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Infant Colic: Should I Let My Baby Cry it Out?



Parents never want to listen to their baby cry, especially when it seems as though nothing will help. Various experts have recommended many approaches when it comes to infant colic, and which approach you choose is largely a matter of preference. However, when dealing with a crying newborn, it’s best to try to attend to any potential needs first, before you decide to let them “cry it out”.

Don’t worry

You can’t spoil a newborn. In fact, if your baby learns that you are prompt in responding to his or her cries in the early months, your baby may actually cry less once he or she is older.  Some common reasons for crying:

Hunger

Usually one of the most common reasons for crying and parents often attempt to address this need first. Be aware that some babies will also cry not out of hunger, but out of a need to engage the suckling instinct; a pacifier can help with this.

Fatigue

Some babies become more fussy when tired and your newborn may need you to help her learn how to settle down and relax for sleep. Keep your baby to a regular routine, and help her to recognize her sleep cues by winding down activities 15-20 minutes in advance of naptime.

Wet/Dirty

Wet and/or dirty diapers are another common culprit of fussiness, and one that parents can easily address. In general, most babies will need to be changed shortly after feedings, after naps, and when they first wake up in the morning.

Too Hot

Babies may become overheated if they are dressed in too many layers of clothing for the weather. Try removing a layer of clothing or dressing your baby in lighter fabrics if he’s too warm. Humidity can also play a role when it comes to a fussy baby, so keep the air circulation going in your home; ceiling fans are a good option for this.

Too Cold

By contrast, some babies can be fussy if they are too cold. Try adding another layer of clothing if your home is cool. Be aware that dryness can be a problem in the winter if you have central heating, so a humidifier may be necessary to combat the dryness of wintery air.

Swaddling

Some newborns like to be swaddled. This gives them the same feeling of security and closeness that they had in the womb. However, many babies outgrow this need after a month or two.
Companionship – babies, just like adults, can be fussy due to loneliness. Your baby may want to be held and/or rocked for comfort.

Need for Quiet

If there is too much noise, light, or other external stimuli, your baby may become overwhelmed and colicky. Try moving your fussy baby to a quieter room, dim the lights, and minimize distractions.

If you’ve worked to address the potential reasons for crying, and your baby is still inconsolable, you may have to let him or her cry it out. Crying due to infant colic won’t harm your baby. It is much better for you to take a fifteen minute break and return with renewed energy than it is for you to struggle along and become more and more frustrated and upset. Just make sure baby is in a safe place, such as a crib or a playpen, and be certain to check in on him or her regularly.


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