My daughter cried almost non-stop from about two weeks old until around 12 weeks. Her crying didn’t follow some of the classical patterns of a baby with colic as she didn’t cry during certain hours of the day, she just cried all the time. As a new mother it was a very difficult situation to deal with and while I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in crying babies, I can offer some advice on how to calm a crying baby.
Check for Medical Issues First
The first thing to do if your baby is crying all the time is to consult with your doctor. There could be a medical reason for the crying and that needs to be ruled out first. One medical problem my daughter did seem to have was reflux as she had a difficult time during feeding. The medication did help with feedings but there was still alot of crying. If you are breastfeeding then some bouts of crying can be caused by foods you eat such as spicy or gassy foods, something to keep in mind and watch for. If you’re suspicious of that, keep a food journal. Of course, there could be many medical reasons for non-stop crying so it’s important to see your doctor first.
If there are no underlining medical reasons for the crying then you may just have yourself a fussy baby sometimes known as colic. I won’t go into all the various reasons of what may cause colic, or what is or isn’t colic, let’s just say you have a baby who cries alot. Those first few weeks with my daughter were very traumatic and I rarely left the house in fear of an uncontrollable break down in public. It seems that uncontrollable criers are a minority in the culture and when I did venture out and a meltdown pursued, I swear I received many disapproving looks like “why can’t she calm her baby”. Now, maybe I was hypersensitive but I want to share that feeling here so that others are prepared and understand that it doesn’t matter want anyone may think as long as you are doing your best for your baby. One thing I learned when going out was to always have an escape plan and be ready to leave a cart full of groceries behind if that is what was necessary. Remember, this is a temporary situation and I promise you it will get better.
My Favorite Book on Colic
In my pursuit of a remedy to all the crying I purchased many books and I have to highly recommend one in particular: The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD. Even if your baby isn’t a full-blown crier this book has great insights into how to deal with newborns. The key points are that newborns are calmed by 5 main methods (used in combination): swaddling, side-laying, shhh-ing, swinging, and sucking. For me, the swaddling, swinging and sucking ideas were life savers and helped me many times to calm my daughter down. Swaddling also helped my daughter to sleep for longer periods at night and the swinging helped to get her to sleep. I also learned to breastfeed on demand (she wouldn’t take a pacifier) and that also helped to keep her calm. Did she stop crying all together? No. But most of the time I was able to stop a meltdown before it happened. If you have a crying baby, you must get this book.
And what is the ultimate crying stopper when all else has failed? A car ride! Talk to any parent and they will likely have a story of driving around the block at midnight to get their baby to sleep. When all else failed, I hopped in my car and off we went. Try all of these things and find out what works best for your baby. Even if your baby doesn’t have colic, the methods described can help with the occasional crying bout or even help with getting a baby to sleep faster and for longer periods. Those first few months of a babies life can be difficult on a mother but the difficult times will pass quickly and before you know it, you’ll be ready to do it again!
©2004 by Carrie Balrok, owner of http://www.thechristianwoman.com