The first weeks and months with a new baby are a beautiful but exhausting time for most parents. A baby's frequent crying or screaming can become a challenge. Maybe you're irritated because you don't understand what your baby needs? Remember that you are just getting to know each other! You will learn over time what your baby wants and how to comfort them. The baby will also gradually learn to self-soothe. It's okay to admit that sometimes the baby's loud screaming and crying gets on your nerves. You're not alone in feeling this way. It's perfectly fine to ask relatives or friends to help you.
Many newborn babies sleep a lot and the expected amount of noise and crying may not yet occur. During the first two after birth, babies themselves don’t even know what is wrong with them, and will simply cry because ‘something’ is wrong. You can always comfort your infant by letting them smell and feel your body. You have been familiar to your baby for many months, while the world around them is still strange and disturbing. The first weeks together are particularly important for the bond between mother and child. So you really can't cuddle with your baby enough. The other parent or other close caregivers should also take this opportunity to build a close relationship with the baby. Babies are happy to receive lots of loving attention.
Starting in the third week after birth, many infants cry out more frequently and with a more powerful voice. At that point, babies cry mainly in the late afternoon and evening hours. One reason for this restlessness may be that your baby is now learning to distinguish day from night and to adjust their sleep behaviour. This is a challenge for the baby. Another reason for crying are the many new sensory inputs that the child must now process. When they are around 16 week old, most babies settle down again bit by bit. But if your baby is not yet at that point, that does not mean that you have done anything wrong.
The baby will cry out if something is wrong. Therefore, you should always be alert when your baby draws attention to itself. Sometimes the source of your baby’s complaints will be obvious at first sight. Maybe a full diaper is to blame or perhaps the baby is hungry. You can also check the room temperature and see whether they’re wrapped up warmly enough. But it is not always clear what a baby needs right now. Maybe they need rest, but is having trouble falling asleep. Maybe it just wants to be near you. Trust your gut. If you have the impression that the baby might be ill, be sure to talk to a paediatrician or your midwife.
There are many ways to soothe a crying baby. You should give yourself time to find out what can help. Perhaps the baby won’t respond to gentle words or a lullaby just yet. However, over time your baby may come to enjoy this kind of attention. You can also massage your baby. You can rock your baby in your arms or carry them around in a sling. It is even important to give your baby attention while they lie contentedly in their crib. Otherwise they will learn that you only give affection when they scream. Please remember to take care of yourself too. If you feel like you're reaching your limit, take a breath. Put your baby down in a safe place, go to another room and take a breath. If possible, ask your relatives or friends for support. It is very important that you do not shake babies out of desperation or handle them roughly. Babies can be fatally injured this way.
You may just feel at a loss sometimes. For example, if your baby is what’s known in Germany as an ‘’. In Germany, this is the term used to describe a baby who cries for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week. If you are in this or a similar situation, you should contact or other counselling centres. The Early Help Network (Netzwerk der Frühen Hilfen) is always a good place to go if you need help. They will put you in touch with the right people and support services in the area where you live. You definitely don't have to be ashamed for needing help. When you seek help, you're not just acting on your own behalf. You are also taking care of your child's welfare.