Tricks to reduce infant crying? I dare you to find a new parent who wouldn't kill for the secret, and there must be hundreds of blog posts and articles claiming to have the solution. The perfect schedule, an elimination diet, the right kind of bouncy chair, medication... the possibilities are endless right?! While there are some situations when babies are crying out for medical help, it's not the norm. Babies cry when they need something; so what do they really need? Is there a magical formula somewhere that stops babies from crying? I think there is, but it’s much simpler than it seems and it’s hidden in a pretty obvious yet difficult to find place…in the hearts of parents.
As new parents it’s so easy to get caught up in finding the “right” way. We want to do everything right for our perfect new being and while it’s true that there is a right way for each baby and parent unit, the same recipe does not work for everyone. I also can’t help thinking that maybe these days we’re bombarded with information overload. We have access to so many ideas that our own internal judgement can be clouded.
With a quick google search “how to help my baby cry less” and you’ll see there are many potential solutions but maybe the answer to this seemingly age old question isn't actually so secret or even old because not long ago it was just… the way. And now with all our intricate solutions and plans no one believes that anything so simple could possibly work. With a billion dollar industry of all kinds of seemingly necessary baby products, the simple secrets have been slowly pushed into the recesses of our minds where they can only be found by listening to our primal mammalian instincts.
What do we find when we listen then? Connection. A baby’s infancy is sometimes called the fourth trimester, and for a very good reason; because for nine months they have grown inside their mothers with their every need attended to. They were always held close. They were never hungry, or cold, and all they heard was rhythmic, muted sounds. It doesn't make any sense that the moment babies are born that they’re done with all of that. Yes, they’re ready to be born but they still need very much to be babied. Of course they cry! When they are surrounded with light, sound, new feelings and sensations every moment. What they need most can’t be bought or scheduled. They just need comfort, reassurance that the safe warm place they knew is kind of still there. They need responsive parents, maybe not the kind that wants to try every new fad and device to stop their baby from crying, maybe just to be held close and safe in a quiet place to settle down and center. Sometimes the one thing we parents need to remember in this time of excess is to keep it simple. Forget everything else, pick up your baby and just hold her, nothing else but listening to your heart and hers.
Not the friend who claims her baby has slept through the night since birth and never cries.
Not the parenting guru on Facebook that sells the perfect schedule for a happy baby.
Not the family member who suggests (with a good heart) that your baby needs some tough love.
Dig deep, listen, and remember that when your baby cries it doesn't always mean something concrete, something with an exact solution. Sometimes it just means than she needs a response, she needs you because you are all she has.