How To Console A Crying Newborn

Key Points To Remember About Your Baby’s Crying

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  • crying is a normal part of baby development – it’s your baby’s way of communicating
  • your baby is not ‘being naughty’ when they cry
  • babies often need a lot of calming, soothing and holding when they are upset
  • your baby won’t develop bad habits or become spoilt if they are comforted and soothed when they are distressed
  • have a plan for what you will do if your baby keeps crying and you become upset or angry
  • if you think you might lose control, put your baby in a safe place and walk away – take a short break

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Take Care Of Yourself Too

It can be stressful when your baby cries for no obvious reason and isnt easily soothed. Your baby needs you to be calm, too, and that can be hard if you are tired.

If you find yourself getting tense or angry as your baby cries, try breathing deeply to help yourself relax. If thats not enough, lay your baby down in a safe place and go into another room for 10 or 15 minutes. Lie down, listen to calming music, do a household chore or take other steps to calm yourself. When you feel ready, go back and pick up your baby.

Ask friends or family members to relieve you at times so you can go for a walk outside, take a nap or have some time to yourself. Its not selfish to take care of yourself. Restoring your ability to be calm can be the best thing you can do for your baby.

All Babies Have Moments Days Or Weeks When They Cry More Than Usual And It Can Be Very Upsetting And Frustrating For Parents Who Are Trying To Soothe Them

Be prepared: Crying time generally increases from about two weeks of age, peaking at about six to eight weeks, and levelling out by about four months. Photograph: Thinkstock

All babies have moments, days or weeks when they cry more than usual, and it can be very upsetting and frustrating for parents who are trying to soothe them.

Crying time generally increases from about two weeks of age, peaking at about six to eight weeks, and levelling out by about four months.

A parent will interpret the crying on an emotional level so its not just a noise like a car alarm going off that is annoying, says Tess Noonan, quality assurance manager with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children . It is liable to make them question their abilities as parents.

When its combined with other stress factors, such as lack of sleep, financial worries and isolation, the pressure can become unbearable.

An estimated 10 per cent of babies cry a lot many of them are just more sensitive and easily overwhelmed than others. The loose term colic is applied to healthy babies who cry for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks.

A lot of new mothers are very isolated, says Rita OReilly, manager of Parentline, the confidential listening service. The nearest person is maybe their mother-in-law and they dont want to tell them the baby is crying.

Try to understand whats going on

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Spot The Signs Of Colic

If your newborn fusses and cries sometimes for hours on end, then you, too, may have a case of colic on your hands up to 26 percent of babies get this diagnosis. Colic usually starts at 2 weeks, peaks at 6 weeks, and is gone by 16 weeks. It’s long been defined as unexplained crying for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week, for three weeks or morebut this is just a rule of thumb, and your infant doesn’t need to meet these exact criteria to be considered colicky.

Although it’s true that all babies cry, those with colic do so with gusto. We’re talking earsplitting screams that seem to come out of nowhere and could shatter a window. The crying jags can happen at any time evenings are notoriously brutal, however. Luckily, there are tricks for calming the fussiest of babies and for getting through this difficult stage without totally losing it.

Every Parent And Caregiver Knows From First Hand Experience That Babies Calm Down When They Are Picked Up Gently Rocked And Carried Around The Room Christopher Bergland Wrote

5 Tips for Soothing a Crying Baby

The response, seen as babies calm down and stop moving as soon as theyre picked up and rocked or carried, is mediated by the parasympathetic nervous system and a region of the brain called the cerebellum. Its also related to proprioception, or the perception of ones body and movements.

Whether in your arms or snuggled in a chair, rocking is scientifically proven to calm a crying baby.

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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.

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.

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When To Call The Doctor

Most of the time, the crying will stop when the babys comfort needs are met. Call the doctor if any of these occur:

  • Your baby cries constantly for more than 3 hours
  • The babys cry sounds different or painful to you
  • Your baby has vomiting, diarrhea or is not feeding well
  • Your baby cannot be soothed
  • You feel scared that you are tired, angry, or you might hurt the baby
  • Your baby is ill, especially if he or she has a fever of 100.4 F or more

Watch For Attachment Milestones

Tips to Console Crying Baby | Reasons Why Baby Cry | Tips to Find about Baby Hungry or Sleepy

If your baby has challenges that get in the way of emotional connection, bonding and attachment may suffer. The following attachment milestones can help you recognize your babys attachment progress.

If the milestones are not happening in the right time frame, you should seek help. Fear or stress might make you feel reluctant to evaluate your baby this way, but attachment problems identified early are usually easier to fix.

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Pay Attention To Your Babys Signals

The whole world comes to your baby through their senses, and every baby has different sensory needs, which is why one baby might love to be held and another doesnt or one baby will cry because of a wet diaper and another will ignore it and continue to play happily.

Get to know your babys preferences by engaging all of your senses as you try to figure out what your baby needs. Try being especially attentive to:

Changes in mood. Do your babys mood changes seem to coincide with environment changes, the time of day, or in relation to food or naps? For example, if your baby is cranky in the late morning, watch to see if they are sending signals that youre missinglike an isolated yawn or eye rubbing.

Reactions to different situations and environments. Babies often send signals that we as adults just dont notice. Your baby might get overstimulated if too many people are around or become especially upset about schedule changes.

Differences in your babys cries. At first all cries will sound the same, but, gradually, you will hear how the Im hungry cry is very different from the Im tired cry. Notice noise level, pitch and intensity of the cry, as well as your babys body language and facial expressions. An arched back, a scrunched-up face, eyes tightly closed to shut out the light, fists curled up, rubbing eyes, hyperactive or frenetic movementall of these signs communicate something specific about your babys emotional and physical state.

Calming Yourself Is Job Number One

The first trick to calming your baby is to recognize that you yourself are anything but calm. Take a moment to name how you are feeling . After that crucial first step, here are some additional strategies that may help:

About Baby Steps

This article was featured in Baby Steps, a ZERO TO THREE newsletter for parents and caregivers. Each issue offers science-based information on a topic of interest to parents and caregivers of young childrenfrom sleep to challenging behaviors, and everything in between.

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Think Back To Birth Breathing

Many of you will have learnt breathing techniques as part of birth preparations. These can be used once your baby is born too.

Either step away from the baby then take a few minutes to try to breathe deeply or employ this deep breathing while holding your baby. Think back to a pregnancy yoga class or a favourite calming song or experience and breathe those deep, rhythmical breaths. You are so closely connected this may well calm them too.

Know When To Seek Help

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If you constantly feel overwhelmed and the feeling doesnt go away, you probably need some outside help. Additionally, if you are feeling like you cant pick up on your babys cues or your baby isnt alert enough to engage in the early milestone behaviors, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Problems that are identified early can almost always be solved.

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Baby Blues And Postpartum Depression

Having a baby who is difficult to comfort can increase parents stress and can contribute to the baby blues and/or postpartum depression. As many as 50%80% of new mothers experience the baby blues in the first 10 days after childbirth. Symptoms may include tearfulness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of loss. The baby blues usually get better after about 10 days.

Approximately 8%15% of new moms experience postpartum depression in the first year of motherhood, which is different from the blues. With depression, symptoms last more than 2 weeks and include feeling down and hopeless, increased crying, feeling little pleasure or interest in activities one used to enjoy, and loss of energy. If you are experiencing these feelings, it is very importantfor you and your babythat you seek help from a trusted health professional.

In Babies Over 3 Months

Newborn crying has a physiological basis, such as hunger, and infants this young rely on a parent to soothe them, explains Patti Ideran, OTR/L CEIM, a pediatric occupational therapist who focuses on treating infants with colic, crying, and sleeping or feeding difficulties.

Babies older than about 3 or 4 months of age have likely mastered self-soothing, by using a thumb, fist, or pacifier. But that doesnt mean they dont have their vocal moments. They may be frustrated, sad, angry, or have and use crying as a way to communicate those feelings.

Teething pain is also a big reason for crying in older babies. Most babies sprout a first tooth between 6 and 12 months. In addition to fussiness and crying, your babys gums may be swollen and tender, and they may drool more than usual.

To relieve the discomfort of teething, offer your baby a clean frozen or wet washcloth or a solid teething ring. If the crying continues, talk to your pediatrician about giving an appropriate dose of acetaminophen . You can also give ibuprofen if your baby is older than 6 months.

Here are the things to try if you have an inconsolable little one:

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Things We Tried To End Our Childs Crying In The Middle Of The Night

Im not one for seeking medical advice or prescriptions unless Ive research and tested things at home and come up without answers or an improvement.

When it came time to put a stop to our 7 year old crying in the middle of the night, I approached it the same way I do everything else. Try to add or eliminate things that make sense before seeking medical treatment.

Evaluate Your Own Emotional State

Having Fun Trying to Console My Crying/Fussy Baby Girl

When your baby cries for hours on end, it is natural to feel responsible. Often, though, blaming yourself can get in the way of your ability to be calm, present, and responsive to your baby. The relationship with your baby is a partnership, so your emotions will make a difference to how your baby reacts. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, angry, anxious, or detached, your baby may have trouble calming down.

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Keep Your Emotional Strength Up

Lack of sleep, hunger and feeling alone can all make it harder to cope with your babys tears. Try to build your resilience up by napping when your baby naps, ensuring you eat often and leaning on your support network. That means you are better able to face those cries and respond to your babys needs.

Check On Physical Needs

Your newborn might be trying to communicate with crying, letting you know about their needs. As you get to know your unique baby, you’ll learn how to distinguish between his or her sounds indicating hunger, pain, surprise, and emotional distress. When youre just getting started with a new baby, though, it might take some patience and experimentation.

If your baby is crying, you should first check:

  • Does the baby need to eat?
  • Is your baby overtired?
  • Does your baby need a diaper change?
  • Is your baby too warm or too cold?

If any of these things are the source of the problem, your baby should settle once his or her needs have been met.

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