Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crying Baby: 6 Weeks and Younger

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In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg lists several factors to consider when your 0-6 week old baby starts to cry (page 24). She points out that if baby is on a routine, it is much easier to determine the reason for the crying because activities happen in a particular pattern. Here are some possible reasons to consider:
  • Hunger: Is it close to time for a feeding? If so, there is a good chance baby is waking out of hunger. Keep in mind that growth spurts happen often during his period. Growth spurt
  • Discomfort: Does your baby have a dirty diaper? Most babies in this age range tend to soil their diaper during or soon after a feeding.
  • Boredom: Has your baby been sitting in the same place or position for too long? While babies in this age range can become easily overstimulated, that doesn't mean they want to sit in one spot for their entire playtime.
  • Overtired: If baby has been awake for a total of 30 minutes or more (including feeding time), she might be ready for a nap. optimal waketime
  • Overstimulated: If baby has had a lot of visitors or if she has been watching her older brother jump around the room, she might be overstimulated. overstimulation
  • Gas: If she is making faces and pulling her legs up, she might have gas. gas
  • Reflux: If she is crying and/or spitting up a lot after feeds, she might have reflux. Reflux
  • Body Temperature: She might be hot or cold. Either the room could be too hot or cold, or she could be under or overdressed.
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8 comments:

Bill said...

What are your thoughts on the "witching hour"? My 3-week-old seems hungry soon after her early evening feeding, staying fussy for an hour, and we don't know whether she's hungry or gassy or just a baby.

Thanks.

Plowmanators said...

There are a few things to consider. One is that yes, that is a time of day babies are usually fussy. Babywise says that if your baby has a hard time for that nap to consider having her sleep some other way (not on her own). So long as it is for that one nap and doesn't start to affect other naps, it is just fine. This could include a swing, bouncy seat, your arms...

Sorry this is late, but 3 weeks is a common growth spurt time so you always want to keep that in mind. But since you say it is for that one time of day, I would say it is not a growth spurt.

I don't know what you mean by "soon." Many breastfed babies need to eat at 2 hour intervals at that time of day because mom's milk supply is not as good qualtiatively or quantitatively.

If you suspect gas, I would give drops and then also consider what mom ate 2-6 hours before that might be contributing to the gas. (assuming she is breastfed).

In the end, she could be just a baby :)

Julie said...

My husband and I have implemented the core principles of Babywise since birth with our second child. He is now three weeks old. During the day is getting his waketime mainly by himself in the crib after feedings so not to overstimulate him. He rarely crys going down for his naps, but has recently started to wake early out of naps. I am aware of the 3 week growth spurt, so for the past couple of days, I have been feeding once awake and then reworking the schedule for the rest of the day. The above information is simply to preface my question in regards to crying... For the past couple of nights he has started to cry when going down for bedtime (7:00pm). Last night he cried for quite sometime beginning the moment we laid him down. Originally, we checked for gas, diaper, but knew that he was not hungry. After a while when we would check on him and pat him to comfort, his crying only escalated. My question is this... is it necessary to continually check on the child every 15-20 minutes until they sleep? I should also mention that he is bottle fed, so I know the amount he had at his feeding and we also have a video monitor that allows us to 'see' that nothing is physically wrong with him. Should I let him alone to figure out the skill of sleep or constantly check on him no matter how much he escalates afterwards? Also, do the same techniques apply when they wake early out of a nap and it is not a growth spurt? Do you constantly go in and check on them if they have woken early?

Jennifer said...

Julie, every baby is different. For some, the interference of going in makes it harder for them to sleep. Check out the CIO Bootcamp "http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/search/label/CIO" for more of Valerie's thoughts about that.

From what I've read, there are two main sleep books out there: Ferber recommends going in at intervals, Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, however, recommends not going in at all. If you have a video monitor and can see what is going on then maybe try not going in and maybe your baby will settle. The CIO bootcamp has lots of great ideas for helping to sleep train.

Plowmanators said...

Julie,

It sounds like you are describing the Ferber method--which I only know things about through others. I haven't read his book.

Ferber and other experts recognize that extinction (described by Weissbluth...as Jennifer mentioned...it is no intereference) works the fastest. But it is the hardest.

However, it sounds like classic "witching hour" behavior. You can see my newborn summary posts for my experience with the witching hour (see newborn summary blog label). In short, if he needs to be held to fall asleep or needs the swing to fall asleep, that is just fine for that nap. If it is witching hour, then it most likely will not cause problems with other naps. He just needs extra comfort and soothing during this time period.

Unknown said...

My little one is 5 weeks old & I am trying my hardest to get her on a schedule before I go back to work in 10 days. She will be at daycare 3 days, and w/me & my husband & mother-in-law a combination of the other 4 days. I'm nervous all the good I've done will be undone when my well-intentioned mother-in-law (or daycare) thinks baby should nap in the swing or extends playtime too long & overstimulates her, etc. How can I make sure she's on board? Even I feel bad that sometimes it seems like all we do is feed & change her, before it's time for her to nap again. We do naps in her room, so it's a lot of time away from her & I think my mother-in-law will want to hold her & keep her close & thus confuse & overstimulate her. Help!

Distant_Dreamer said...

My almost 6 week old has an extremely hard time going down for naps. We are on our third day of crying it out. I've followed the schedule as much as possible since day 1 but generally rocked him to tired before laying him down weeks 1-4 because I felt he was too young for cio. He fights sleep and his naps so hard with intense crying for 1 .5 hr for every nap. How long will it take for him to fall asleep faster/not cry for his whole nap. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I feel like he is getting so much less sleep since we started this as well. Any thoughts? Is it normal for him to cry that long?

Valerie Plowman said...

No that is very long.

Have you read my CIO bootcamp post? And my CIO responsibly post? Those will help you fine tune the process. You really want to focus on waketime length and be sure you have that right.

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