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Crying Baby

Crying Baby

The normal infant cries an average of 2 1/4 hours each day during the first 4 weeks.

This peaks around 5 weeks at 2 3/4 hours each day and slowly declines until about 10-12 weeks.

After 3 months, crying becomes more deliberate, purposeful and much less often. A colicky infant will cry more. Often crying indicates discomfort and is baby’s only means of communicating his needs. Hunger, sleepiness, over stimulation, dirty diaper, gas pains, and temperature discomfort are the primary culprits.

It is during the first 3 months that parents (especially new parents) worry about their baby’s crying and how to console him. Some tried and true methods are listed below:

Gentle Rhythmic Motion
  • Rocking gently in a rocking chair or glider
  • Walking around
  • The “Mommy Sway” (swaying while standing)
  • Infant swings (preferably a quiet battery operated one)
  • Vibrating infant seat or cradle rocking device
  • Gentle Vibration - Some parents find that placing an infant seat on a running clothes washer, dishwasher, or dryer soothes their baby. Never leave a baby unattended on any of these devices. The vibration could cause the seat to topple off injuring the baby.
Holding Positions
  • Hold baby face down across your forearm (this helps expel gas)
  • Hold facing away from you with tummy over forearm (helps expel gas)
  • Hold over your shoulder with baby facing down your back
  • Cradled in your arms
  • If baby is too warm, lessen clothing or blankets.
  • If baby is too cold, increase layers by Swaddling in a receiving blanket
  • New infants tend to loose body heat through the top of the head, cover with a hat
  • Let baby lay on your bare chest to feel the warmth of your skin
  • Contact your pediatrician if baby is running a fever
Sucking Needs
  • Try a pacifier (infant sized). Most babies do not take to one immediately. Gently stroke the roof of her mouth with it or gently hold it in place for a few seconds. Pacifiers should not replace regular frequent feedings.
Relaxing Sounds
  • Speaking in gentle soft tones or singing lullaby.
Massage and Touch
  • Sit in the middle of your bed. Lay baby on the bed, face up, between your outstretched legs (to prevent him from rolling off). Gently begin with his chest and arms, with slow gentle motions, massage and stroke from the center outward toward the shoulders, then down the arms. You can use a baby lotion, but its not necessary. Then work your way to his legs and feet. You can also gently massage his face and head (being cautious of the fontanel or soft spot). Turn him on his tummy and repeat on the baby’s back side. A very small infant could be laid across your arm to gently massage his back.
  • To help a baby expel gas, assume the face up position as above. Gently take his feet and gently bicycle them, occasionally bringing his knees to his tummy and back down. Talk in gentle tones.
You will find that most infants have a “fussy time” usually between 5pm and midnight. In the course of this time, nothing may seem to work.

If you feel you are losing control with a crying baby, call a friend, neighbor or family member to come help. There is no shame in tired parents asking for help. A crying baby can be harrowing.

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