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|All Babies Cry Sometimes (2)|
Article Date: December 10, 2007
Some babies cry a lot more than others, even though they may be perfectly healthy and their parents very experienced in handling infants. The amount of time your baby spends crying each day may be less than it seems. Though you may feel that your baby is crying twenty-four hours a day, if you carefully record his actual crying times you may discover that his crying isnít really nonstop. Understandably, your feelings of frustration and helplessness may make it seem that your baby cries endlessly.
So how much crying is normal? Opinions vary. Many studies have found that crying episodes start in earnest around three weeks of age, peak at around six weeks, and decrease significantly between three and four months of age. Crying tends to be worst around mealtimes--7:00 A.M., 12:00 P.M., and between 5:00 and 6:00 P.M with the most crying around dinnertime. Some researchers say babies average an hour and a quarter of crying per day; others say two to four hoursí crying per day is normal.
What is normal to these researchers might be quite worrisome to you, and might be considered a cause for alarm in a country where babies are generally given closer nurturing than they are in the United States. In India and Africa babies are carried by their mothers or other family members all day long and kept beside them at night, but here many babies are expected to be content in nonhuman baby holders such as cribs, playpens, car seats, and strollers. And this treatment usually leads to more crying.
Will You spoil your baby by carrying her too much, by answering her cries too quickly, or by getting into the habit of going to her when she wakes up over and over during the night? A lot of parents worry about this--especially when their babies are extra demanding. Fatigue can make you question whether youíre falling into a trap of being manipulated by your baby. Doctors and relatives may try to convince you that you are.
ďMaybe Iím being too soft on her. Maybe my baby needs to be shown whoís boss,Ē you say to yourself. So you stop going to your baby when she cries, or you chide her for making demands. But she only cries harder and longer.
Research has shown that parents who are the most afraid of spoiling their babies are the most likely to produce children who act spoiled. By taking longer to answer, these parents get accustomed to the crying, and so distance themselves from their babies even more. The babyís trust in her caregivers begins to erode, which makes her quicker to cry and harder to soothe. Eventually she grows into a clingy, overly demanding, and insecure toddler.
Notes To Dad
Try to get home on time. Things can crumble in those last few minutes that your partner is waiting.
Take the baby away from the house for an hour or two so Mom can nap or take a leisurely bath.
Talk to the baby and say nice things about her. Mom wants to know there is something lovable about her.
Lend a listening ear to your partner. Maybe you canít cure colic, but there is much relief in feeling understood.
Offer to take Mom on an outing. She might say she is too tired, but she needs adult companionship almost as much as sleep.
Make a run for take-out food or cook dinner yourself.
Take over the baby right after dinner or at some other definite time each evening for half an hour or more. (Gentle, quiet touching, talking, and humming work better before bedtime than vigorous play.)
Try letting your baby sleep on your bare chest.
When you can count on a few minutesí break from your baby, try progressively relaxing different parts of your body while concentrating on a single image in your mind. Follow these steps:
1. Lie quietly on the floor, on the couch, or in bed, in whatever position is most comfortable for you.
2. Close your eyes, and keep them closed.
3. Slowly take three deep breaths. Inhale through your nose as deeply as you can,
and then exhale through your mouth as slowly as you can.
4. Breathe normally for about one minute as you picture a place of awesome beauty, such as mountains, a meadow, or a seashore.
5. Take a deep breath, and clench your left hand as tightly as you can.
6. Exhale slowly through your mouth as you hold your hand tightly closed.
7. Slowly unclench the hand and concentrate on the relaxed feeling this gives you.
8. Breathe normally, and concentrate on your beautiful vision for one minute.
9. Take a deep breath, and tighten your right hand, repeating steps six through eight. Do the same with other parts of your body, such as your legs, your jaw, and your back.
10. Lie still, breathing normally, for a couple of minutes before getting up.