cry, and they always cry for a reason. Newborns may cry when
they are hungry, need changing or are craving to be held.
Sometimes, they may just be having trouble adjusting to life
outside the womb. But some babies cry more than others, and
the wailing may signal colic or another underlying medical
Many physicians and child-development experts say you shouldn't
worry about spoiling your baby by responding to his cries.
Instead, parents should try to determine the cause of baby's
distress. Recent studies show that babies will cry less often
if their cries are promptly answered. Colic is a different
matter, however, since that condition will probably run its
course no matter what parents do. Generally, though, if an
infant's needs are not met, her crying escalates and she becomes
more difficult to console. This hinders the parent's ability
to meet the baby's needs and the problem becomes a vicious
and pediatrician says parents need to understand the language
of crying to determine the cause of their child's tears.The
biological and hormonal changes a mother experiences when
she hears her baby cry urge her to pick up and comfort her
baby. It's important to listen to your own biological cues
when your baby cries, since most parents have natural instincts
for calming their infant, Sears says.
Crying has two main functions. One is a message to parents
that something is going on. A baby's cry is really designed
to be listened to. Babies cry in a pitch that adults are very
sensitive to hearing.
The second function of crying is a self-regulatory one. Babies
use crying as an adaptive tool that helps them regulate themselves
to their environment. For example, in an airplane an infant's
crying is the body's attempt to deal with the change of air
pressure in the plane. The cry actually helps balance the
pressure in the inner ear.
There are two kinds of excessive criers: those who are crying
because of colic or some kind of internal discomfort and those
who are just not sleeping well.
babies tend to cry few hours a day, every day, for weeks.
Often these episodes occur late in the day and are accompanied
by babies scrunching up their faces and pulling their knees
to their chests. There is no set cause or treatment for colic,
several strategies for parents are often recommended:
- Sometimes a change
of formula is helpful.
- In breastfed
children, a review of the mother's diet may be in order,
since certain foods transferred through mother's milk may
not agree with the baby's digestive system.
- Most importantly,
parents need to develop consistent strategies for dealing
with infant crying. They need to teach infants self-soothing
skills and keep them on a regulated schedule. A reliable,
predictable pattern of care can be very comforting to a
more recently diagnosed condition for infants with symptoms
similar to those of colic is gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux
is the regurgitation of stomach acids, which causes indigestion-type
symptoms in infants. This may result in inconsolable crying
that appears to be due to pain.There are two levels of treatment
for babies with reflux. A more natural approach for babies
with less severe cases includes elevating the head to help
keep milk down or adding oatmeal to the baby's formula to
help keep the stomach acids from rising. More severe cases
may need prescription-drug treatment to cut down on an infant's
Babies Need to Comfort Themselves
During the first few months of life, parents' main concern
is comforting their infants by making sure they are well fed
and cared for. But after the third month of life, in addition
to nurturing, parents need to teach babies self-control and
help them develop self-soothing capabilities.
Babies wake up several times each night and need to be able
to comfort themselves so they will go back to sleep. After
the third month, parents should set up a routine with a regular
your baby with a bath and a feeding.
Read the baby a book and put him to bed awake, but sleepy.
Let the baby fuss a bit, then go in and comfort her. But
do not pick her up.
who learn to go to sleep independently at bedtime will learn
to soothe themselves at other times and cut down on their
Normal and What Isn't ?
Many parents ask, 'What is normal crying?' Some babies need
to cry for several hours during the day, just as some babies
need to sleep more or eat more than others. It is time to
worry when babies cry even when they are full, are fretful
and look like something is hurting them.
parents try all the steps suggested and their baby is still
crying, bring the infant in for a physical exam to determine
if the child is ill or has a condition like reflux.
Babies are difficult. They are not able to give clear signals
of what they want. And it doesn't help that parents are bombarded
with conflicting advice on how to deal with crying babies.
Listening and responding to a baby's cries are skills that
will be perfected as parent and baby get to know each other
better. What's important, he says, is letting your infant
know you are there for him when he needs you, while also giving
him the chance to learn how to soothe himself.