During the first three months after birth as you get used to what your baby’s cries mean, it’s important to attend to them and learn what each cry means. In general during the first three months, healthy babies cry when their basic needs are not being met which causes them to feel uncomfortable. The most common reasons why a newborn will cry is because the baby is hungry, has gas, or has a wet or dirty diaper.
After you’ve fed, changed, and burped your baby, their basic needs have been met. If your baby continues to cry, it may mean he or she needs be rocked or cuddled.
A note on overfeeding: When a new mother hears her baby cry, her first instinct is to feed them when in reality they may just need to be comforted. People who associate feeding with crying often overfeed their baby in the first year. As a result, overweight children are more prone to obesity as an adult.
From midnight to 6 am:
- Don’t overly stimulate the baby.
- Though it may be hard, don’t engage the baby with coos or endearing hums.
- Tend to the baby’s pressing needs – feed and change the baby and then cradle him or her back to sleep.
- The diaper change should occur quickly and quietly.
- Keep the lights dim. This way the baby will understand naturally that it’s sleeptime; the darkness is for sleeping and the daylight is for playing and socializing.
From 6 pm to midnight:
This “bewitching hour” is rarely just an hour. It’s the time frame from 6 pm to midnight when a baby cries inconsolably. When a baby wails for literally six hours straight, this can be an extremely frustrating and even terrifying situation. This stage typically passes within the first three months of a baby’s life, but we understand it’s tiring nonetheless. So when this happens and you’ve met all the baby’s basic needs, try and wait the crying out. This is usually the hardest thing for new parents to do. But we assure you it’s okay; your baby will be fine, just give it a try.
Remember that babies makes noises all the time – when they’re happy, when they’re sad, and even when they’re sleeping. In some cases, what sounds like crying may be an involuntary grunting. We’re not sure why some babies are more prone to this than others but we do know the soft, continuous “grunting” does not mean they need something.
Our thoughts on crying babies and pacifiers? Read more on page 319 in the Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide To Pregnancy And Birth.