Is A Fussy Baby Normal
Babies go through a period lovingly referred to as the witching hour. This usually lasts their first 3-4 months and if youre lucky, episodes are few and far between.
The witching hour usually happens in the evening causing some restless nights for parents. Though you may not always know why your little one is fussing, its totally normal.
What Are The 3 Types Of Baby Cries
The three types of babys cry are:
- Hunger cry: Newborns during their first 3 months of life need to be fed every couple of hours.
- Colic: During the first month after birth, about 1 in 5 newborns may cry because of colic pain.
- Sleep cry: If your baby is 6 months old, your child should be able to fall asleep on their own.
What Colic Looks And Sounds Like
Parents of babies with colic often say that the babies look like they are angry or in pain, have gas, or are trying to go to the bathroom without success. Other characteristics of a baby with colic:
- Higher pitched, more frantic crying
- Sudden crying, starting out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason
- Rigid or stiff body, often with clenched fists
- Bent legs and stomach may feel hard
What Should I Do With My 2 Week Old When Awake
When your baby is awake, give him or her supervised time on his or her tummy so he or she can develop upper body muscles. Focus and begin to make eye contact with you. Blink in reaction to bright light. Respond to sound and recognize your voice, so be sure and talk to your baby often.
Why Do Babies Have Witching Hours
There may be some colickybut otherwise healthybabies who cry for an extended period of time at any point in the day, but typically the breakdowns happen in the evening after dinner, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thats when babies are extra tired, but because their nervous system hasnt fully matured, and they dont
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Stage #: The High Need Baby
If your baby has passed the 4 month mark and is still fussy, or as I always thought of it, high maintenance, theres a good chance she is high need.
Obviously, this term is simply descriptive. It is not a medical term, and it doesnt mean theres anything wrong with your baby. It simply describes how babies of a certain temperament type behave as infants.
Much as we know that introverts need time alone in order to recharge, we know that some babies need more stimulation and interaction to remain calm, have difficulty falling into feeding and sleeping routines, and are just generally more sensitive.
I like to think of these babies as passionate.
Passionate about what they like, passionate about what they dont like. Able to voice their concerns loudly, and the life of the party when theyre happy. Full of energy and life.
And absolutely exhausting.
Wondering if your baby is high need?
Some of the main characteristics of high need babies are:
- Awakens frequently
- Cant be put down
- Not a self-soother
- LOVES to be around people, noise and activity, OR
- HATES to be around people, noise and activity.
Many, many parents Ive spoken to report that their high need baby becomes easier and more able to self-soothe as they gain new skills and are able to become a little more independent.
We noticed the most significant improvements in Sammys fussiness at 6 weeks , 3 months , and at 8.5 months .
A Typical Evening With A Newborn
You feed your baby until she looks fast asleep. You carefully put her down in her bed. Either immediately or soon afterwards she wakes up and cries. You think she must be hungry maybe breastfeeding isnt working? You feed her again until you think she cant possibly fit in any more milk, and put her down. and so on, until the early hours of the morning.
Although you may worry that your baby cries at the breast because theres a problem with feeding, as long as the signs of milk intake are OK , and your baby is happier the rest of the time, its probably nothing to do with hunger, or a breastfeeding malfunction! Your baby is most likely to have woken up because they were put down.
The conditions that adults might prefer for sleep quiet, dark, being left alone are scary for babies, who fear being abandoned more than anything. For our ancestors, a baby who was left alone was a baby who probably wouldnt survive. Your baby has an alarm, carefully developed over thousands of years of human evolution, that is programmed to go off if she senses that she has been left alone.
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The Baby May Need To Fill Up/cluster Feeding
Another reason why your baby may get fussy in the evening could be due to the need to fill up constantly.
During the first six months of a babys life, their feeding habits keep changing. You may find that at times your little one wants to feed after every three hours or more while other times he or she wants to nurse every 30 minutes to one hour.
The desire to feed more frequently than normal is called cluster feeding and usually occurs in the evening. Some of the main causes of cluster feeding include growth spurt and mothers increase in milk production.
During cluster feeding, babies want to feed more often and get all the attention of their moms for hours, which is at times not possible. The constant need to fill up may make the baby become restless and contribute to their fussiness.
The best solution for cluster feeding is to make sure you have finished all the activities in the house by at least 6 pm. This will give you ample time to sit down with your baby and nurse him/her for as long as they want without worrying about other things like preparing dinner.
Attachment Milestone : Give And Take Communication
With the third milestone, your babys level of engagement with you becomes more sophisticated.
Your baby uses an ever-increasing range of sounds, facial expressions, and gestureswide eyes, coos, nonsensical babbles, giggles, pointingto invite you to play and to indicate needs and wants.
You continue to watch your childs signals, gestures, and facial expressions and adjust your responses to those cues. You should notice more back and forth communication.
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Its Okay To Safely Walk Away
Some days are harder than others with a fussy or colicky baby, especially if your babys witching hour lasts through the night. If you feel overtired, overwhelmed or defeated, its totally fine to put your baby safely in her crib and walk away. When it comes to baby care, safety outweighs mommy guilt. Being a good mom means being able to recognize when you need a break. Looking back, I wish I had taken this advice more often as a new mom. When enough was finally enough, I would walk away and turn off the monitor. It was the best I could do. Thirteen years later, my son is a perfectly happy, healthy and loving young man.
Your Baby Can Sense Your Mood
Parents often find it difficult to cope with evening fussiness from their little ones, as they themselves feel exhausted by the end of the day.
This is often the reason why the baby struggles to settle: infants need their mum and dad to comfort and reassure them and exhausted and anxious parents can find this hard to convey.
Its a vicious circle: baby cries, parents become increasingly worried, the baby starts crying even more hysterically and so on it goes
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When Is The Witching Hour
There may be some colickybut otherwise healthybabies who cry for an extended period of time at any point in the day, but typically the breakdowns happen in the evening after dinner, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thats when babies are extra tired, but because their nervous system hasnt fully matured, and they dont know how to put themselves to sleep, they lose it.
The evening is also when most significant others are coming home from work, and maybe youre inadvertently keeping baby up so your partner can be with him. Remember that infants are hypersensitive to all the new sounds and activities going on around themthe crying is sometimes a sign that baby just wants to be wrapped up and held close.
Breastfed babies may have an additional reason to cry during the evening witching hour: Your prolactin levels drop, youre making less milk, says Meigan Alexander, a certified lactation consultant and owner of BettyRuth Baby, a new-mom concierge service in Charlotte, North Carolina. When babies want more milk but its not coming fast enough, they can get frustrated as the milk release slows down. By crying, babies are doing what they need to do to get what they needbeing upset is a babys way of asking they dont have another way to express it, Alexander explains.
Comfort Measures For Fussy Babies
One of the most interesting things Ive seen in the research regarding infant fussiness is that almost anything a parent tries to reduce fussiness will work, but only for a short time , and then other strategies need to be used.
If you nurse and it doesnt seem to help, then try other comfort measures. If you pick him up or nurse him, and baby is content, then that was what he needed. If it works, use it!
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What Are The 5 Ss To Calm Babies
A new system that involves the five Ss swaddling, side/stomach positioning in the parents arms, shushing, swinging, and sucking can calm most crying infants, Dr. Karp said. This activates the babys calming reflex during the first three to four months of life by mimicking experiences in the uterus.
Calming Down Your Fussy Baby At Night
A fussy baby at night is not unusual. In fact, you may feel that you have no right to complain about what you assume is a normal stage of childhood. while it is perfectly normal for your child to have an occasional rough night, there are also some signs that a fussy baby at night is actually a sign something else may be going on.
If your baby has been sleeping through the night and suddenly begins waking, or has been sleeping for long, uninterrupted stretches and now is reverting to waking up more frequently, you should consider that something may be upsetting his sleep patterns. While babies need less sleep the older they get, the normal development is to sleep less during the day and extend the nighttime sleep pattern. The sudden switch to having a fussy baby at night may signal one of many potential issues.
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Common Reasons Why Your Newborn Won’t Sleep
If you’re struggling to sort out why your infant won’t close their eyes, it can be due to an array of issues, not because they enjoy seeing you pull your hair out. Your child needs zzz’s just as much as you, and it’s usually due to feelings of frustration caused by an issue that can often be helped. Below we discuss what you can do.
Cluster Feeding And Fussy Evenings
It is very common for babies to be fussy and nurse very often in the evenings, particularly in the early months.
My daughter had a fussy time every evening for a couple of months . I spent weeks camped out on the end of the sofa with a constantly nursing and/or fussy baby every evening from about 6 to 10 PM.
With my son, we didnt have the luxury of being able to sit down. Alex was unhappy and crying unless he was upright and being walked around at this time of day . He would occasionally have a very fussy time during the day, too. Nursing rarely helped to calm his fussiness , so I usually didnt have that tool to work with . His fussiness was such that I looked into other causes , but we never determined any reason for it and he was all smiles the rest of the time. The fussiness gradually went away between 3 and 4 months, as is the norm, but the first few months were hard. Nowadays, the typical comment that I hear about him is Is he always this happy? So remember: this, too, will pass
Cluster feeding, also called bunch feeding, is when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. Its often -but not always- followed by a longer sleep period than usual: baby may be tanking up before a long sleep. For example, your baby may nurse every hour between 6 and 10 PM, then have a longish stretch of sleep at night baby may even sleep all night.
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How To Cope With Baby Fussiness At Night
It is good for you to understand that most babies get fussy in the evening for reasons explained above and sometimes for no apparent reason. So the best thing to do is to be prepared both mentally and psychologically and accept that some nights will be rough.
2. Do not blame yourself.
Most mothers tend to blame themselves especially when they think that the babys fussiness is due to colic or cluster feeding. They feel that the colic is due to something they ate or the cluster feeding is because they do not have enough milk.
This is not the case as you have seen above. So blaming yourself will only make you feel more helpless and hopeless. You can also talk to other moms for advice and support.
3. Cuddling and swaddling assure the baby of your presence, which makes them feel secure and keeps them calm.
4. Give your baby a warm bath to ease their tension and help them feel relaxed
5. Avoid over stimulating activities from late afternoon to evening
6. Give the baby a massage after bath
7. Finish all your household chores early so that you can have time to feed the baby for as long as they want.
8. Play some white noise, read a bedtime story or sing a lullaby to sooth the baby
9. An evening walk with the baby can be quite relaxing to both you and the baby
10. Let your partner or someone else help you with the baby so that you can also relax.