You won’t always be able to stop your baby crying, which can be hard. If you can’t comfort your baby quickly or easily, just remind yourself that crying is what babies do. It doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job as a parent.
Understanding and responding to your newborn baby’s behaviour
Your newborn baby is working out what the world is like. The way you respond to her behaviour, especially her crying, tells her a lot about her world.
For example, your baby might find out that when he cries, someone comes to give him what he needs. This might be a nappy change, a feed or a cuddle. If that happens, he’ll learn that the world is a pretty OK place.
When you respond quickly to comfort your crying newborn, your baby will cry less often overall. It’s absolutely fine to pick up your baby when she cries. It tells her that she’s safe because you’re a caring, responsive parent who loves her.
You can’t spoil a newborn.
If your newborn is crying, it’s because he needs your help. If you respond calmly and consistently, it helps your baby learn that the world is a safe and predictable place.
Inconsolable crying or colic
Some babies cry a lot over a long period of time. Nothing seems to comfort them. This is often called colic.
Colic might just be natural behaviour for some babies, especially at the end of a long day and after too much stimulation. Crying might help a newborn take control of her environment. It’s as if your baby is saying, ‘Enough! I’m just going to cry to shut out the world’.
If your baby cries like this, it can be very hard for you to cope with. These ideas might help you and your baby:
- Reduce the stimulation around your baby – for example, try sitting with baby in a quiet, dimmed room.
- Lay your baby on his side in his cot and rhythmically pat his back. Gently turn him onto his back if he falls asleep.
- Try putting in some imaginary earplugs. Let the sound of the crying pass through you, and remind yourself that everything is OK. You’re doing all you can to help your baby.
- Take baby for a walk in the pram or a sling. Movement can sometimes be soothing.
- Try playing ‘white noise’ like a fan or the radio tuned to the static between stations. This can help to settle baby.