Updated: Jul 7
What’s a normal amount of crying for my baby to do?
This is almost an impossible question to answer because all babies are so different. The important thing to remember is crying is your baby communicating with you, not to complain or upset you but just to let you know something.
It’s completely normal to not know what it is your baby is trying to say, the idea that we will automatically instinctively know how to care for our baby is a myth. Learning to parent is very often about going through the list of possible reasons your baby might be crying, hungry, tired, need nappy changing, need to burp, need a cuddle, need to pass wind, need to poop, etc, etc.
As with everything remember it’s normal and fine to need and ask for help. Back to that list of people who will support in a positive way. People who you can trust when they say “yes that’s normal” or “maybe get a medical opinion at this point” and who can say either of those things and not make it sound like they think you should already know. This
This brings us to another phrase we would like to have banned. You are not and never could be “making a rod for your own back” by responding to your baby. You can not spoil a baby with love. Please avoid asking the advice of anyone who thinks this is an okay thing to say to a new parent. If holding your baby is what stops them from crying then you are not doing yourself or them any harm by holding them. If you have a velcro baby who needs to be held all the time you may need some strategies to allow you to also have your needs for space and peace and simply to take a shower met too but you do not have to put them down or let them cry in order to "make" them be a "good" baby. A baby who needs to be held is still a good baby.
If you would like more information on this normal newborn behaviour of always wanting to be held check out information about the fourth trimester. One place to start is this article.
You might be interested to know that research suggests babies who are carried cry less. Using a sling to keep your baby close has lots of other benefits too, including free hands for optimal cake eating or washing up (whatever floats your boat).
This is a good article to read to start learning more about how and why carrying may help you especially if your baby seems to cry a lot.
Some babies seem to cry a lot and sometimes they may have a time of day when they just can't seem to settle, often late afternoon. If there's no particular reason a baby seems to be crying then it's sometimes referred to as colic. There are some details about what colic is and what can help on the NHS website. One of the most important things, when you have a baby with colic, is the support of other parents who know how you feel. Please come along to a meet-up or join our Facebook group and reach out if you find yourself struggling. Also, remember you can always talk to your midwife or health visitor about any concerns you might have.