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Attachment Parenting

Why Babies Cry
From Our AP Forum Archives
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From lizzie ~ I'm interested to know everyone's thoughts on crying. Some sources say that if babies cry, their needs haven't been met and it's gotten out of hand, way past the more subtle forms of communicating needs. Other sources say that babies sometimes just need to cry to release stress, and that if they cry it out in your loving arms, then they'll be relaxed and happy the rest of the time.

What has your experience been with your children?

Also, has anyone read The Aware Baby? I'm reading it now and would love to hear some others' thoughts on it.

By the way, I don't have an answer. That's why I'm doing this poll!

I've been trying to let him cry out what seems to be overstimulation?type stress the past couple days, and he does in fact seem to cry less the rest of the day. But the whole cry?it?out factor, even if it's in my calm embrace, still is hard for me to do.

From kiki's_momma ~ I think babies probably cry for both reasons. Sometimes my daughter gets way overstimulated from the day's goings?on and seems to need to cry (i.e., isn't comforted by my holding her or trying to get her to relax and sleep) for a few minutes before she can calm down and sleep. OTOH, maybe if I had realized my daughter was getting too much stimulation earlier and gave her quiet breaks during the day, she wouldn't get to the point where she so was overstimulated she needed to cry. I doubt anyone really has the answer.

From Ursula ~ I think usually my DD cries because she needs something, which can even mean she needs me to help her calm down from being overstimulated. If she really needs to cry in my arms, she will, but I try to do what I can to calm her so that she doesn't cry. I have a couple of songs and a story that I know by heart, which almost are like mantras for her. They calm her when she is overstimulated. They help her focus.

Another thing I do is to take her diaper off and let her have "buns in the airtime." That's what we call it. I may play with her feet while she kicks, or I may leave her to herself, but only if this stops her from crying.

I imagine there are some babies who will just cry in your arms, but hopefully that is a last resort. I don't think they need crying time, per se.

From Laura Z ~ I don't think Christi has ever "just needed to cry". DH once suggested that I just liked to cry ? yeah right. Just like I always have a reason when I cry (hormones count), I know there is always a reason Christi is crying. I can't always figure out why she's upset (eg. "Grandma" had to tell me she's teething right now) and sometimes I can't fix the problem (eg. colic). I do always try to sooth her. We walk, talk, rock, dance, sit, stand, and, like Ursula said, naked time is a big hit.

One thing we discovered with Christi is that sometimes in the beginning she would get to cry and it almost seemed like she forgot why she was crying and couldn't stop. When we'd run out of things to try, we would lay her down on the bed and then immediately pick her back up. We "rescued" her and she stopped crying.

From Gayesy ~ I think babies cry when something feels wrong, whether it be something physical (eg. hunger, wind pain, teething) or something emotional (feeling scared, lonely, needing a hug, feeling overstimulated.). I think in any case, leaving them to cry alone would be unhelpful and unkind.

Sometimes no matter what you do, you can't "make it better," well, not completely. Thomas had such sever reflux that he spent a lot of time in the early months screaming. It still breaks my heart to think of it, and when he cried, I cried right along with him. What I did do though was to give the best comfort I possibly could, to try all sorts of different things to help ease his pain, and most of all to be there for him through it, holding him, telling him I love him. Providing whatever comfort I could.

Even when babies are exhausted and "wired" I think that parents can still be with them and help them settle. A sling can be great for this, as can relaxing music, rhythmical movement (not too boisterous, but rather very slow, monotonous rocking etc).

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From katgirl67 ~ Oh, Gayesy, I totally know what you mean about crying along with Thomas. We had a really rough day around here ?? Max projectile vomited around noon and would not stop screaming/crying for about an hour. I was crying along with him too. We think he has a tummy bug and that's why he cried for so long. He is sleeping now peacefully, thank God.

I agree that babies cry when something doesn't feel right ?? pain, separation anxiety, and tiredness. Crying can be good if it is listened to. Sometimes we all need a good cry to relieve stress. (I know I do, at least.)

From twokats ~ I figure that sometimes I'm in a bad/sad mood and need to cry to feel better . . . why can't a baby? He doesn't usually cry for no reason, but there has been a day or two when he just cried inexplicably. Just because I can't determine the reason doesn't mean that there isn't one. Those days I just held him until he'd cried it off, and then he was fine. Even so??it breaks my heart when he cries, especially when he has tears!!

From littlebit ~ I think of crying as baby's way of talking and just like adults they have different levels of communication. For example, Shea will whine in his sleep to tell me he is hungry or needs help getting back to sleep. It's a quiet whimper, just like I sometimes do to DH when I've had a rough day. Then he has his needy cry, he's awake and trying to have a conversation with me if I'm not listening. Sort of a "hey, are you listening to me?" thing that I do with DH sometimes.

And then there is his real cry, out of frustration or anger or pain. Tears, sobs, etc. just like my cry to DH when I was 8 months pregnant and full of hormones and just HAD to cry about the cat knocking over the vase. Shea has only used this cry a few times, once when he was about 2 months and we couldn't figure out that he was tired and we overstimulated him to the point of screaming. The other times he cries like this when he's away from me and with DH. For some reason, he won't fall asleep with DH.

It's funny that you post this question because DH's co?worker and his wife just had a baby a few weeks ago. The co?worker asks my DH today "How did you get through the crying?" and DH said, "I don't remember him crying."

From Toriani ~ As the mother of another severe refluxer, we had the screaming thing also . . . my daughter started screaming on day 2! It is just heartbreaking, and top that off with a great case of PND, What a mess!! Dh would come home from work and find me sitting on the couch howling, and dd in my arms howling... what a great way to finish the day Luckily, he is a great husband, and a fabulous dad, and he would take dd from me and give me some time alone!!

I think it is quite healthy for babies to cry . . . otherwise how do they tell us it is too hot, too cold; they are hungry, lonely or bored. I think it is a societal fallacy that a 'good' baby never cries. And I think that this myth is doing more harm than good by being perpetuated. Now that dd is older, I do think that sometimes she needs to cry to let out her frustrations. If she is having a particularly bad day, she has a good howl, and it seems to give her some release. I don't try to distract her, but neither do I encourage her. I just hold her quietly until she has finished, then we do something different.

From firsttimer ~ I guess, I try to "read" Alaina before she cries. I don't believe crying is good for anything other than alerting me. Once that happens I soothe her. I was just reading that crying decreases blood flow and oxygen levels. Even if she is crying to "let it out" which she doesn't really do, she's in my arms. Maybe that happens when their older, I don't know.

About the reflux, ITA. My friend's baby had reflux and she howled and it was really hard on her mother to not be able to make it better. Brycen cried tons. We wonder now if he was in a lot of pain. Anyway, DH and I are quick to respond to Alaina's cries. Is she spoiled? You bet ya. Do I care? Not in the least. If I cry DH holds me, so I must be spoiled too!!!!! Some say I will regret it when she's older, I guess I'll deal with that then.

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