All babies cry to some extent. During the first year, it is their foremost, and most important, means of communication. And you’re supposed to feel it to your core.
How much do babies cry?
Time never moves as slowly as when your child is crying. Sometimes it can feel like your baby cries all the time, or at least every night, but maybe that’s not the case. Studies show that small babies cry or are restless for an average of almost two hours a day until they are three months old, and for one hour a day from the age of four to six months. But it feels like forever.
All babies are born with unique personalities and different temperaments. And this has an impact on how the baby cries. Some babies hardly make a noise, while others with the most energy use their entire vocal repertoire, and naturally that demands a little extra parent power. However, there is a positive side to having a small, “screaming” baby that firmly makes his or her needs known. Such stubbornness is a trait that will pay off later in life.
What does the crying mean?
Crying can mean so many things: I’m hungry, I don’t want to sit here, this is uncomfortable, I can’t sleep, I don’t want to lie in these arms, and so on. Occasionally, there’s more crying and fuss, usually during periods of intensive development or growth.
In time, you’ll recognise what the crying is about. It can be difficult, and you won’t always understand why your child is upset, and maybe baby doesn’t even know. One thing’s for sure – you’ll get better at guessing.
It’s easy to get into trying everything, and we mean everything, to comfort your baby. But crying isn’t dangerous and it doesn’t harm our little ones. It’s not dangerous to feel the way they feel, to be that sad, disappointed, or angry. If you’re close at hand, it can feel really good for your baby to get it out of their system, cuddled by you for a while.
In the past it was thought to be good to let babies cry, because it was good for their lungs, but that's not the case anymore. Children need their parents to react to their crying. Of course, most times you can run to the toilet, finish showering, or finish eating before you get up. You have to take care of yourself, too, in order to keep your strength up.
Pick up your baby if you want, even if those around you object. This isn't spoiling your baby. Follow your own “gut feeling” and choose wisely from all the advice you receive.
Read more about how to comfort your baby here.