If Baby Starts Excessive Crying
Parents need to initially rule out all possible medical/biological causes of their baby's excessive crying (discussed in Colic and Excessive, Persistent Crying). Some babies may be medicated (e.g. for reflux) but other babies with no medical reason for the crying continue to suffer: with no 'cure', parents are told the colic is likely to subside by 3 to 4 months! The problem is parents and Baby all have to 'ride out the storm' and stay afloat during this time ...
As discussed in Shaping the Day, babies thrive on routineness and predictability but also your day together needs to have some balance. Being absorbed by Baby's crying can tend to 'take a hold' ... causing a loss of focus on what else can go on in a day with Baby. Parents may even start to isolate themselves from socialising with friends and family because of the impact the baby's crying has on a social event - and the judgements made by others who do not understand what it is like living this situation.
Below I have suggested to write a daily diary for 4 - 5 days to assess how much crying is going on, to see if there is a pattern to it and what else is happening in the day. You also need to look into your own wellbeing.
Complete a 24-hour diary over 4 to 5 days. This diary can include the:
- Crying bouts - time of the day/night and the length of time they last
- Type of cry (e.g. whining, grizzly, or 'colic cry')
- Time that Baby is awake and happy/not crying during the day
- Fun activities you shared with Baby ... play, singing, rhymes, dancing etc
- Feeding behaviour of Baby
- Relaxation you have had together
- Amount of sleep Baby is getting
- Walks or outings you have been on
- People you have talked to.
At the completion, compare the times of the day to see if Baby's episodes of inconsolable crying happen at approximately the same time each day e.g. mid afternoon. If you see there to be a constant pattern you will be able to anticipate your baby's 'whine time' before it begins. Be one step ahead and change your activities/routine in an attempt to change Baby's 'clockwork' pattern of behaviour and to ease your level of stress. Perhaps Baby gets overtired by this time and needs a sleep (ensure you have read Caregiving Routines → Sleep-time) or needs a change of scenery from indoors to going out and having a walk to distract him from being grizzly.
AND ... Have you managed to contact/talk to other adults (beside your partner) during these days? And, has there been some balance in your days?
Assess your own wellbeing. Certainly, Baby's crying can cause you stress but so can the whole transition to parenting:
- If you are suffering from anxiety or suspect you may have symptoms of postnatal depression (discussed in Postnatal Depression) seek assistance from medical professionals and organisations that can diagnose your symptoms and give you guidance.
- The support of a partner, trustworthy family/friends could give you relief/time out from Baby. With their support, do something away from the home environment and the baby that is enjoyable. Not to hear the crying for short periods will enable you to breathe and energise yourself. Do not think that accepting the support of others is a sign of your weakness as a parent. On the contrary, it signals parenting strength in wanting to give your baby the best possible care, and to care for yourself (discussed in Parenting: From the Beginning → Social Support and Parenting).
Baby's temperament (discussed in Bonding and Beyond → Infant Temperament). If she is a very sensitive baby she will need you to help her find what is enjoyable. This will take time and reassurance. As difficult as it may seem during this stressful time you need to continue to build a happy relationship with your baby, knowing that this colic condition will subside.