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CYPF blog: Coping with a crying baby

Having a baby is an incredibly exciting time. But it can also be a very challenging time if your baby is crying a lot. A crying baby can make you feel worried or anxious, but it’s very normal to feel that way and something that most parents feel at some point. 

Here, in their own words, some parents in Berkshire share their experiences of coping with a crying baby.

“Asking my mum or partner for help doesn’t make me a failure.”

“I was the first one to become a mum out of my friends and there were no young children in my family, so becoming a parent felt really overwhelming at first.

"The first 6 months felt really daunting as I sometimes wouldn’t know why he was crying and by the evenings I was so exhausted. The first month I felt embarrassed to ask for help because I should know how to soothe my baby as a mother. I soon realised that asking my mum or partner for help doesn’t make me a failure but it gives me a much needed break and some time to rest away from the crying.

"The crying can be hard and you don’t always have the answers and that is okay, it does get easier as the months go on."

“Listen and really understand your baby; let him cry and communicate with you what he needs.”

“I was a mum to two other children who were at school when number three came along. It was the assumption that I could deal with anything as I had dealt with it all before. 

"When my baby hit around three weeks old, I felt completely shell shocked at the crying. It felt like it was constant – 24 hours a day. My partner went off to work without a care in the world and I put on that face in the school playground like all was well. Inside I felt like an absolute failure. Why was he crying so much? What was I doing wrong? He cried day and night and nothing I did seemed to help. This went on for a week or so and I was beginning to feel beyond exhausted. He was fed, clean, dry and warm; he wasn’t ill so what was I doing wrong?

"I took him to clinic to be weighed and my Health Visitor, who I’d known with all my children, knew there was something wrong. She took me aside and listened to me beat myself up for no reason. She then gave me a stern talking to and reassured me that crying was normal. He was telling me something that I just needed to listen to.

"I left the clinic feeling slightly better but still no further forward. He still cried.  Something she said made me sit and watch my baby when he started to have a real crying spell. It was as if a lightbulb went off in my head! I soon realised he wasn’t the same as my other two and needed different things to calm and soothe him.

"I started skin to skin again during the day and at night. I let him comfort feed more and I understood that he just really wanted to be close to me. I suppose looking back now I was so busy in the mornings getting the other two off to school and trying to keep the routine going that I didn’t see his cues. I’m not going to lie and say it got better instantly, but I think I was able to cope with it better.

"I also asked my partner to take him more and do the same skin to skin. Even his sisters wanted to help with this. 

"My takeaway message from this experience is to listen and really understand your baby; let him cry and communicate with you what he needs. Don’t be in a rush to try and fix the crying and try different things. The calmer you are, the calmer your baby will be. He grew out of it and it didn’t last for long.”

How to get help

If you are struggling to cope with your baby’s crying, speak to your Health Visitor on the duty line Mon-Fri (except Bank Holidays), or call the Cry-sis Centre on 08451 228 669, open 7 days a week from 9am-10pm. Cry-sis is UK charity offering advice and support to parents and carers with babies who cry excessively. 

If you feel worried about your baby’s health, contact your health visitor, GP or NHS 111. 

You can also visit our support and advice pages for more information on looking after your baby, and ways to cope with their crying.

Look out for our Q&A on Friday - if you have any questions regarding crying, let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page #AskCYPF