Some babies are more "fussy" and cry more than others. If your baby cries a lot, it may simply be a matter of temperament. But it may also be a sign of colic. Colicky babies tend to cry intensely and for long periods, most often during the late afternoon and early evening, and most often between the ages of 4 and 16 weeks. When going through a colicky episode, babies scream, pull their legs up to their bellies, and act as though they are in real pain. Even when you interrupt the cries with a nipple or pacifier, a belly rub, or a cuddle, the peace doesn't last. A few minutes later the screaming starts again. If this describes your baby, let your doctor know. Your doctor may suggest a different type of formula, or a certain type of medication, or (if you are breastfeeding) changes in your diet. But be prepared for a few tough weeks.
There really isn't a "cure" for colic, and most parents find they simply have to bear with it until their babies grow through this stage. Take note of anything you do that helps calm your baby or even interrupts the crying for a few minutes and keep trying those things. Take heart from the fact that everything you do really does help. When you give up in frustration and lay her down, you'll probably notice that she screams even louder. Give yourself a break from your other duties—don't answer the phone, keep meals as simple as possible, and don't be worried if the house gets a little messy. And remember that it won't last forever. Life with a colicky baby can be awful, but this stage never lasts for more than about 12 weeks.
Babies can't be spoiled. When they cry, they are:
- not feeling well
- or just want the wonderful human comfort of being held and loved
Responding to your baby's needs will help her feel secure
Your baby's "difficult" behavior may simply indicate a new stage in development, and will soon pass
It can be frustrating when your efforts don't stop your baby's crying. But never let that frustration push you to handle your baby roughly
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