Stories of crying babies are legendary in the world of parenting. Perhaps you've even said of your own child, "She never sleeps," "I don't know what's wrong with him, "We've tried everything," or "I just can't put her down." These phrases may be painfully familiar if you're a parent of a fussy baby.
It's inevitable. We've all lived with a crying baby at one time or another or have sympathized with friends who tell us their tales of woe. And we've all listened eagerly and with rapt attention to the successful methods others have found to calm their baby, hoping we too can finally discover that magic solution.
One of the universal truths about babies is that they cry. Babies cry because they're hungry, because they're tired, and because they're in pain. They may be over-stimulated, not feeling well, or may simply need to be comforted. They also cry for the same reason that adults talk—to communicate. Crying spells can be a challenge for both babies and parents, but it is important to remember that this stage of development won't last forever. Crying generally peaks at about six weeks, decreasing steadily until three months of age.
Recognizing Your Baby's StateMost parents assess an infant's cries to determine the following physical states:
When your baby is fussy, you respond to her—perhaps you change her diaper, feed her, burp her, and dance endlessly around the room. You sing lullabies, cooing softly, and still the cries may persist. You sit down to try nursing one more time. She latches on and her eyelids begin to flutter shut. Success!
Much of what parents attempt with their crying infants is based on trial and error. What works with one child at a particular moment might not work the next day—or even the next hour. Different children are comforted by different techniques. Most parents, however, know to seek medical treatment if their child is inconsolable or seems unwell.