Newborns cry – there is no changing this. In fact, newborns can cry, on average, about two hours per day. I know that might sound like a lot but keep in mind, crying is your baby’s only way to communicate any needs – too hot, too cold, hunger, thirst, need to be held, need to sleep, diaper needs to be changed even though you just changed it 2 minutes ago, the tag on their onesie is itchy…
Let’s face it, trying to figure out why your baby is crying can sometimes lead you to cry yourself. It can be hard when you know your little one needs something but cannot figure out what it is.
Overtime you will come to learn to read your baby, anticipate their needs and help stop crying before it starts. No matter what you do though, you will probably experience your baby crying for seemingly no reason – and it can be really challenging. When this happens, remember to breathe. If you ever get overly frustrated and feel like shaking your baby, put your baby down in a safe place, walk away, and call someone for help.
There are some things you can do help keep both you and your baby off the ledge:
- Breathe – no seriously, it’s worth repeating. Your baby is intuitive and picks up on your moods and emotions. The calmer you are, the calmer your baby can be.
- Take care of physical needs – is your baby hungry, overstimulated, tired, in need of a diaper change, too hot, need to be swaddled, have gas/need to burp?
- Take care of environmental needs – turn down the lights and the volume, put on white noise or a soft music
- Talk to your baby – it can help calm both you and your baby
- Wear you baby – this can help them feel close and secure while giving your arms a break
- Motion – walk with your baby, gently rock or bounce your baby. Try not to switch motions abruptly or every other minute. Pick something and stick with it for a bit. Too much change can overstimulate babies.
- Call a friend or hand your baby off to another caregiver when you start to feel overwhelmed or frustrated
Colic is a term used to describe when babies cry for a minimum of 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for 3 weeks or more
- Burping often or passing a lot of gas. This is likely because of swallowing air while crying.
- Having a bright red (flushed) face
- Having a tight belly
- Curling up their legs toward their belly when crying
- Clenching their fists when crying
Colic is more of an observational term than a medical term and while there is no specific cause, main suspects are gas and overstimulation. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea talk with their pediatrician as colic can be a sign of other underlying issues.
And P.S. BREATHE (no really, breathe – you’ve got this)
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