Crying is one way for your baby to let you know what they want. During the first 3 months an average, healthy baby may cry for about a total of 2 hours a day. Young babies need a lot of love and physical contact from caring adults. This helps them feel loved, safe and able to rely on their parents. Babies need to be comforted when they cry. They won’t be spoilt by all this attention. Babies may fuss and cry for a lot of reasons. Sometimes you may know the reason, but often you can only guess. At times your baby may cry no matter what you do.
Your baby may be hungry, tired, have wind, colic, be needing a loving cuddle, uncomfortable or in pain, feeling too hot or cold, have wet or dirty nappies, or be ill. Many babies have an evening crying session and are awake for most of the evening. They may want to feed more often, particularly if they are breastfed. Crying babies are likely to settle more easily if you meet their needs in a gentle caring way.
To comfort a crying baby you might try listening to and watching baby for signs of what they need eg signs of tiredness, hunger, wind, being uncomfortable.
Or you might try:
If your baby falls asleep on their tummy don't leave them asleep this way as this increases the risk of SUDI (SIDS or cot death). If your baby falls asleep in the pram do not leave them alone as they may wriggle into a place where they cannot breathe easily. Always use the pram’s safety harness to keep your baby safe.
It can be stressful, worrying and can make you angry if your baby has been crying for a long time and you cannot comfort them, particularly if you are tired. If you feel the crying is getting too much for you, put your baby in a safe place (eg their cot), or pass them to someone else. Take a few minutes to calm yourself down or have a rest.
You may like to have a break, a cup of tea, ring a friend, relative or PlunketLine. Then go back in and check on them.
If you often feel stressed or angry it may help to talk to family, friends or someone who works in health or community services.
If nothing seems to comfort your baby, the crying is different from usual or they are refusing to feed, your baby may be unwell. Talk to a doctor, Plunket nurse or other well child health provider, or phone PlunketLine on 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.