A lot happens right after birth, for you and your baby. They are suddenly ripped from the calm environment of the womb, which is a shock to your baby and can cause him or her to be restless.
First, your baby had to endure a lot during childbirth, even if it was a relatively easy delivery. Then, the baby’s organs have to start working, which can sometimes cause problems, like intestinal cramps, leading to the baby crying a lot. Moreover, it’s possible for the circadian rhythm to be disturbed for the parents, which makes the crying of the baby more difficult to deal with.
It is important that a physical cause is excluded first. Recent research shows that in infants who are hospitalized due to excessive crying, 97% of babies do not have physical issues (Nooitgedagt et al., 2005).
Why does a baby cry?
A child can cry for a number of reasons:
• the lack of rest and regularity;
• need for physical contact (touch, smell);
• excess of stimuli during the day;
• feeding problems: spitting, cramps, constipation, too much or too little food;
• infections: colds, ear infection, thrush, diaper rash, urinary tract infections, diarrhea (may also occur in hypersensitivity);
• Other causes: allergies, eczema, premature or dysmature born, birth trauma (e.g. clavicle fracture), central nervous system immaturity, hip dislocation, an abnormality in the spine, or respiratory distress.
You can only say your baby cries a lot when a child cries for more than three hours a day, for at least three days a week for at least three weeks. The normal duration of crying differs per age: in the postpartum period, the baby cries one to one and a half hours a day. Around the sixth week, crying reaches a peak of two to two and a half hours, and then the duration of crying goes down to an average of one and a half hours a day.
As a baby grows more and more tired, the sleep he or she gets is poorer, leading to more crying. And the crying, in turn, exhausts the baby. Where before the child was tired, now it becomes over-tired, and the parents will too. Within a few weeks after birth, you can get stuck in a vicious circle as a family.
What can you do?
• Provide calm and regularity;
• Don’t pass around your baby;
• Discuss with an obstetrician or the consultation office if feeding can be the cause, and maybe try hypoallergenic food;
• Do not forget the delivery; it’s possible that your child is suffering from something;
• Swaddle your baby, of course, in consultation with the consultation office;
• Ask for help! This can be of great support to you, it’s very hard to listen to a crying baby, and not know why it’s crying and how to fix it.
We would like to impress on you and your partner that you are not alone in this. Do you have questions or would you like advice? Do not hesitate to contact our practice, the consultation office or the general practitioner.