Magazine article Working Mother

If She Cries and Cries

Magazine article Working Mother

If She Cries and Cries

Article excerpt

Babies cry. But if it seems that's all your infant does, yet you just can't calm her down, you may feel distressed, exhausted, even demoralized. How are you supposed to feel okay about going back to work once maternity leave is over?

"Any mom whose baby constantly cries feels vulnerable," says Linda Gilkerson, PhD, director of the Fussy Baby Network (www.fussybabynetwork.org, 888-431-BABY) and a professor at Erikson Institute, a graduate school of child development in Chicago. But don't feel it's your fault. "Babies can cry and fuss despite excellent parenting." Why? Generally it's attributed to colic-unexplained crying in a healthy baby that goes on for more than three hours a day, three or more days a week for longer than three weeks. About one in five babies experiences colic, which is normal for that baby but feels far from normal for the parent. (After all, your neighbor's baby doesn't cry all the time.)

Occasionally, an infant's constant crying is allergy- or digestion-related. So check with your pediatrician if your baby won't calm down. But mostly there's no clear reason for colic, which usually subsides around age 3 months. If it goes on much longer, your pediatrician can screen for developmental concerns and suggest intervention.

In the meantime, share your feelings and frustrations with your partner, your mom or a good friend. "You don't need to hide or go it alone or feel like you're not a good mom," says Dr. Gilkerson. Also, watch your baby's day to see when she's happiest and when she's most distressed, andnoticewhenjOM'remost distressed and tired. "At the times when you're both the most challenged, enlist someone to help if you can, or at least prepare yourself."

Dr. Gilkerson suggests saying to yourself, Tm going to have my glass of water ready for me, and I'm going to wrap the baby tighuy in her blanket and walk around with her on my shoulder. …

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