#1 Understanding Infant Crying
Crying is a normal part of your baby’s growth and is more than just a way for your baby to get your attention. Some important points about crying:
- Babies often cry more in the evening
- Your baby’s crying may not have an obvious or clear cause
- Crying can last 30 minutes or even hours at times
- Soothing your baby may not stop the crying all the time
- Your baby can still be normal and healthy even if all these things happen
Spoiled Baby Myth
Responding by picking up your baby whenever he cries does not lead to a spoiled child. Babies need this attention to let them know that you are always there for them. Carry and soothe them as long as you can without getting frustrated.
Bad Parent Myth
Just because you may not be able to soothe your baby’s crying does not mean you are a bad mother or are doing something wrong.
- Crying is completely healthy part of your baby’s growth
- All babies go through a period where they cry a lot
- You are not a bad mother if your get frustrated
- It’s alright to take some time to calm yourself
#2 Calming Your Baby
Babies may often fuss and cry no matter what you try. Many mothers would like a magic cure for infant crying. Unfortunately, there is no cure.
Carrying your baby, singing, walking, and holding her close to your skin can help during some crying and fussy times. However, at times none of these things may work, especially when your baby is crying very hard. At these times remember to take turns with your partner in caring for your baby. Both of you need breaks from the fussing and crying.
All babies cry and need to be comforted, but if you’ve done everything you can and you are feeling discouraged or frustrated, remember that it’s ok to let your baby cry, but it’s NEVER ok to shake her!
#3 Getting to Know Your New Baby
It’s important to spend time developing a close relationship with your new baby. Here are some ways to help you build the relationship:
- Talk, read, and sing to your baby
- Make eye contact with your baby often
- Use a soft, loving voice when talking to your baby
- Laugh and play with your baby
- Hold your baby close to you
- Feed your baby while holding him close to you
- Get up with your baby at night and share the responsibility with another adult in the house
Take Time for Yourself
As a mother, you may feel overwhelmed with all your new responsibilities. It is important for you to take time to focus on yourself every day, even if it is just for a few minutes.
What Can You Do?
When possible, have a patient and responsible friend or family member watch the baby so you can have a break. If you cannot reach anyone and you feel yourself beginning to get frustrated, place the baby in a safe place and simply WALK AWAY for a while until you calm down.
Take a Break
Just like you take care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself. Here are a few tips to help you calm down when you need a break:
- Make time to exercise, even walking can help
- Call a friend or family member to talk
- Read a book or watch television for a few minutes
- Sleep when the baby sleeps
Remind yourself that crying and fussing is normal and eventually it will come to an end. It is important to be aware that you are not being mean to the baby when you have to let them cry for a few minutes. Many times just a few minutes on your own can help you stay calm.
A Special Message for Moms about Shaken Baby Syndrome
What Is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of child abuse that happens when an infant or young child is violently shaken. Shaking a baby can cause serious brain damage, blindness, and even death.
Common triggers leading up to shaking may include lack of sleep, outside stressors, becoming frustrated or angry, and losing control.
Common Symptoms of SBS
- Excessive sleepiness
- Not as alert
- Problems breathing
- Problems sucking or swallowing
- Decreased appetite
Activities that DO NOT Cause SBS
Mothers are often concerned about what actions cause shaken baby syndrome. A lot of force is involved and the following are examples of activities that DO NOT cause SBS:
- Bouncing a baby on your knee
- Tossing a baby in the air
- Running, jogging, or cycling with a baby
- Falling off furniture or down stairs
- Sudden stops in a car or driving over bumps
Although some of the activities listed above are dangerous and not recommended, they will likely not cause SBS.