Most babies cry a lot from two weeks to two months of age. Some cry more than others and some cry longer than others. For many new parents, crying is one of the most stressful parts of coping with a newborn. In some cases, extreme stress and a temporary lapse of emotional control can lead to actions that result in abusive head trauma. The most common trigger for abusive head trauma is simply a crying baby.
Frequently, new parents can seek out social supports and external help. Here are a few suggestions:
- Try all the soothing tricks: Crying babies want to be soothed. You may need to try a few things again and again before they calm. Try holding them, feeding them, gently rocking them, or singing to them. If these don’t work, but the baby down and take a break. Be sure your baby is in a safe sleep environment. While some babies cry for a long time, many parents are surprised at how rapidly babies will cry themselves to sleep.
- Pay attention to your own needs: The challenges of new mothers can certainly feel overwhelming sometimes. Rest as much as you can and try sleeping when the baby does. Find time for yourself when your partner or other caring adult watches the baby. Put on your headphones, have a cup of tea, give a friend or relative a call, or just relax.
- Connect with others: Social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak can be isolating. Try video chats or social media to stay in touch. Imagine you are with the young parent, they are crying on your shoulder, and you are offering reassurance without any words. Keeping this image in mind can help you provide the social support that all new parents need.
- Seek help: Depression is the most common mental illness. If you had a history of depression before your baby was born, you may be at higher risk for postpartum depression. Speak with your provider sooner rather than later to help foresee this potential condition. Many mental health providers are now set up for telehealth visits and may be able to help you by video or phone.
- Reach out: This is the time to reach out. Think about ways you can help.
- Help a co-worker out: If you are a co-worker of a parent returning to work) after parental leave, be kind and supportive.
- Find a forum: New mothers may find it helpful to discuss their experiences with other new mothers. In addition to seeking help from neighbors, relatives, friends, and medical professionals, look for discussion forums and communities of mothers dedicated to sharing problems and tips online.
- Your pediatrician is always there to help you: Never hesitate to call for advice. Your pediatrician is an excellent resource for understanding your baby and your own needs, including those related to postpartum depression. Call them anytime if you have questions or you are experiencing something that you can’t handle anymore.