baby is bottle-fed, it may help to use a curved bottle. This lets you hold your baby in an upright position.
To reduce the amount of air your baby swallows during feeding, burp your baby often. Using a bottle with a collapsible bag or liner may also help.
Learning how to understand your baby’s cry can help in dealing with colic. It takes some time for parents and babies to get used to each other. Also remember that its normal for babies to cry for a certain amount of time every day.
What works for one baby may not work for another. Other suggestions to try include:
If your baby is bottle-fed and these methods dont work, your childs healthcare provider may recommend a 1-week trial of a non-milk-based formula.
If you breastfeed your baby, the provider may suggest that you avoid foods that are likely to cause an allergic reaction. This means that you should not have milk, eggs, nuts, or wheat for a period of time.
Dealing with a colicky baby is stressful. It may help to let someone care for your baby from time to time. Ask an adult family member, friend, or a responsible babysitter. Its important to take a break. Taking care of yourself and reducing your stress level may help your baby as well.
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Getting Help With A Crying Baby
You can talk to a friend, your health visitor or GP, or contact the Cry-sis helpline on 08451 228 669, open 9am to 10pm, 7 days a week. You’ll be charged for your call.
Cry-sis can put you in touch with other parents who have been in the same situation.
You can also visit the Cry-sis website for information on coping with crying babies.
If you decide to talk to your health visitor or GP, it can help to keep a record of how often and when your baby cries.
For example, this might be after every feed or during the evening. This can help your health visitor or GP to work out if there’s a particular cause for the crying.
Keeping a record can also help you identify the times when you need extra support. You could think about possible changes to your routine.
There may be times when you’re so tired and angry you feel like you cannot take any more. This happens to a lot of parents, so do not be ashamed to ask for help.
If you do not have anyone who can take care of your baby for a short time and the crying is making you stressed, put your baby in their cot or pram, make sure they’re safe, close the door, go into another room and try to calm yourself down.
Set a time limit for example, 10 minutes then go back.
Tips For Settling Your Baby
- Once youve checked the basics theyre clean, dry, comfortable and fed consider if they just need to be close to you. Often, babies dont need anything ‘done’ for them, they just want to be held by the people they feel emotionally connected with.
- Hold your baby close to you and gently pat, rock or sway. Use a soothing, reassuring voice to let them know youre there. Sometimes the only way youll be able to settle your baby is to hold them until they fall asleep. See your child health nurse if your baby always needs to be cuddled to sleep.
- Take a walk outside and have a change of scenery this can help because its distracting.
- Try holding them in different positions in your arms. Offer skin-to-skin contact if theyre still very young.
- Offer a dummy if your baby has one.
- Give your baby a warm bath and a massage afterwards. Be sensitive to your babys cues some babies love baths and others dislike being undressed.
- Offer your baby a comforting breastfeed. If your baby is bottle feeding, they may need some extra milk.
- If your baby is younger than 3 months, swaddle them with a light cotton or muslin wrap.
- Put some music on, try humming, singing a song or reading to your baby. The sound of your voice may be enough to soothe them.
- Hand them to another trusted adult. Have a break from the intensity of your babys crying.
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All Babies Cry But How Much Is Too Much
Babies with colic can be incredibly challenging, but thankfully the condition ends on its own.
This guide was originally published on June 13, 2019 in NYT Parenting.
The best part of having friends and family with a new baby is the chance to hold the adorable infant as he sleeps and then hand him off as soon as he starts to cry. Of course, parents dont have this option and must become adept at deciphering whats wrong and learning how to soothe their child.
Infants typically cry about two hours each day, but around 20 percent of babies are colicky. These champion criers spend three or more hours each day fussing and wailing inconsolably. For mothers and fathers, being unable to comfort your child is extremely frustrating, making the first few months of parenthood even more challenging.
I searched through the scientific research and spoke with two pediatricians, a pediatric gastroenterologist and a child neurologist to learn how to comfort a crying infant and to examine some of the factors that may contribute to colic.