It’s often hard to identify if your infant’s fussiness is a sign of something bigger or just general baby fussiness.
All babies are fussy and cry. It’s a normal part of parent life. This is the main way that babies communicate their needs. Typically, babies cry because they have a soiled diaper, are tired, or hungry. But, babies also cry because they want to be held and snuggled, are overstimulated, or for no particular reason at all! As parents and caregivers it is often stressful to hear your baby crying and soothing them becomes more of a need than a want. Your baby is new to this world. They are learning their surroundings, and you are learning them too. Just like babies vary in weight and height, they vary in the amount that they cry. Babies are all different just like you and me.
As you and your baby get to know each other, you will start to learn the differences in your baby’s cries. From a cry of “I’m hungry” to “I’m awake and ready to play,” you’ll learn how to respond to your baby’s cries appropriately. According to Stanford Children’s Health, “babies don’t seem to know that they are separate individuals from their mothers until about 6 months of age.” But don’t let that stop you from creating a good routine in their daily life!
Is Your Experience Normal?
You might be wondering if the amount of time your baby spends crying is normal. While incredibly frustrating and difficult for parents, fussiness and even inconsolable crying for up to 5 hours are all considered normal! Studies show that crying during your baby’s first months of life follows a certain pattern known as a crying curve. This pattern shows that infant crying increases from 2 weeks, peaks at 2 months and then tends to decrease over the 3-6 month period. Some parents don’t notice this curve at all, and some have extreme, inconsolable crying.
While crying to express needs, wants and fussiness in general comes with the territory, some babies, research says about 10%, develop inconsolable, shrieking like crying for at least three hours a day, at least three days a week, for at least three weeks, that can be diagnosed as colic.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome has adopted the term “Period of PURPLE Crying” to identify some of the features that have been associated with colic.
Soothing A Fussy Baby vs Treating A Colic Baby
Soothing remedies and recommendations have been incredibly helpful in babies that are fussy or cry, but have not been shown to be effective when you have a baby who is exhibiting inconsolable crying. As with most things baby, you can still try them, but on average they haven’t provided long term relief.
New research on probiotics is promising when it comes to colic diagnosed babies or anyone dealing with extreme fussiness. There are studies dating back to 2013 that show significant improvement in crying times from specific probiotic strains tested in breastfed babies. More recent data is coming out showing similar results in formula fed babies being treated with specific strains of probiotics as well.
When it comes to infants, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus microbiota are the two strains that have been linked with crying and fussing in early infancy. Second to Mom™ Colic Relief Plus™ infant probiotic drops use these specific strains and they have been proven to reduce crying by 60% after just 7 days of use.