Babies cry, dogs bark, birds sing, bees buzz, it all makes the world go round. I knew before my daughter was born that she’d cry, it’s what babies do, it’s their main form of communication to inform you that they want or need something. It really got to me from day one when she did though, it did exactly what it was designed to do and pulled on mine and my husband’s heart strings.
It’s tough in the first days, you’re learning about her and what her cries mean and she’s learning that you will respond and give her what she needs and that she’s safe in this scary world outside of the womb. At this point I recommend for any new mums to read up on the fourth trimester. It’s normal for your baby to not want to be put down, to want to be close to you. Just got with it, you cannot spoil them with cuddles, have plenty of skin to skin and enjoy being needed by your baby. I barely put her down for the first 6 weeks and still don’t now!
I also became very self conscious of her crying in front of people, as if a baby shouldn’t and I’d be deemed a bad mother or as not coping if she did. People seemed to wonder why she cried and many made comments about how I should be bottle feeding her formula, giving her a dummy and other suggestions to stop her from being a “bad baby”. I was told that she was a baby that “created” with someone asking if I’d rocked her to sleep because she’d been creating (no I’d rocked her to sleep because she was tired) and another commenting, “oh is she still creating?” when she was only 7 weeks old. Well no she’s not “creating”, she’s crying to inform us that she’s tired, hungry, needs changing or her ultimate favourite, wants attention and playing with. She will keep crying like all babies do to inform me of her needs but it does get less as they grow older each week and learn to give you other signals for what they want. Baby’s cry, my baby cries for a reason because she wants something and at first this negative comments hurt me and I took them personally as though I had a “bad baby” but the truth is that the phrase “good baby” is wrong, there’s no such thing and wha criteria denotes a “good baby”.
My baby is generally easy to settle when she cries because she needs something and once she has it she’s fine, it’s only difficult when it’s something not that easy to sort like trapped wind or tiredness (she’s too nosey for her own good to give in to sleep!). As time goes on we’re learning more and more about her and she us, she’s learning new experiences and at first these take some getting used to and can unsettle her. Take for instance her first trip out in the peak, she cried most of the walk but at two weeks old only just out of the warm, close safety net of my womb, the open air prank felt odd! Now she loves a good walk and generally will happily sleep or gaze and gurgle and everything passing her by, in fact she cries if you stop!
At first I was embarrassed when out in the supermarket, cafe or shop and my baby cried. I felt all eyes were on me, rolling and sighing at the mum who couldn’t control her child. In reality, people either didn’t take notice and carried on about their business, or actually looked over and cooed at my baby but I was too worried that their opinions were negative to enjoy a proud mum moment.
So now nearly 2 months in, I’m not as self conscious of those moments when my baby cries because I know she’s a little human talking to me, she’s asking for me to help her and sometimes all that is, is a mummy cuddle or a burp or change of scenery from the living room to the kitchen. It’s just trial and error sometimes and as a breastfed baby that you cannot overfeed, I always have the fail safe booby comfort feed if I’m unable to suss out the problem.
I’ve heard about and been witness to babies who have been ill or had medical conditions that meant they cried an awful lot, does that make them “bad babies”? I think not, I think it makes them babies in pain or discomfort. I’ve been told about poorly babies, too poorly to cry properly, I was one of them, my mum informs me that as a baby I didn’t have the strength to cry so I also think myself lucky, my baby is here (some mum’s don’t have their baby) and my baby is well enough to cry and tell me what she needs but also well enough to be content and happy. Some mum’s long to hear their baby cry, some long to be able to make it stop like I can. They’re all just little humans with their own little human needs and little human feelings.
My advice is, don’t worry about your neighbours, the people at the table next to you in the cafe, the people at the bus stop or the chap in the waiting room, just focus on what your baby needs when they cry. In actual fact, the more you stay calm and forget worrying about the people around you the easier it is to settle your baby. Baby’s feed off your emotions and stress. So don’t worry, babies cry, dogs bark…they’re only communicating with you. Just try your best to comfort them and give them what they need, it’s all a learning curve and what works today may not tomorrow.