How To Translate Your Baby's Tears

Take a break

Although her face is bright red and she seems deeply distressed, remember that crying won’t hurt your infant! However, an exhausted, frustrated, stressed-out parent isn’t optimal for the Herculean task of caring for a baby. This is why every pediatrician we talked to recommends you take a break from the crying. Ideally, call a family member or friend to relieve you for an hour. If this isn’t an option, swaddle your crying baby, put her in the crib and take a 15-minute herbal tea break. Check occasionally to make sure she’s okay.

Continuous crying can result in an overly irritated, impatient parent. In fact, in America, an estimated 1,400 babies are shaken each year, generally in response to continuous crying. So before you’re at your wit’s end, take a break!

Keep in mind, too, that there’s light at the end of this teary tunnel: Crying decreases when a baby is 8 weeks old.

Call your doctor when…

If your infant’s crying is accompanied by any of these symptoms, seek the counsel of your pediatrician:

› A change in crying (for example, a listless moan instead of the usual lively bawling)

› A fever

› Unusual vomiting or spitting up

› Sleeping more or less than normal

› A red or swollen scrotum (for boys)

› Diarrhea or bloody stools

› Feeding issues (as described in Step 3)

› Congestion or noisy breathing while baby is sleeping

You’re caring for a person who can’t tell you what’s wrong. So, if you’re
worried, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician, who will be happy if she can reassure you that all is well.

Writer Nancy Gottesman, of Santa Monica, Calif., recalls singing Grateful Dead songs to her son, Robby, now 13, when he was an inconsolable infant.