Difficult Baby Behaviour
Behaviour concerns can crop up at any age, for a variety of reasons. During the first few months, the most common concerns have to do with crying and waking up during the night.
After this time, up through the first year of life, other concerns such as clinging, colic, bedtime struggles, fear, and rocking motions can occur.
Regardless of when the issues begin, it is important to know that you can help your child in a constructive way, modify the behaviour concern, and get on with living a happy life with your bundle of joy.
The most commonly reported behaviour concern up to about twelve months of age is crying and fussing. Even happy, healthy babies will often have daily crying fits that seem to have no reason. A two week old baby usually cries for a total of one to two hours daily. By the age of six weeks, crying tops out at about three hours daily. Over time, the crying starts to diminish, reducing to about one hour each day by the age of three months.
Fussing is a type of crying that often starts very abruptly and can be very intense. This often is reported during evening or nighttime, and can be difficult to soothe.
It is recommended that parents always respond to their baby’s cry. You should never worry that you are spoiling your baby by responding, as babies need to know they can trust you to be there to comfort them, whether the crying is because something is wrong or the baby is just fussy. Babies who get more attention tend to cry less overall.
As your baby continues to age, you should work at teaching him or her to self soothe. If you find that the calming routine that once used to work to soothe your baby is no longer working, try putting your baby down in a safe location, such as the crib, before attempting to calm him or her again. Sometimes allowing the baby to cry for a short period of time helps to rid them of extra energy that may be stored up, which often helps to reduce anxiety and tension.
If your baby is acting out more at night, and you are up with him or her during this time, try to get as much rest as you can during the day. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and be prepared for the possibility that your evening will be difficult. As frustrating as it can be dealing with a crying baby that does not seem to be able to be calmed by anything, you should try to remain calm yourself. If you get upset, it will only exacerbate the situation.
To help with this common behaviour concern, try handling your baby and cuddling more both during fussy and calm times. Always respond promptly when your baby cries, and promote self soothing methods, such as placing the baby in his or her crib, or offering a pacifier. Be aware of possible issues that may be triggering the behaviour such as a soiled nappy, or hunger pangs.
Remember, this is your baby’s way of communicating, so be alert, be attentive, and be willing to just hold your baby and ride the behaviour out if necessary.