My first baby cried… a lot. As a new mother, I wondered if this was normal. I asked my mother, midwife, friends and the Public Health Nurse and they all reassured me it was. My daughter cried many times during the day; she would often cry in the evening, and in the middle of the night. She breastfed frequently and wanted to be held or cuddled almost all the time.
All babies cry, it is their main method of communication. It is normal for babies to cry, and some babies cry more than others. Experts have told us that babies all have different personalities and different temperaments. I know this personally, because when my son was born, he was completely different from my daughter. He cried less, was much happier to be put down and he slept for long periods.
When your baby cries, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them or that you’re doing something wrong. What’s important is how you respond to your baby when they are crying. Your baby needs to know you’re there for them when they need you; this helps them build trust in you.
Babies need to feel that the people who care for them are reliable and will respond to their needs. Infant attachment develops when you respond promptly to your baby in warm and sensitive ways. So, go ahead and pick your baby up when he or she cries— you can’t spoil a baby by responding to them.
In general, you can expect your baby’s crying to peak at around two months and usually by around five months, frequent crying should begin to subside. So, depending on how old your baby is, the crying may get worse before it gets better. If you’re alone and feeling frustrated, put your baby down somewhere safe (like their crib) and give yourself a short break to calm down. If you’re feeling tense your baby may sense that, making it harder for them to calm down.
It can be very hard to cope when your baby cries a lot and it’s helpful to ask for assistance from others: your partner, family and friends. You can also call a Public Health Nurse who can suggest further resources.
I spent many hours calming my baby when she was crying. I found wearing her in a sling helped give my arms a break and she loved it. Sometimes, if she wouldn’t stop crying, I’d take her out for a walk, rock her in a rocking chair or take her for a ride in the car because it helped us both calm down.
Getting out of the house and talking to other moms experiencing the same difficulties was really reassuring and helped me greatly. In fact, I even made some lifelong friends at the local Ontario Early Years Centre. So don’t be afraid to talk to a Public Health Nurse for more information about crying and ways to soothe your crying baby.
My daughter is now six years old, in grade one. She’s smart and doing very well in school. She is very caring, affectionate, independent, and makes friends easily. I won’t say her crying wasn’t difficult at times, but her personality as a baby has shaped the person she is today. We have a very special, close relationship. Seeing her now has made all those challenging times worthwhile.
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