Janis is hardly alone. A crying baby tops the list of stressors for new parents. Of course, crying is a baby’s means of getting something they need. Essentially, it is the only form of communication they have. The important thing to remember is, under most circumstances, it’s not your fault and your child is normal.
Babies are usually at their ‘peak season’ of crying from three to eight weeks of age. This stage usually passes by about three months of age. If you’re waiting for that magic time, here are some tips to help you and your baby cope:
- Ensure there is no medical or physical reason for the distress.
- Be certain that nothing rough is rubbing their skin and that they are not too hot or too cold.
- Hold and soothe your baby close to you. Some babies enjoy being placed, tummy across your knee with your dominant hand supporting them under their arms and neck. Jiggle your leg and rub his back.
- Swaddling your baby might help. The security of the soft, surrounding blanket can give many babies comfort; however, some babies resist being confined.
- Avoid noise overload. Over-stimulation from televisions, siblings or visitors can be upsetting.
- Try white noise, such as tuning your television to a station without reception; this may be soothing.
- Take a stroller for a spin. Sometimes the movement of a baby carriage can calm a cranky baby.
- Try a warm bath in a lowly lit area. Speak softly, sing and caress your baby.
- Many babies have trouble digesting formula; speak to your doctor about possible sensitivities that might be causing gastric distress. Talk to your baby’s doctor before administering any over-the-counter solutions.
Call your doctor if:
- Your baby isn’t behaving as usual and isn’t eating or sleeping.
- Your baby has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea.
- You think your baby’s crying could be from a fall or injury.
- Your baby’s excessive crying continues past three months.
- You’re afraid you might hurt your baby.
(source: Canadian Paediatric Society)
What can you do for you?
The stress of a seemingly constantly crying infant can take its toll on parents. Get sleep (at least three hours twice per day), try to stay calm and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out other parents for their advice and support. Message boards, such as ParentsCanada’s, and community-based programs offer support to new parents.
Most important, schedule time with a trustworthy sitter so you can get yourself back on track. It will pass!