Child Care: Crying Pattern in Children

❖ Crying: This is one of the most common, perplexing and irritating dilemmas faced by the parents as the child is unable to communicate why he is crying.

❖ Sensitivity: There are some babies who are extra sensitive during the first few weeks and require a lot of cuddling. The parents should keep their presence of mind and cool, particularly during the night and not get angry with their baby, for it only worsens matters.

❖ Infantile Colic: This condition begins at the age of 2-4 weeks and subsides by 3-4 months. The baby typically starts crying in the evenings. The cry may last for hours and is resistant to the usual soothing methods. It is a very testing time for the parents, as the baby cries for hours together in a stereotyped fashion day after day. Worse, there is no guaranteed method to get rid of it. The parents have to wait till the child becomes 4 months +, when the condition subsides regardless of the management strategy. The parents require more counselling than the baby, for whom this is a harmless condition.

❖ Tackling crying: The best thing to do is to admit your feelings of irritation and laugh it out with your spouse. Laughter and a sense of humour is the best antidote for stress and irritability. Parents should also realise that the baby is not doing it deliberately. If she is crying, there is always a genuine and valid reason behind it. She is too small to do it purposely so as to be mad at you, to throw tantrums or use crying as a means to “irritate” you.

Crying is a baby’s way of telling you he needs something – that something is not quite right. In the first few weeks and months, crying is your baby’s main way of communicating with you. There are a lot of myths surrounding crying: that he is crying because he is ‘naughty’ or because he wants to be picked up and that you will ‘spoil’ your baby if you do so. Another myth is that a certain amount of crying is good for young babies because it ‘exercises their lungs’ and makes them “mentally tougher” if not attended to immediately.

Parents believe that if they respond immediately to crying of a baby, the baby may become “spoiled.” Remember a baby below the age of 4 months cannot be spoiled and so should be attended to with all love and attention whenever he/she cries. Research has proved that mothers, who responded quickly to their babies’ cries in the early months, were the ones whose babies cried significantly less in the second half of their first year. They found that from about 4 months onwards, babies whose crying had been ignored earlier tended to cry more. Prompt response to the baby’s distress during the first six to eight months is important because it helps build a trusting relationship between mother and baby.

Crying is one of the most perplexing and irritating dilemmas faced by parents. A child till the age of approximately 2 years cannot verbalise and explain the reasons for his crying. So, the parents are at a loss as to why the baby is crying. Even the doctors find it difficult to pinpoint the cause of crying. If the baby goes on crying and is not soothed by the efforts of the parents, it really becomes a tense situation for them. First of all, they don’t know why the baby is screaming his head off and secondly the baby is not getting any relief. Obviously, the first thought that comes to the mind is that the child is having pain somewhere, which is quite often true.

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