All babies cry, but some cry more than others. They cry when they're hungry, bored, uncomfortable, frightened. They also cry when they need a diaper changed, hear a loud noise, meet a new person—or for no apparent reason. Crying is one of the few ways your baby can communicate with you.
His crying is no reflection on your parenting. But it can be very frustrating when you baby cries and, despite your best efforts, doesn't stop. You can try to soothe a crying baby by feeding him, changing his diaper, swaddling, dimming the lights, rocking, singing and walking.
Some studies show that premature babies are more likely than term babies to be fussy. They may be harder to soothe, cry often, and have irregular eating and sleeping patterns. But each child is different, so this may or may not apply to your baby.
If your baby is fussy, it may be comforting to know that you are not alone. Your baby will soon outgrow this difficult phase.
Some babies who have been in the NICU have trouble adjusting to the quiet of home. Your baby may sleep better with some background music or a low level of noise.
As you get to know your baby, you'll learn how much crying is normal for him and what you can do to soothe him. If your baby cries longer than usual, and nothing you do soothes him, call your baby's health care provider to see if there is a medical reason.
If your baby won't stop crying, try the following:
If you have a fussy baby or a baby who cries a lot, choose your baby-sitters carefully. Find people:
Tell anyone who cares for your baby to never, ever shake a baby.
See also: Share your story
Chronological age is the age of a baby from the day of birth. Adjusted age is the age of the baby based on his due date. To calculate adjusted age, take your baby's chronological age (for example, 20 weeks) and subtract the number of weeks premature the baby was (6 weeks). This baby's adjusted age (20 - 6) is 14 weeks. Health care providers may use this age when they evaluate the baby's growth and development. Most premature babies catch up to their peers developmentally in 2 to 3 years. After that, differences in size or development are most likely due to individual differences, rather than to premature birth. Some very small babies take longer to catch up.
Babies who've been in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) are often at higher risk of getting an infection than other babies. Be careful where you take the baby and who comes to visit her. But you don't need to stay in your house alone for the first months after your baby comes home.
If you do have visitors, make sure they wash their hands before touching the baby. Also, don't let adults or children who are sick, have a fever or have been exposed to an illness near her. Lastly, ask visitors not to smoke in your house.
Some babies leave the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) just fine while others may have developmental delays. The earlier these delays are identified and treated, the more likely your baby will be able to reach his potential later in life. Most NICU babies will be evaluated before leaving the NICU to see their strengths and any areas that can be improved. If you think your baby has developmental delays, talk to his health care provider about where to find early intervention services. Contact state and local programs for help.