They (whoever “they” are) say that “babies just cry.”
I say: hogwash.
Babies “just cry” the same way you “just cry”, if you get my drift. A foolish observer might think you’re just crying -- but you know there’s no such thing as “just crying”; there’s always a reason, at trigger.
Do babies come with a manual? Well, maybe not.
Does every mother always know what to do when her baby’s crying? No, not necessarily.
But just because other mothers or professionals may not know why this baby is crying, that doesn’t mean that babies “just cry”.
So if you’ve been told that your baby is crying because “babies just cry”, here are three things you need to know:
There has to be a reason
The first thing you need to know is that your baby is not an actor.
He can’t fake things, and simply doesn’t know how to show anything other than exactly what he is feeling.
And, in that first year or so, there isn’t really much your baby can do to communicate what he’s feeling.
In the beginning, his vocabulary is limited to crying (which, no doesn’t always mean he’s hungry!). He gets a little older, and he can tell you when he’s HAPPY, too: he’ll start smiling, laughing, gurgling and cooing.
But still - he can’t fake it. If he’s happy, he’ll show you happiness. If he’s content he’ll show content. And if he’s upset, then he’ll let you know that he’s upset.
And that equation works the other way around, too: if he’s SHOWING discomfort, that means he IS uncomfortable. If he’s SHOWING that he’s upset, that means that he’s actually upset.
This is the main reason I don’t believe in colic or PURPLE Crying; they both assume that even though baby is crying hysterically, that “nothing is wrong.”
If there was actually nothing wrong, then your baby wouldn’t be acting like something was wrong.
So the first thing that you need to know about your baby crying is: If your baby is crying, that means there’s something wrong.
“Conventional knowledge” isn’t always right
You know those things that “everyone knows” but are actually false?
There’re lots of those on the topic of caring for babies and toddlers (as well as many other topics, but that’s not for here and now).
Everyone knows that if a baby is tired they’ll just fall asleep.
Everyone knows that you shouldn’t spoil your baby by only putting them to sleep in a dark room, or by holding them all the time.
Everyone knows that tongue tie is only a problem if your breastfeeding baby isn’t gaining weight.
But all of those “everyone knows”es? They’re actually not true. (Yes, really. We can talk more about some of them a different time, though).
When it comes to soothing your crying baby, or figuring out what’s at the root of the crying, this rule applies as well: just because “everyone knows” it, that doesn’t mean it’s actually true.
And, while many areas of mothering are intuitive (no one has to teach you how to love your baby to bits, right?), there are so many others that are just not. There are so many aspects of mothering that we didn’t learn from our mothers and sisters because they just don’t know them, and we don’t know them intuitively either.
Conventional knowledge is really just cultural; it is whatever our societal norms are in any given area.
And that means that, like any societal norm, that doesn’t mean it’s actually true or right.
So what does that mean for you?
That means: be open to exploring new ideas, hearing new things.
That means that just because something worked for your friend, sister, cousin, mother doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. And just because someone else did ab and c with her baby and it turned out great doesn’t mean that that’s the overarching ideal, or that it has anything to do with the reality of your baby.
That means that: If your baby is crying and all of the “conventional knowledge” isn’t helping your and your baby’s situation, remember that there are other (perhaps less “conventional”) ways of looking at and solving the situation.
Sleep deprivation makes everything worse
Everything: stubbing your toe, being sick, being exposed to extreme stimulation, not being able to reach something you want to reach.
And, it makes everything worse for everyone - you, your grandma, your neighbor and, yes, your baby.
In my work families and babies in the last four years, I’ve seen, time and time again, how kvetchy, uncomfortable, fussy and colicky babies are when they are sleep deprived. Simply giving them the space to get the sleep they need often “cures” a whole host of perceived problems like teething, colic, reflux and more.
But in addition to the discomfort that comes from the sleep deprivation itself, that sleep deprivation makes any other discomfort that your baby may be feeling that much worse.
That means that if your baby is teething, sleep deprivation will make it more likely that it’ll hurt. Or if your baby does truly have reflux, sleep deprivation will exacerbate the discomfort -- as well as the reflux itself. If your baby is sick, sleep deprivation will make it harder for him to heal, and will also make him more uncomfortable on top of the fever, ear infection, etc.
So the third thing you need to know if your baby is crying is: The crying may or may not be exclusively from sleep deprivation, but that sleep deprivation is definitely making him more uncomfortable (and therefore cry more) than he would be otherwise!
And that’s exactly why I’ve created KinderWink Academy and am offering the KWA VIP Group option: to give you the opportunity to understand why your baby’s crying and what to do about it, so you can be sure that your baby will be as calm, comfortable and well rested as possible (and as she needs and to be!) Calm baby, calm mommy, calm home.
Join the KWA VIP Wait list to be the first to know when the doors to the VIP Group open up by signing up below!