The sound of crying from a newborn child may cause anxiety for parents. Rather than thinking about your baby’s crying as a cause for alarm, think of it as a form of communication between the two of you.
As your baby grows, he or she must wait for his or her body to develop before speaking can begin. Until then, crying is used as a tool for baby to tell you what he or she needs. Some of the reasons your baby might be fussy include:
- Dirty diaper
- Hunger or thirst
- Uncomfortable temperature
- Wanting to be held
Infants typically have a high-pitched cry as the result of any of the scenarios above. These predicaments can often be remedied by changing your baby’s diaper, feeding him or her, adjusting the thermostat, or having a snuggle session. However, if your baby’s cry is louder than usual and facial expressions indicate pain, consult with his or her primary care provider right away.
For the first six weeks after a baby is born, he or she may cry an average of three hours per day. As your baby continues growing, crying should decrease. Your newborn’s crying may become frustrating, but there are ways to manage stress.
If a trusted friend or family member offers to watch your baby for you, be open to the idea. Develop a strong support system of individuals who can offer advice and relief from the frustrations of parenthood. Whether you need an evening out with your spouse or to make a quick trip to the grocery store, having someone you can count on to offer assistance when you need it can help you handle emotional challenges of being a mom or dad.
When baby’s crying becomes too much, it is important to take a time away. Leave your little one with your spouse or a sitter, or place him or her somewhere safe while you take a few minutes to calm down. This will help you think more clearly about how to help your baby.
Does your newborn cry for hours on end? Search “colic” above to find out what you can do to soothe those tears.
Reviewed by Shannon Coffey, M.D., F.A.A.P., medical director, Child Protection Team, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.