Babies cry, we know that. I am pretty sure EVERY mother-to-be expects to have to deal with a crying baby. But nothing prepares you for the range of big feelings that crying invokes in us caregivers. Postpartum emotions are no help, and sometimes we feel like we just can’t figure out WHY our baby is crying, let alone how to calm them down.
When our emotions are at an all time high from everything going on, it is sometimes hard to think rationally, so I really wanted to sit down to provide you a guide to help you think it through.
But before you keep reading, remind yourself you are doing a GREAT job!
Take a deep breath and remember, you are doing the best you can in the moment you have been given.
The PURPLE PERIOD OF CRYING is a really helpful framework to help us understand what is happening to baby. These periods of crying usually coincide with a burst of development, so it is important that even though it's stressful, it will pass!
P = Peak of Crying. Your baby may cry more each week, peaking at 2 months and then less at 3-5 months.
U = Unexpected. Crying can come and go, and you don’t know why.
R = Resists Soothing. May not stop crying no matter what you try
P = Pain-like Face. Baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
L = Long Lasting. Crying can last as much as 5 hours a day, or more.
E = Evening. Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.
So, what CAN you do when your baby hits this period?
Give yourself a break. Put your baby down and walk away. Let your baby cry in a safe space for a few minutes while you get some air or cry in the bathroom (no shame here, we’ve all done it). Your baby will be okay. If you have a partner take turns when baby is crying so one of you can have a break and get some perspective; or call a friend/family member to come over. Giving yourself the opportunity to clear your head will allow you to be more levelheaded and calm when tending to baby.
Go for a walk outside with baby; even in cold weather. Babies love a change of scenery and fresh air helps us all reboot our system.
Run baby’s head under water. Hold them on their back and tilt their head back under the water, getting their hair wet. Make sure the water is room temperature.
No matter how bad the crying gets, it is just a phase. You are doing an amazing job, mama, with your baby, and sometimes, babies just cry a lot. Keep yourself surrounded by help so you can give yourself much needed breaks. This too shall pass.