Your baby cries a lot because he has a lot to say and crying is one of the few ways a baby has to express himself. Newborns spend anywhere from one to four hours crying each day.
As a parent, you’d love to figure out what your baby is trying to say with each cry, but this is not always easy. He may be telling you he is wet, hungry, tired, cold or just plain bored. Sometimes your baby is expressing more than one sensation or emotion; other times, he may cry for no apparent reason. Amazingly, with time, you will be able to distinguish your baby’s cries by how they sound. But remember that every baby periodically has crying episodes that defy simple explanation.
Changing formula may help some babies who have periods of gassiness or fussiness caused by indigestion. But it is not likely to help colic, those prolonged periods of fierce crying or screaming that occur for no apparent reason in about one of every five healthy babies. Many theories about colic have been suggested, but no definite cause has been identified.
Colic usually starts before 6 weeks of age and lets up when the baby is around 3 months old. An infant with colic typically cries for several hours each day (usually in late afternoon or early evening), while pulling up his legs, bunching his fists and/or grimacing. He often swallows air when crying, which leads to more gas and discomfort.
When a baby is otherwise well and happy during the rest of the day, there is usually no cause for concern. However, contact your infant’s doctor, if you’re not sure, or if your baby is having these crying episodes, but is older than 3 or 4 months of age. Once the doctor suggests it may be colic, try some of the soothing and distracting techniques recommended for colic.
Most newborns have between three to five stools each day. Breast-fed infants tend to have even more stools. By 1 month of age, your baby may still be having up to three to five bowel movements daily, usually right after feedings. On the other hand, there are some babies who may go as long as three or four days between bowel movements. This pattern is fairly common and not unhealthy. If the time between bowel movements is longer than three or four days, or if your baby seems very uncomfortable, talk with your baby’s pediatrician.
Move your baby out of his bassinet or cradle when it is no longer safe or comfortable for him.
Some parents prefer to use a bassinet or cradle rather than a regular crib for their newborn’s first couple months of life. Bassinets and cradles have the advantage of holding the baby in a secure, smaller space, which may seem more comforting for some newborns. In addition, bassinets are portable, so they can fit in parents’ bedrooms for convenient “middle-of-the-night” feedings.
However, bassinets are designed for newborns, who are small and don’t move around much while sleeping or awake. Babies tend to quickly outgrow their bassinets as they get bigger and begin moving around. If your bassinet rocks or is on wheels, it may seem unsteady when your baby starts rolling over. Once your baby begins to sit up without your help, it’s time to move him into a regular crib. There may also be a specific weight limit for your baby, above which the bassinet is not considered safe.