Tips on swaddling and other ways to comfort your crying baby
Being a parent/caregiver is not easy. A baby’s constant crying can be stressful and frustrating for you. Sometimes there is no reason for a baby to cry, and there is nothing you can do. A baby crying is normal.
Facts about crying babies:
- Most babies cry often: 80-90% of babies have crying spells lasting 20-60 minutes or longer. This does not mean that your baby has colic
- Most babies cry more at night, sometimes for an hour or longer
- Most babies have at least one fussy period each day, often in the evening
- Most babies cry more at six to eight weeks than at birth
- Most parents/caregivers will feel angry, frustrated and will cry themselves
- In the first five to six months, it is normal for a baby’s crying to increase in intensity, and the baby may not be consolable
Sometimes it is okay to put the baby in the crib and let the baby cry for a short time to give yourself a break.
Call for help. Try a friend, family member, public health department, leader of your faith community, social service agency or the distress line 416-408-HELP (4357).
Why Do Babies Cry?
Crying is an important way that your baby communicates to you before they can speak. Figuring out crying can be difficult – here are some suggestions:
- Feed baby. Baby may be hungrier on some days
- Offer the breast often if that helps to soothe baby
Need to Be Close to People, Touched, Picked Up, Held, Rocked
- Hold, rock, massage, dance with baby in your arms, sit together on bouncing ball or rocking chair, talk and sing to baby
- Take off shirt and hold baby skin to skin
- Take bath with baby
- Go for walk with baby in your arms in sling or in stroller
- Lie down beside baby while you nurse, massage, gently touch or talk to baby
- Let someone else hold baby
Pain or Discomfort
- Pick up baby, comfort, change diaper, burp or rub baby’s back
- Changing baby’s position may help
Too Hot/Too Cold
- Babies should be dressed as warmly as you are – plus one more layer
- Baby should not be too cool/hot to the touch
Tired or Over Stimulated
- Turn lights off, keep surroundings quiet
- Rocking baby gently can be soothing for both of you
Remember! When your baby is tired, it is important they be in a safe sleep environment.
Needs a Change
- Read, play, talk, sing, hold baby every day
- Change rooms so baby can look at different things
- Hold, rock, talk, walk, sing, bathe baby, massage, offer the breast, or try soothing music
- Try to comfort the baby, giving time for baby to respond to each thing you do
If your baby’s cry sounds different to you or baby cannot be soothed after trying everything, see your health care provider or call Health Connect Ontario 8-1-1 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007).
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a condition that occurs when a baby is shaken violently. Shaking is a potentially fatal form of child abuse.
If a baby is shaken with force, it can lead to a lifetime of problems:
- Shaking can damage a child’s brain
- Shaking can cause permanent disabilities like blindness or paralysis
- Shaking can even cause death
Never, never shake a baby! Shaking can damage your baby’s brain and may cause death. No child, at any age, should be shaken.
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