Home after the NICU
Crying and fussiness
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
If your baby won't stop crying, try the following:
- Check to make sure he isn't hungry.
- Check to make sure he has a clean diaper. If not, change it.
- Look for signs of illness or pain. Examples: Fever over 100.4 degrees, swollen gums or an ear infection.
- Rock the baby, or walk with him. But if you begin to feel stressed, put him down right away.
- Sing or talk to the baby.
- Offer him a pacifier or a toy.
- Take him for a ride in a stroller.
- Swaddle the baby snuggly in a blanket.
- Turn on the stereo or TV. Be sure the sound is low and soothing.
- Run the vacuum cleaner, put on the clothes dryer, or run water in the bathtub or sink. Some babies like these rhythmic noises.
- Hold the baby close to your body. Breathe calmly and slowly.
- Call a friend or relative. Ask them to care for your baby while you take a break.
- If nothing else works, put the baby in his crib on his back, close the door and check on him in 10 minutes.
Choosing a baby-sitter
If you have a fussy baby or a baby who cries a lot, choose your baby-sitters carefully. Find people:
- Who have lots of experience with small babies
- Who have spent time with crying or fussy children
- If you are not sure that the person has the patience and maturity to care for a crying baby, do not leave your child alone with her.
Tell anyone who cares for your baby to never, ever shake a baby.
See also: Share your storyAugust 2009