Cry, cry baby
Waaaah! Aaaaaah! No other sound on earth is as distressing as the sound of your baby's cry. In fact, research shows that it sets off a biological alarm in moms and dads, raising their blood pressure and increasing their heart rate, accompanied by the urge to pick up the baby.
Babies cry to express their physical needs — hunger, fatigue, a burp that needs to come up, a rashy bottom that needs to be changed — and emotional needs like fear, boredom, the need for cuddling. Crying is the only way young babies have to communicate.
That's why it's so important to respond when your baby cries — it shows her that her attempt to communicate has been successful. Don’t give a second thought to the idea that you’re “spoiling” her. Research has proven time and again that it’s impossible. You won't always know why your baby's crying, however, or how to help. Here are some tried-and-true soothing methods that will help you both through baby’s teary times.
A moms’ group can be a lifesaver
It’s a fact: finding other new parents to hang out with can make a huge difference in how happy you are during baby’s first year. Simply talking about your day-to-day routines and challenges, or knowing there’s someone to grab lunch or take a walk with (who will understand if you show up late, with baby barf on your shirt), is a great comfort. If you don’t know any new parents, try reconnecting with couples from your prenatal class, or meeting other parents through your local community centre or breastfeeding support group, or ask your hospital or birthing centre to refer you to a local parent support group.
Learn more about how to find a moms’ group (and why you’ll be glad you did), plus eight websites that will help you find other parents to meet up with in person.
Tips from the trenches
“I think a lot of men have the mentality that really little babies need mom, and hold back until the babies are more interactive. But now my husband wishes he’d spent more time with our son in the beginning.” – Becky, mom of one.
Did you know?
Your baby is a “top down” developer, meaning she develops her motor skills from her head down to her toes. First, she learns how to hold up her head, then to hold her back up to sit, then to hold her back and legs up to stand, and so on. You may see her unfolding her hands and taking random swipes with her arms now. That's because she also develops from her trunk out toward her limbs. First, she learns to use her arms, then her hands, and then her fingers. Learn more about how your child develops in the first year.