What are the crying patterns of a newborn?
The first cries of a newborn baby
are often music to parents’ ears. But over the next weeks and months, this sound can
become grating and painful. This is especially true when all attempts fail to stop the
Surprisingly, crying may not
produce tears until after the first month or two. Crying is the way babies
communicate. Babies cry because of hunger, discomfort, frustration, tiredness, and even
loneliness. Sometimes, cries can easily be answered with cuddling, food, or a diaper
change. Other times, it can be a mystery and crying stops as quickly as it starts.
You will soon learn differences in
your baby’s cries, from a cry of “I’m hungry” to “I’ve been overstimulated.” It’s
important to respond to your baby’s cries. Contrary to some beliefs, young babies can’t
be spoiled by being picked up when crying. Being held is reassuring and comforting.
Babies don’t seem to know that they are separate individuals from their mothers until
about 6 months of age.
Some ways to help calm a crying
baby include the following:
Take care of physical
problems first (hunger, diaper change, burping, cooling, or warming the baby).
Walk with your baby in a
sling or in a stroller.
Rock your baby in a rhythmic,
Try a baby swing or rocking
Gently pat or stroke your
baby’s back or chest.
Swaddle your baby with a
light blanket. Make sure this is no higher than the baby’s armpit level. Be sure
your baby has at least one hand free to suck on and can flex arms and legs. Make
sure your baby doesn’t get too hot when swaddled. Don’t swaddle older babies, who
can turn over onto their stomachs.
Go for a ride in the car.
Turn on some white noise
(such as a washing machine or vacuum cleaner).
Make shushing sounds for the
Offer a pacifier to a
Nurse a breastfeeding baby
(it isn’t possible to over-feed at the breast)
Note: No matter how frustrated you
may become, never shake your baby.
This can cause severe injury to your baby’s fragile brain that can cause lifelong
disabilities. If you get angry or frustrated, let someone else take over for a while. If
you are alone, put your baby down in a safe place, such as the crib, and go to another
room for a few moments. This will give you time to calm yourself. Then you can return to
your baby and try a different way to comfort your baby.