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 be 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 is perfectly okay to ask family members or friends to take the load off you.

Many newborn babies sleep a lot and the expected amount of noise and crying may not yet occur. During the first two weeks, babies themselves don’t even know what the matter is, 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 to form. 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 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 is the many new kinds of sensory input that the baby must now process. When they are around 16 weeks 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.

Your baby will cry out if something is wrong. Therefore, you should always be alert when your baby calls for your attention. 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 are having trouble falling asleep. Maybe they just want 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 it is 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.

It may be that you just don't know what to do any more. For example, if your child is an especially frequent crier. A child who cries for more than three hours a day at least three days a week is called an ‘excessive crier’ in Germany. You may be on the verge of shaking or roughly handling the baby out of desperation. Many parents get to this point, but you absolutely cannot do that. Even slight shaking can cause life-threatening injuries to the child. If you are in such a stressful situation, you should contact what’s known in Germany as a ‘crying clinic’ or other counseling center. You can search the Internet at for outpatient crying clinics in your area. They often belong to children's hospitals. If you are in an urgent crisis with a crying infant, you can also get advice by calling the toll-free number 0800 7100900, but only in German. It is staffed every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7pm to 10pm. During the day, the hotline Die Nummer gegen Kummer for parents in dire straights with crying children is there for you at the toll-free number 0800 1110550. If you need more help, the Early Help Network is also a good place to go. They will put you in touch with suitable support services in your area. You definitely don't have to be ashamed of seeking help. On the contrary, you are showing that you care about your child's well-being.