Information your Fussy Baby
Your baby's cry is his way of communicating with the world around him. He will cry to tell you:
- He needs comforting; he's lonely or bored.
- He is wet, hungry, too cold or too warm, or needs a burp.
- He's trying to get himself under control when he is overstimulated.
- He needs to have a crying episode prior to getting back to a calm or drowsy state. (Some babies need to fuss for 5 - 10 minutes before drifting off to sleep, even if they have just nursed.)
Most babies have a fussy period in the evening. After a day of taking in the sights, sounds and physical handling he may dissolve into a good cry. As unnerving as this may seem, a certain amount of crying is NORMAL! Because it makes us so uncomfortable, an hour or two of crying may seem like an eternity.
In addition, evening time is typically a time when breast milk production is at its lowest (compared to night or early morning feedings when you are rested and your prolactin levels are higher). Your baby may fuss more in the evening because he is hungry sooner after a feeding.
It's important to know these crying episodes don't last forever. They decrease dramatically around 3 months of age when a baby is more able to entertain himself.
You may wonder if your baby's crying is "colic." Colicky babies cry for more than 2 hours a day and seem to wind up and escalate their crying. They truly seem to have a lot of discomfort, become very rigid and are generally inconsolable. They can really get into some marathon screaming that can last 8 - 12 hours. This is truly an ordeal for new parents.
Your baby is unique! Try to assess why he's crying. See if your efforts calm him or further serve to upset him. Babies will make extraordinary efforts on their own to get back into a state of organization. Sometimes well meaning efforts, tension and attempts at several different calming ideas further stimulate and intensify the crying.
Recommendation for Comforting a Baby
- Put your baby back to the breast. The 8 to 12 feedings a newborn needs in 24 hours are rarely evenly spaced. Instead babies have a "stoking up" period or a cluster of 3 to 4 feedings close together, usually in the late afternoon or evening which gets your baby ready for a longer stretch of sleep.
- Your baby's fussiness may signal a growth spurt around 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 4 to 6 months of age. Nurse more often for a couple of days. Be patient. Your body will up milk production in response to the increased suckling.
- Snugly wrapping your baby has a calming effect as he is used to being curled up in your belly.
- Burping may dislodge an uncomfortable air bubble.
- Rocking. (Try side to side as well as back and forth.)
- "Wear" your baby in a wrap.
- Motion combined with upright positioning of your baby and back-ground noise. Examples:
- Walking or gentle bouncing motion with baby over your shoulder while vacuum is on.
- Walking with baby in infant carrier with TV on.
- Car ride in an infant car seat.
- Baby in infant seat on top of turned on clothes dryer. (don't leave him alone!)
- You may want to examine your diet. Even though mothers around the world eat strong spicy foods and successfully nurse their babies, you might suspect a food is offending your baby. Think back to your last meal and then a full 24 hours back. (Watch for caffeine, a little is ok, but it can accumulate in baby's system faster than in your own.)
- Try Baby's Bliss GripeWater for your baby. It has ginger and fennel in it, just the things we use when our tummy doesn't feel so good.
- A last thought on crying... You'll want to reassure yourself that the crying your baby is experiencing is not a sign of illness. Check for a fever or other signs that he is not feeling well and call his pediatrician.
Because a fussy baby can wear out even the most composed mom, it is vitally important to get some time to yourself. Even if it just means taking a walk around the block, you'll have more to offer your baby if you've been able to refresh yourself mentally and physically.
© COPYRIGHT 2015, Bosom Buddies, Inc. Lone Tree, CO 80124