What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

Understanding a crying baby

By Jan O'Connell

Understanding a crying baby

We all know that babies cry but all new mothers and fathers soon learn that it takes time to decipher why they are crying. A baby's crying is very distressing to parents. It is not known why babies sometimes cry for long periods without being easily comforted. It is difficult for parents to identify different cries in the first two months and most parents assume that the baby is either hungry or in pain. When attempts to quieten or soothe your baby don't work it is easy to loose confidence.

Some things to remember are: A certain amount of crying is to be expected but babies cry more when they are tired. The total time a baby cries each day increases and peaks at about six weeks of age and it can be tempting to try to distract a crying baby, but it is often better to try quiet soothing.

It is helpful for fathers and mothers to have a number of ways to soothe their baby, not just by offering a feed. Well-slept babies cry much less and are more easily comforted than babies who have not had enough sleep. Babies thrive best when the day is structured to meet their needs so consider what has worked best to soothe your baby.

Posted in:  Baby 0-4 weeks  Crying settling sleeping  Growth and development  Health Professionals