Why Your Baby Is Fussy
Babies express themselves by crying and fussing. If your little one is upset, make sure all their basic needs are taken care of.
- Is your baby hungry?
- Are they hot or cold?
- Do they need to sleep?
- Do they need to be burped?
- Is their diaper wet or dirty?
- Do they show symptoms of being sick?
If none of the above seems to be the problem, there are a few other possible reasons for a fussy baby.For example, a case of gas can make your baby uncomfortable enough to fuss. Or they might be overstimulated or scared remember this world is a big change from the cozy womb! On the other hand, your little one might be bored. And, of course, sometimes babies cry for what seems to be no reason at all! This brings us to colic.
Start Or Find A Support Group
When your misery needs company, form a high need child support group. Surrounding yourself with other parents who share your plight and your point of view helps you see the specialness of your child. You will also get some valuable child-management tips from experienced parents. Other parents in your support group will be willing to listen to your story over and over and without judgment. You dont have to fear that you are messing up in front of them because the rest of the group members are also struggling to find their way in managing a high need child.
I posted some flyers in grocery stores and malls and at my pediatricians office and started a support group. We met at a park two to four times a month, and used the phone for in-between support. The upside was seeing other difficult children and hearing these moms war stories. The downside was trying to get everyone there because of these unpredictable children. We discussed survival tips and management strategies . It helped to know that there were other people out there struggling just as I was. I soon found that local pediatricians were referring their high need patients to our support group. Perhaps these doctors were just as frustrated as we were.
When Should I Call My Child’s Healthcare Provider
Before assuming your child has colic, look for other signs of illness. These may include:
- Not sucking or drinking a bottle well
- Drinking less milk than usual
- Becoming more irritable when held or touched
- Having a strange-sounding cry
- Having a change in breathing rate or using extra effort to breathe
- Being more sleepy or sluggish than normal
- Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or as directed by your child’s healthcare provider
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Its Really Important To Hide Your Frustrations
I know, I know, this is easier said than done! Instead, give them lots of praise when they ate well or tried something new. Yes, this may mean that you have to ignore some of their bad behaviour and instead focus your attention on their good behaviour, but by doing this, mealtimes are likely to be less stressful and more enjoyable.
What Are The Signs
Every baby exhibits signs of the witching hour a little differently, and the signs can change from day to day, or even week to week.
As Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., describes it, babies will be generally fussy and difficult to soothe. They may want to be constantly held. Often parents will complain that they cant put their babies down.
You might find that your baby cries, grunts, and makes faces that look like they are in pain. They may arch their backs and scream, says Dr. Ganjian.
Frequently, babies will change their feeding patterns. Some babies want to be fed more during this fussy period, Dr. Ganjian explains. But other babies seem to want to be fed less. This change in feeding pattern may happen whether your baby is breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, Dr. Haas clarifies.
When babies tend to feed endlessly in the evenings, this is usually referred to as cluster feeding. Some parents describe it as having a baby who seems to feed for a few minutes, falls asleep, and then wants more immediately. Sometimes these cluster feeding sessions coincide with growth spurts, but they are also typical for this age and part of the witching hour phenomenon.
Still, other babies will seem to refuse to feed, arching away from the breast and bottle. Babies may seem hungry during the witching hour but then refuse to eat, says Dr. Haas. They are not always sure of the right way to settle, she says.
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Your Network Is Broader Than You Think
New mums and dads can access a number of resources, although some are not immediately obvious. As well as friends and family, dont be afraid to call your health visitor, GP, or our support line 0333 252 5051). Especially if youre afraid your frustration is getting too much and youre at risk of harming your baby.
The NSPCCs Coping with Crying film is useful, as are the PURPLE crying website and the Raising Children Network. Make sure you reach out before it gets too much. Extreme cases where parents shake, throw or roughly handle their baby can lead to death and long-term disability for those babies .
How Is Colic Diagnosed
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. You may be asked questions such as:
- How long and how often does your baby cry?
- Have you found anything that seems to trigger the crying?
- What comfort methods help to calm your baby, if any?
Blood tests and X-rays or other imaging tests may be done. These can help find out if your baby has other health problems.
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Shaking A Baby Can Cause:
- permanent brain damage
- developmental delay
You have the power to protect. When your baby wont stop crying, be strong enough to walk away, take a break and come back ready to comfort your baby.
After a few minutes away, I feel 100% better. I am calmer and happy to comfort her. Father of three month old baby
What Is The Witching Hour
According to Michelle Haas, MD, a pediatrician at Austins First Steps in Texas, the witching hour is something commonly experienced by babies in their first few months of life, and can seem to come out of nowhere.
The witching hour is a period of fussiness that usually happens at the same time each day, typically late afternoon or evening, says Dr. Haas. Babies are most commonly crying, fussy and slow to console. The fussiness can seem to start without a specific trigger.
What Is Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken baby syndrome, or abusive head trauma, is when a child’s brain is injured from physical abuse. Most cases happen when a parent or caregiver shakes a baby while angry or frustrated, often because the baby won’t stop crying. These injuries can cause permanent brain damage or death. No one should ever shake a baby for any reason.
Finding ways to ease a parent or caregiver’s stress when a baby is crying can help stop shaken baby syndrome.
Final Thoughts: How To Calm Fussy Newborns That Wont Sleep
Think of baby calming as a danceand your little love is leading. When hes wailing, do the 5 S’s with more intensity in your shush and jiggle. Then, as he calms, gradually reduce your effort and guide him down to a soft landing where he is swaddled with white noise , and perhaps some sucking or gentle rocking.
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Overcoming Fussy Baby Tips
And if your colicky baby transitioned into a fussy baby, then continue reading this blog post on fussy baby tips.
Get Behind The Eyes Of Your Child
Throughout your parenting career, there will be thousands of situations that test your composure. Your toddler pitches a fit at playgroup when you announce its time to go. Your child spills juice all over her shirt when youre already late for an appointment. The first thought that flashes through your mind is likely to be How inconvenient for me But beware, these initial adult-centered thoughts can trigger a whole chain of events that only make things worse.
Lauren, who is three, has an especially quick trigger, and we have learned that she is unreachable once she is flooded with anger. The thing that most sets her off is getting an angry reaction from one of us. This has caused us to consider carefully whether its worth venting our emotion when all we will achieve is sending Lauren into a tailspin. Of course, it never is worth it to get angry at Lauren, but we dont always remember this in time to salvage a situation. She, with her high sensitivity to an insult, has taught us not to insult her. Weve learned to say calmly, Oops, a spill. Lets wipe it up. And we are getting better at staying calm.
Save the Mental Wear and Tear
Consider the Childs Feelings First
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Ways To Soothe Without Overfeeding Your Baby
Try these tips to soothe your baby:
- Reduce stimulation. Turn or move baby away from a busy environment, like a room with older kids playing. In public, take your baby to a quieter spot, and sing to or rock them.
- Play with them. Try making eye contact and talking to them, showing them black-and-white or brightly colored pictures or toys, shaking a rattle or showing baby their reflection in the mirror.
- Use repetitive motion with soft sounds. Think rocking, bouncing, rubbing their back, speaking or singing softly, over and over.
- Find a routine that works for your baby. For example, some babies like to play, sleep, eat and repeat.
- Try a pacifier. Babies are born to suck, so pacifiers are often soothing.
- Help them sleep. Babies can only stay up for a few hours at a time they might be irritable because they need help falling asleep. Try the tips above to help baby nod off without a fuss.
Sometimes babies cry, even after youve done everything you can to console them. Many babies have a fussy time of day. Or your baby might be gassy or sick.
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Remember This Too Shall Pass
Family and friends might make this statement after you vent your frustrations. It may seem like a canned response, but its actually great advice.
Its important to remember that this phase is temporary and many babies outgrow their neediness. So while they require a little extra love and attention now, their behavior wont always be so erratic.
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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.
Need urgent help? .
Know When To Call The Doctor
If these simple solutions for a baby upset stomach aren’t working, call the doctor. Colic, which is inconsolable crying, might not really have a known cause, says Dr. Loizides, and a pooping problem called dyschezia usually works itself out on its own. However, he says to watch out for concerning symptoms like pain during or after feeding, persistent food refusal, vomiting blood or green or yellow fluid, poor growth, breathing problems, or choking.
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Make Sleep A Priority
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Nap when your baby naps. Its tempting to get things done while your babys napping. Resist that temptation and take a nap yourself. To keep your sanity in parenting a high need child, you must make sleep and rest a priority. Martha has learned over the years that babys sleep time is pure gold much too valuable to be spent washing dishes, dusting, or even cooking. This precious recharge time was wisely put to use in ways that would make an eternal difference.
Fussy Evenings With A Newborn
My baby feeds all evening, and my breasts feel empty have I run out of milk?
Every time I try to put my baby down to sleep, he cries! What am I doing wrong?
Why does my baby cry at the breast sometimes, even though he still seems hungry?
If youve ever asked questions like this during the rollercoaster weeks of new parenthood, youre in good company! Most new parents, unless they have been around newborn babies a lot before, are surprised and sometimes confused by how intensely their baby needs to be held and comforted. At times, it can feel like very hard work, or even as if, whatever you try, nothing quite works. Babies on the TV might sleep quietly in their beds between feeds, but real babies often dont!
Here is some information that may help you make sense of your babys behaviour and work out whether there is a problem that needs fixing, or whether your baby is just doing what normal babies do. If you havent had your baby yet, reading ahead can help prepare you for what to expect, so that you take this stage in your stride!
This article about normal newborn behaviour assumes that your baby is full-term, healthy, feeding well and growing normally. If your baby was born early, is unwell, or if you are not sure whether your baby is feeding or growing well, please check with your midwife, health visitor, doctor or breastfeeding supporter.
Here is a list of signs that more could be going on than just normal newborn behaviour:
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