Guest Author - Molly Carter
When a baby cries, especially a newborn, it is because they are in need of something. That something can range from a clean diaper, to a breast, to two loving arms for comfort. Sometimes there may be something wrong that is causing baby pain, maybe something as simple as a tag at the back of their shirt, or a gas bubble. Sometimes you donít know whatís wrong. But you would not leave baby cry because they are hungry or in a dirty diaper. If baby is in pain, you would try to stop the pain. You would think it strange if someone did not respond to these cries. It is just as strange to not respond to a cry just because we canít figure out what baby wants or needs.
Babyís are responsive. They donít think about what they do, they just react. They are not manipulative, they are not sneaky, and they are not devious. If they are crying, they are crying for a reason, not just to cry. They need something, even if it is just love and care. Their brains are not designed at this stage to self-sooth. By responding consistently to babyís cries, they will learn how to sooth themselves. You will also teach baby to trust, that when they need something, someone will be there to provide it for them.
There are so many parenting advice givers out there that will tell you that you need to let baby cry it out, or leave them cry for awhile before you respond. But with a baby, especially a young baby, if they are crying, they are in need. You canít spoil them, you can only love them, nurture them, and reinforce the fact that you are there to respond to their needs.
All this being said, if you have a baby that cries a lot, or have ever experience a baby with colic, there will be times that you feel overwhelmed. This is normal. There will be times that it is best to set baby down in their crib, or another safe place, and walk away for a few minutes. Go somewhere and relax and regroup for five to fifteen minutes. Baby will cry, but he will be safe. This time will allow you to better meet babyís needs, even if the only thing you are doing is holding/walking/rocking baby while he cries. Even if it seems as though you are doing nothing with the colicky baby, by responding you are showing baby that you are there, that you love them, and that they are safe.