Babies cry on average one to four hours a day – it is their first form of verbal communication.
As a normal part of infancy, it has its purposes.
Hunger Cry: This cry tends to be short and low-pitched, and it rises and falls.
Feed the infant, and the tears disappear.
Most infants will eat approximately every two to three hours.
A baby who is otherwise content may sometimes cry like this if he wants to be left alone.
Anger Cry: This is like an enhanced, more strident hunger cry.
It can occur if the hunger cry is ignored.
If you’ve already fed and burped the baby and he still cries, he could be cold, wet or dirty. Changing the baby and then swaddling him may alleviate this cry.
The Pain Cry: This is usually sudden and loud.
It consists of a long, high-pitched shriek with a long pause, followed by a flat wail.
The baby should be checked for anything that could be hurting him – clothes that are pinching, for example, or a hair wrapped tightly around a finger or his penis.
If this has been done and all other needs have been met, the baby could be getting sick.
Take his temperature and seek medical advice if necessary.
Some young infants will have long periods of pain crying. These usually occur in the evening and settle into a pattern. This is colic.
It is thought that some infants get overwhelmed with all the sights and sounds and touches in their environment, so they cry to block them out.
Fortunately, colic is often outgrown by 3 months of age.
If no reason can be found for an infant’s crying and all the above interventions have been tried, there is absolutely nothing wrong with swaddling the baby and picking her up.
Gently rocking, stroking her head, patting her back, singing, talking, playing soft music, walking, using a stroller, car rides and even warm baths may stop the crying.
If you’re frustrated and all else fails, there is nothing wrong with putting her in a crib and walking away for a little while. Some infants may even go to sleep after a few minutes when left alone.
A baby younger than 6 months of age cannot be spoiled. Responding quickly to an infant’s crying will actually lessen the crying overall.