Crying is the only way a baby can express hunger, pain or boredom. It's a real "survival" reflex. For their part, parents are programmed to respond to the crying of their baby to meet his needs. Crying and the reactions they cause are a form of communication between a baby and his parents.
On average, an infant cries for two hours a day. It seems a lot, but it's perfectly normal. It's also a question of temperament . Some babies, however, cry more than others. More than 25% of infants cry more than three hours a day.
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Crying baby: what the research says
All research agrees that it is during the first three months of life that babies cry the most and their crying is the most intense. Several studies have shown that during this period, crying follows a certain pattern, called the crying curve.
Around 2 to 3 weeks, the baby starts to cry more. Her crying then peaks at around 6 to 8 weeks and then declines little by little until the child is 12 weeks old.
During these first three months, crying often starts and stops suddenly, but we do not know why, especially in the late afternoon or early evening . For example, a parent may not be able to calm his crying baby, even by feeding him, making sure his nappy is clean or cuddling.
In these crying crises, it is important that parents do not doubt their parenting skills . These tears are normal and the parents have nothing to do with them . The important thing is that the child feels their comforting presence.
An infant never cries to handle: he does not know that feeling. To console him every time he cries does not risk spoiling him . In fact, he will become calmer and less worried. When a parent responds quickly and calmly to tears, her baby feels loved and safe . The parent 's way of acting thus conditions the first bonds of love and attachment that will unite him with his baby.
It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the received ideas and to the advice of your entourage. Rely on your instincts, because no one knows your baby better than you . Do not pay attention to ideas such as these : "It's good, it develops its lungs", "It forges its character", "It manipulates you to stay in your arms", etc.
Warning! never shake your baby You could cause permanent damage to your brain or even kill it.
At The End of Your Rope?
Remember, your baby feels your stress and tension. An angry parent can not calm his baby. So here are some tips:
- Give the relay to your partner or someone around you before exhausting yourself completely.
- If there is no one else but your child and you at home, put him in his bed, then leave the room a few moments, time to calm down and call someone who will support you . It can be a friend, a babysitter or even a phone resource like the Parents line.
The main messages of crying
Some scientists believe that infants have different tears to express hunger, boredom, discomfort, colic , late-morning discharge, pain, etc. This vision is not unanimous.
More and more experts believe that listening to tears helps to measure a baby's level of distress rather than determining their precise cause. According to them, the higher the sound or the intensity of the crying, the greater the distress of the baby . Parents are also able most of the time to guess the needs of their baby according to the sound of crying.
Around 3 months, babies' social skills develop further and they interact a lot more. They start using different tears to express different things, for example :
- hunger: tears that can start slowly and slowly and then become stronger and more rhythmic;
- pain: crying very sharp, piercing, short, strong and non-melodious;
- boredom, discomfort or fatigue: sweet tears that sometimes stop to take a few minutes. They can become stronger if nothing is done.
Even tied in a rocking chair or a car seat, a child should never be placed on an appliance like a dryer because it can easily fall and suffer serious injuries.
Some tips to guide you when your baby is crying
If his crying starts during the drinks:
- Your baby may not be hungry anymore.
- He may have colic .
- He may want to suck rather than eat. Extend it or rock it with a pacifier or toy to distract.
If his crying starts when he is in your arms:
- He may be tired and he wants to sleep.
- Even though he has only been drinking for two hours, he may still be hungry, especially if he has a growth spurt.
- He may need to suck to fill his need for sucking, which is a survival reflex in infants.
- He needs stimulation (play, music, toy, massage , etc.).
- Something disturbs him: is it cold? is it hot (touch his neck to find out)? Is his bed soiled? does he suffer from diaper rash ? As the case may be, correct her clothing, change her diaper or take care of her erythema.
If his crying starts when he is alone in his bed:
- It may be between two sleep cycles. Wait a few minutes to give him the chance to go back to sleep alone.
- He may have slept enough or need companionship.
- He needs reassurance.
- It's cold, thirsty, or hot (touch your neck to find out), or your diaper may be wet.
Whenever your efforts are successful, you will feel encouraged and reassured. Conversely, when you can not comfort your baby, you may feel anguish and lack confidence in yourself. However, these moments can even be useful: they will help you to take a step back, to reflect, to observe better and better your child , and thus to know it better.
Around 8 to 12 months, children are intimidated by strangers while they were smiling before. Also, they cry as soon as their parents disappear from their field of vision. This worry is quite normal and is called separation anxiety. To find out how to react to this new fear and to facilitate entry to the daycare if it takes place during this period, consult our sheet on separation anxiety .
Crying colic or fatigue?
If all your basic needs are met, but you continue to cry, your baby may be suffering from evening dysrhythmia, which doctors also call colic . We can talk about colics when the child cries more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 days out of 7, for 3 consecutive weeks . It's the tears that upset the parents the most since they feel helpless to comfort their baby.
This period of agitation is perhaps also, simply, the only way the baby has to let off steam. It's the end of the day, he's a little grumpy and, through his crying, he removes the tensions accumulated during the day.
8 Ways To Instantly Soothe a Crying Infant
- Talk to your baby in a soft, reassuring voice.
- Take him in your arms as often as possible. Infants like to be tight against you. Human contact allows them to relax, calm down, reduce stress and feel safe. If necessary, use a ventral baby carrier to rest your arms. Do not be afraid to "spoil" your child by taking him or her in your arms.
- Touch it, especially on the belly . A baby massage can relieve it and is quite safe. Also try to give him a bath.
- Provide a calm environment for your child: turn off or dim lights, reduce background noise and avoid loud noises. Also avoid over-handling your baby, as you may excite him or her more, while perhaps expressing a need to rest. You can put it gently in bed and see if it will calm down by itself.
- Give her the breast , because many babies calm down when they suckle their mother's breast.
- Stay calm and relaxed . Babies are very sensitive to the emotional states of adults who take care of them. Your own stress can worsen your child's crying. To succeed in relaxing despite the crying, sing lullabies or listen to soft and soothing music or simple regular and rhythmic sounds (eg waves of the ocean, the sound of falling rain). It might even be able to soothe your child.
If you, as a parent , feel angry, exhausted, and lose your temper , it is important to seek help and withdraw.
- Make him move . Rock it gently in your arms, in a rocking chair or in a baby swing. Place it face down on your thighs and gently swing it while moving your legs. The combined effect of movement and warmth seems to calm some babies.
- Go out for a walk with your child in the baby carrier or stroller, as the movement often soothes babies. You can also bring her to a car ride. If your child often cries at the same time, try going out before he starts. Thus, the dressing and installation in the baby carrier, stroller or car seat will be more enjoyable for both of you.
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