They say that every parent is fine tuned to the sound of their own baby’s cry, and I’m willing to bet that most of us could pick out the tones of our own off spring in any crowded shopping mall. But did you also know that a baby’s cry is designed to be one of the most awful sounds a parent can hear? Its all for good reason too- so that our natural instincts are to tend to our babies, and ease whatever it is that has made them cry. Another reason why the cry it out method isn’t my cup of tea, but that’s another blog post! Instead, this week I want to focus on evening crying, and how to cope if your baby does it in excess. It can be hard, but its not uncommon.
Newborn babies cry by means of communication. So not all cries are equal, and not all mean that they are upset, or angry or hungry etc. Another fact worth knowing is that newborn babies tend to cry in the evenings more so than other times of the day. Why is this? Sometimes, it can be down to ‘colic’ and sometimes it can be down to a whole host of other reasons. Maybe your baby is overtired, maybe she is overstimulated. Sometimes tummy ache and wind can be to blame. Sometimes your baby is picking up on changes in the atmosphere of the house- for example, when older kids are home from school, partners home from work etc.
Basically, there is no secret formula out there that will tell you exactly why your baby is crying in the evenings. But there are a few things you can do to ease the situation.
This shall pass
It’s true. As with most things, the evening crying will pass. And in the meantime, you will get better at recognising the signs and knowing what you need to do to ease the pressure a little. So go easy on yourself. Try to make evenings as relaxed as you can, anticipate the crying in a way so that you can accept it for what it is (a phase) and move on to dealing with it in the here and now. And don’t forget to accept all the help that is offered!
Make sleep a priority
So so important! If you think your baby is getting over tired, make sure you deal with that straight away. So make sure your routine is spot on, and that you’re noticing the sleep cues in good time. Stick to the same bedtime too if you can, so that your baby has a chance to establish good habits herself too.
Take steps to ease the pressure of the moment
So baby is crying again. Now is not the time to fall apart. Try all the tricks and tips that you can. Go for a walk with the sling, or go for a drive. Bounce, rock, sing, soothe. Whatever it takes (and you know your baby best) do it and hopefully the crying sessions will be over a little sooner than normal.
Deal with wind now!
Sometimes babies have a hard time getting wind up, and this can be a major cause for evening crying. Its not the same as colic, it can be eased so quickly. Always burp your baby after a feed, and keep her upright so that any trapped wind is able to come up a little easier.
Breastfeeding? Look at your diet
Sometimes babies react a little to the foods that we eat during breastfeeding, so you might want to keep a note of what you’re eating and how baby reacts. Eliminate any foods you think aren’t compatible.
Last of all, don’t panic. There is nothing wrong with you as a parent if your baby is crying of an evening. Its quite normal! If you do think that there might be something wrong with your baby, always call for medical advice. But if its just a case of evening crying, make sure you try to stay calm. Accept help. Have someone on hand to take over when it all gets too much. And don’t forget to take care of YOU too.