The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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My clothes need to be changed. Too much or too little clothing can make a baby uncomfortable. An overheated baby breathes rapidly and may have a clammy neck. A cold baby’s skin appears marbled and blotchy.
I want new scenery. A baby often turns away from a toy or person because she’s bored or overstimulated. If she’s bored, a new plaything or playmate should do the trick.
The word overstimulated describes a baby who has been exposed to an activity or noise for too long. In this case, it’s time for a nap or a calmer environment.
I need to blow off steam. Babies can’t turn to exercise, a hot bath or a cup of tea to relax, so they cry. Often this cry is repetitive and moanlike. Hogg describes it as a mantra that babies repeat until they calm themselves or fall asleep.
I’m in pain. Until they’re about 6 weeks old, babies have only two cries: a hunger cry and a pain cry. A pain cry comes on suddenly, has a longer period of breath-holding and is louder than a normal cry, and can be high-pitched. Sometimes a baby in pain appears to hold her breath between shrieks.
If you’re using cloth diapers, an open safety pin could be the culprit. A pinched diaper, too-tight clothing or gas pains also could be to blame.
Just ’cause. Sometimes babies cry for no reason at all, at least not a reason parents — or even the experts — fully understand. If such crying persists for three hours a day at least three days a week for three consecutive weeks, it’s often labeled as colic. About 20 percent of normal, healthy babies qualify as “colicky,” according to pediatrics professor Lester.
Some babies have their worst colic episodes in the evening. Occasionally, Lester says, colic is secondary to a sleeping or feeding difficulty; consult your pediatrician if you’re concerned. “If it’s not [due to sleep or feeding problems],” he says, “then there are things you can do to try to help.”
Here are some suggestions to calm your inconsolable sweetheart: