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: Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
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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