Crying is the way babies communicate their discomfort, hunger, or need for attention. It’s quite normal for babies to be fussy for about 2–4 hours a day, usually at the same time every day. After a few weeks, the crying diminishes and around three months, most babies only cry for approximately an hour a day.
All babies cry, but some do it significantly more than others. This is known as colic, and it is crying that begins and ends for no clear reason, lasts at least three hours a day, and happens at least three times a week for a period of 1–3 months.
It’s important to keep in mind that excessive crying may have a medical or physical cause, so first you must try to identify if there’s a reason behind the crying by looking for patterns. Does it happen at certain times of the day or in specific situations like a crowded place or right after feeding? Can you tell if your child cries differently for food, fatigue, etc? Keep a record of this so that you can compare with previous weeks.
What can I do?
Here are some techniques you can try at home when your baby is crying inconsolably. Try them all! With patience and practice you’ll get to know which work for your baby.
- Swaddle your baby. Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket to help him feel more secure.
- Try using a baby carrier or sling. Some babies love being close to mom or dad all day! Walking around might sooth him.
Hold your baby in different ways. As long as your baby is safe, there is no wrong or right way to carry him. Try different positions like having him facing forward, over your shoulder or close to your chest.
- Lay your baby across your forearm, tummy down, with your hand supporting his chest.
- Lay your baby tummy-down across your lap or on a soft surface and gently rub his back.
- Try different movements. Some babies like gentle swaying movements while other like faster swinging or rocking.
- Use soothing sounds. Background noise can be soothing, try having a fan or humidifier on in your baby’s room. Sing or talk softly to him.
- Reduce stimulation. In other cases, less stimulation means less crying. Lower the lights, reduce noise, and other sensations like textures for your baby.
- Remain calm. Caring for a crying baby can be very stressful, especially considering you actually have a hormonal response that makes you feel uncomfortable when your baby cries. If you take the time to calm yourself, it helps your baby calm down too.
As long as your baby is safe and being taken care of, there is no right or wrong technique. All babies are different, so try them all and see what works best for him. If you want more ideas to try at home, take a look at these sites:
All babies cry, but some do it significantly more than others. This is known as colic, and it is crying that begins and ends for no clear reason, lasts at least three hours a day and happens at least three times a week for a period of 1 – 3 months.