To the Mom With a Baby Who Cries All Day…

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To the Mom with a Baby Who cries All Day. I get it. I've been there before. I'm there again.

I get it. I’ve been there before. I’m there again. You waited 9 months for this miracle. You might have fought hard battles to get pregnant, or to just stay pregnant. Your birth might have been difficult, but it was all worth it to have this beautiful baby lying in your arms.

Life was bliss. A baby to snuggle and love on.

Until the crying started. It might be from an allergy, colic, teething, reflux, or just a fussy baby that can’t be diagnosed. Whatever the cause, the crying causes distress to the entire family. But for mom, it can cause a lot of mommy guilt.

You might be a first time mom. Or you might be an experienced mom of 4. It really doesn’t matter. Mommy guilt can come because you can’t fix the problem. The crying continues. Some babies cry even when you hold them, others cry all day long unless you hold them.

I’m currently a mom of six children, homeschooling, running a business and this blog, and I’ve been given a baby who often cries if I am not holding her. Her siblings are seldom good enough, and sometimes daddy isn’t either.

The exersaucer sits in the corner of the room, mocking me because I know it doesn’t amuse her. Rocking her is a joke, the only thing that works is standing up and holding her, so I thank the Lord for my Tula baby carrier, and the fact that she does actually nap in her crib. Being out in public seems to distract her more, so people seldom see what she really is like here at home.
The Tula Baby Carrier is my favorite baby carrier ever! I love how comfortable it is to hold my baby in it!

I worked extra hard to get this baby here. She is the sweetest thing, giving me lots of smiles and giggles, but there are times I’m just so exhausted from being up half the night with her that I complain about how much work she is. Then the guilt comes on. Thick and hard. I can’t believe I complained about my precious baby.

You know what? A fussy baby IS a lot of work! It’s overwhelming and stressful when you have been given a not so calm baby. We moms worry about sharing the struggle, because we don’t want people to think we don’t want our baby. Especially in a society that does not value children like they should.

Do you have a fussy baby? Here are some tips to help you get through this season of life!

A fussy baby is not a bad baby. When people ask you if your baby is good, it’s not like that child is choosing to be that way. You love your fussy baby just as much as that baby who was practically perfect.

So how do you survive this season? Remember that it’s just that, a season of life that will pass. The teeth will eventually come in, the colic will go away. Here are some ways I survive though.

1. Sleep in later than normal. Take a nap if at all possible. Don’t feel guilty over this! You can only survive so long on a few hours of sleep each night. The other night I was up until 2:00 AM with my baby, and I just couldn’t get up at the normal time. I woke up several times after that to nurse, and finally slept in until 9:00 AM. I was finally dressed at 11:00 AM.

Is that normal life?

No.

Should I feel guilty over days like that?

Not really.

It can be frustrating, but it’s totally out of my control.

I will say, I don’t sleep in every day. There are many days I get up even though I’m tired and get going on the day. However on days when I’m up so late with my baby, I do sleep in.

2. Cry a little. Cry a lot. Just release some stress though tears if needed. Hormones don’t go away just because the baby comes. If I’m super tired and getting stressed (normally around dinner time!), sometimes I do just cry for a few minutes and then pull myself out of it and go on my day. Again, it’s not every day, but there is no shame in a few tears.

3. Ask for help. This isn’t always possible, but see if your husband can hold the baby so you can have at least 10 minutes alone in your room. When he is home on the weekends, he should get an idea of how difficult your days really are. Call or text your husband, mom, or friend when you need a pick me up. Consider hiring someone to clean your house if you are extremely overwhelmed and behind on things.

4. Pray during the low moments in the day. This is not the time in your life to expect an amazing study time at a scheduled point in your day with the Lord. However cry to the Lord for help, put the scriptures on an App on your phone, and go to church! I skipped Wednesday evening church recently because I had been up until 2:00 AM with her for days in a row, and physically couldn’t keep going on. I normally am encouraged to press on by attending church, and you need the fellowship of others!
Fussy babies can be a lot of work, but oh what a sweet blessing they still are!

5. Realize that parenting your other children might look a little different. Some days I’m the mom that has it all together and we are on a great homeschool schedule. Other days…I’m just going to say it because I think every mom should understand. My children can get by with attitudes I don’t normally allow because I’m distracted by a crying baby, or else I’m so exhausted I can’t think to deal with it. Yes, it’s discouraging to know you aren’t doing the absolute best job as a mother, but God gives grace for these seasons!

6. Sing to your baby! Sometimes if my baby is crying a lot while I change her diaper, I’ll just start singing her hymns. Honestly it hasn’t seemed to calm her down so far, but it calms me down!

7. There are lots of natural things you could try, but I really hesitate to suggest very much here because we are talking about such a young child. If it’s a serious problem like reflux or allergy, find a good doctor to help! For teething, I really like this teething oil from Herbs for Kids (not to ingest, just to rub on their gums).
Every few weeks your baby might change. My little girl did not start out as a really fussy baby, and I don’t anticipate her staying this way forever. It’s a season of life that we are currently in.

 Finally, Step away from your baby if you feel out of control. I’ve never, ever had this happen to me, but I know that the shaken baby syndrome comes from frustrated, angry parents. If you ever feel like hurting your child through your frustration, leave your child crying in the crib and call someone immediately!

Don’t forget, take lots of pictures of you with your baby, even if you look exhausted! It’s what real life is like, and your baby will want pictures with you when he/she grows up!

Comments

  1. thank you so much for this blog! It helped me realise that its nornal! Yesterday i was sitting all day with my boy in my arms. Because somewhere else he was crying.

  2. My son (my precious only) is twelve now, but I remember his baby days like they were yesterday. He just seemed to cry and cry and cry, no matter what we did. I remember all the guilt and frustration, especially because he was the miracle baby God had given us against all odds. There were month-long stretches where it was better, but even now he’s still a complicated fellow. I put all my effort into trying to understand him and see things from his perspective (even when he was itty-bitty). It was hard but it paid off. He and I have a bond now that even strangers remark on!

  3. I’ve had 3 boys. The first 2 were so colicky! I read Dr. Sears’ The Baby Sleep Book when my first was a few weeks old and I learned SO much! I learned what I should expect from him. Why babies wake so much. How to give myself grace- including cosleeping which was the absolute only way I ever got even a little sleep with him. He cried incessantly. Stayed up late. Wouldn’t nap. Wouldn’t let me put him down. Then I read the chapter on allergies and I knew that was the majority of his problem. It was so obvious that he was crying from pain. Of course he had been to a pediatrician and he said he was perfect. I cut wheat out of my diet and I had a new baby! Still a fussy high needs one but no more pain! Second baby same story, just not as intense. Third I just took wheat out of my diet before I gave birth so that it would be all out of my system. Zero colic issues. All my babies have wanted to sleep with/on me. Been bad nappers. Want to nurse multiple times day and night. Want to be held most or all of the time. I get it! But you are right. God gives grace and strength to the weary. I’m really bad about getting outside help- actually I never have just because I would be even more overwhelmed by having someone in my home. Great post and know that there are so many if us who understand!

    • Kim Crawford says:

      Thank you Caroline for your grace filled perspectives. I agree with the woman who shared above. A fussy baby is usually a sign of something not being right. Teething is a big culprit. Another one is allergies. Dairy is the #1 allergy for babies and it will make them very fussy. If you are nursing, you may try cutting it out of your diet for a week. That should be enough time to work it out of both of your systems. If dairy is the culprit, you will be able to tell. There will be obvious changes. If it is not, then at least you will know. hope this helps. Keep up the good work. Each baby is so different!

  4. I’m glad you shared this post. It is motivating me to do more for other moms and friends of mine with newborns or multiple children. God has blessed my husband and I with just one child. In the past, we’ve called ahead and gone over to other mom’s houses, babysat their children so they could nap, cleaned their house, ran errands like getting groceries and making them a big meal. I absolutely love it (seriously, I do! My husband often says maybe this was part of God’s plan for me) and my daughter does too! It’s been great for teaching her how to love and serve others. She’s getting to be such a big help, too!

    But yes, I know the mothers often feel very guilty or bad for wanting or accepting help, but I wish they wouldn’t! Of course, we never push in or invade their privacy in any way, everything is always done with their knowledge and permission. But they are always so happy and thankful for it. Honestly, I feel guilt for having more time and energy than they do, so it’s fulfilling to help them in ways we can. One time I had made a meal for a family with four kids under five and brought everything in disposable pans so the mom wouldn’t have to wash them. Turns out, the meal touched her so much that she did wash the pans and now keeps them on top of her cabinets to look at and remember how we had helped! That meant a lot to me, and many friendships have grown and strengthened from it.

    Moms, please do not feel bad or guilty for getting help or a break!! I felt the same way when my daughter was born premature and had to stay in the nicu for several weeks after an emergency csection. We both almost died. Life is so precious…I wish I would’ve accepted more help at the time. Remember there are people who feel called or led to helping, so please accept it! 🙂

  5. This is so timely…our 5 month old baby girl woke up every 2.5 hours last night, and this morning I am feeling pretty tired! I think she is at a developmental milestone (about to scoot/crawl) or teething (I did pop in some teething tablets during the night…for moms who haven’t tried them, Hyland’s Teething Tablets are AWESOME). Hubby and I have 4 children 4 and under…so not getting more than 2.5 hours straight is super hard (not much opportunity to nap during the day).

    There was a lady above who commented on not accepting more help because she would feel more stressed having someone in her home…I feel the same way!! I think people wonder why we don’t accept more help after a baby is born…sometimes the help is truly help, and other times I just feel more stressed because someone is coming over … so I end up refusing help often times. Then I feel guilty for refusing the help…and somewhat jealous when I hear how other moms have meals made and brought for them and helpers come over so they can nap…but I know for us personally it’s more stressful having someone in our home…

    Maybe with the next baby I can ask God to help me accept help and not feel stressed by it.

    Anyway thank you for this post! Children grow up so fast, and I don’t want to miss a minute of it. 🙂

    • Absolutely!! I know exactly how you feel about being more stressed if someone is coming. I am the exact same way. I was stressed when others wanted to come over and help me when I was on bedrest and after the baby came home. I figured all mothers felt the same way, so I was surprised when I learned some mothers are totally willing to take the help. But still, I never just show up or anything for the matter without asking first. It’s not something I do constantly or even on a regular basis, more so when I know they’re going through a stressful time. And really, the very few families where we go over to let the mothers nap, clean, etc are literally best friends for years. We’ve seen each other and houses at their best and worst and they are totally comfortable with us being there (there are times they ask or invite us to come and help, and they’ve came to our house and have often helped me in similar ways. But I know that even still, people like their space and privacy, myself included 🙂 For mothers we aren’t quite as close with but still want to help, we’ll have their kids come to our house and send them back with cookies, a freezer meal, or something, so that way they don’t need to worry about tidying up first because someone is dropping by. The main thing is we know we are there for each other. I just want mothers to not feel guilty about accepting whatever kind of help they need, whether it’s a friend or parent bringing a meal, getting a doctor’s advice for a fussy baby, taking a nap when your kids are napping, etc. We’re all different and what’s helpful for one is, like you said, more stressful for another. I’m glad you commented as it’s a good reminder of that! I will continue to keep that in mind. And yes, time goes so fast, and we don’t want to miss those precious moments with our children. I always make my daughter and husband a top priority before doing any other outside ministry!

  6. I have 5 beautiful girls and have experienced this with 2 of them. My second born had colic and reflux. She cried nonstop for the first 4 months. I literally thought I would go insane from the crying. We all walked around dazed. I tried everything I could to help her (even went to GI specialist) but she really just had to grow out of it. She became the sweetest, kindest girl!

    My fifth bundle of joy was what Dr. Sears calls “High Needs”. He has an article about it and she fit every criteria. She was just so needy. I really struggled the first year with her and felt like my life was falling apart. I bought Dr. Sears book about High Needs babies and it helped keep me from feeling crazy. The thing that worked best was babywearing (I bought a Tula and it was worth every dollar) and hiring a mother’s helper. I also had to just resign myself to the fact that this was just her personality. Not a failure on my part. Not a problem to fix. She is almost 2 now and still needy but nothing like that first year. We homeschool and my other kids education was very neglected last year bc of this needy girl. She is an incredible blessing though. Every day she brings so much joy and I would do it all again to have her in my life.

    I am very thankful for this article-I think its important for people to know that even competent mothers struggle when you have a crier. And for other mothers to know they aren’t alone. I sure felt like I was-none of my friends understood.

  7. Thanks for posting things like this. I wish I would have known this when my kids were babies. Nursing was not easy, they were not good sleepers, I didn’t sleep. Lack of sleep seriously did me in. I was a horrible mom. Looking back, I now realize that I had just about every symptom of ppd. Going through it, I did not think of such a thing. I think my attitudes when they were little definitely prevented us from wanting more children. I hope to have more one day. I can’t change the past, but I can change my attitude today. To anyone else in a similar situation, I agree- put your baby down and get help. And give yourself grace. It will get better!

  8. I needed to read this today! We have three under three, and my sweet baby has been just fussy for almost two weeks now. Nights are long, sometimes we are up every hour nursing, and Hubby is very opposed to the idea of co-sleeping so Baby is in his own bed, making every feeding a get-up-and-be-awake affair. I love my baby, but it is hard. It is especially hard when the needs of my other children are ignored because of my crying baby, or – more often – baby is left to cry in his little seat while I help my other two with something important.

    Even so, he is a dream compared to my middle child, who was born with a grudge, it seemed. I remember getting between 3-5 hours of very interrupted sleep a night, and going to church with mis-matched shoes because I was too tired to notice. People would complain about being tired because they stayed up to watch a movie or something, and I would just look at them and think, “I wish I was that tired! It would be a treat!” Oddly enough, I felt much closer to my middle baby than to my first, as I spent pretty much every minute with him and was the only one who could satisfy his needs.

  9. Hugs! I had 3 criers. One with undiagnosed reflux (poor baby) One with an immature rectal sphincter, and the 3rd one broke his first tooth through at 5 weeks old and was a non-stop teether (and a biter after that.) I remember jogging the neighborhood with him at 3am just so the rest of the house could sleep. He would only stop crying if I was running fast enough to feel a breeze on his face. I didn’t even lose weight, lol–and was SOOOO tired all the time. Later someone told me infant chiropractic care might have helped. Birth can be hard on those little bodies.

  10. Caroline, I am crying myself right now (literally) because what you are describing is exactly what happened to me with my daughter. She cried some days from 9 am til 9 pm, and then was up 5-6 times during the night. She sometimes woke up (For the day) at 4:30 am. Although honestly, Caroline, I think I was brought so far to the end of myself, that the Holy Spirit worked on me harder than ever before or maybe since. One night I walked outside to take out the trash (my husband holding crying baby inside) and I hadn’t been outside at night in several months because we couldn’t leave the house with my daughter. And I remember there was a chill in the air, and I looked up for some reason, and the sky was literally stunning with stars. There were so many stars that night, you could even see clusters of light in stars farther away than normal. It was amazing. And I felt God say, I am with you through all of this. I am here still. Keep going. It was a thrilling experience I had by myself, in my driveway, on an October night, at about 9 pm. It may sound insignificant, but sometimes I wonder if I was born again that night. I always believed, but that was the first time I actually felt something irresistibly calling me. I was brought to that moment of desperation and vulnerability by my daughter– she was about 3 or 4 months old at the time. Anyway, praying for you as always, lots of love, Jennifer.

  11. My oldest was especially fussy. (They were all spoiled to being held…meaning they were happiest in somebody’s arms 😉

    It was mainly in the afternoons, from about mid-afternoon until pretty much bed time and beyond. She didn’t have allergies or colic, I have no idea why to this day she did that. It seemed to happen about the time when she came out of the sleep a lot infancy phase and before she became mobile enough to scoot/crawl around and amuse herself phase. I think she was frustrated and perhaps bored. Once she was able to sit up well and crawl, she was a different baby and played well and could be left in a secure place (gated with supervision, etc) to play. I had also heard that sometimes it’s called evening colic, I don’t remember where I had heard that. It was a very frustrating time in life for sure! (She’s 21 and married now….anyone who has children knows….it goes too quickly)! I honestly wish I could live it again. How much we forget with time!

  12. Oh my, Caroline! I’m so glad that my 3 children wheren’t fussy babies. With them it came later, with teething or wanting to crawl and it didn´t work.
    I want to encourage moms to wear there babies also at the back. With a well bound wrap (hope this is understandable, I’m from Germany) that works also with fairly small babies.
    Yes, that is not as cosy as wearing babies at the front but I found it more comfortable for my back, nicer for the siblings and I was able to do more things.

    All the best for you.

    Salo from Germany

  13. Lisa Molina says:

    Thank you so much for this! I’m 2 weeks post partum with baby #5, homeschool mom, recovering from a c-section….getting little to no sleep!!! This is just what I needed to read! My other babies were pretty good ( pretty quiet) and good sleepers compared to my little one now who just wants to eat all the time!!!! It’s very hard but I keep telling myself this is not forever, it’s just a season. Thank you again! (Feels good to know you’re not alone). God bless you!

  14. Thank you for sharing. I’m a mom of 4 and my youngest was colicky. After we talked that problem came the phase of him not sleeping. I’ve been offered so much advice that made me feel like I was a bad mom because here I was with my 4th baby and I couldn’t figure out the basics! Honestly, my kids have each gotten more difficult! It makes me scared have another! Hang in there, you aren’t alone!

  15. I was this Mom and still am. My first pregnancy went fine and my sweet little girl was born. Then, my world quickly flew upside down. She never slept, unless I was holding her, she wanted to eat (nurse) every hour. And, she cried and cried and cried. I walked the floors holding, swinging and singing (well into the night) every lullaby I knew to calm her. She required all of my attention. But, I was completely in love! (Thank Heaven!) Trying to go anywhere in the car was a trial. I could count on wailing and lots of tears. I would usually pull over every few miles to try to comfort her… but, it always started up again as soon as I got going. I relented to her constant need to nurse. I had become her pacifier. It was the only thing I felt like I was ‘good’ at with her. Fast forward to age 2.5… Diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. Anothet kick in the gut! But, now she is ten years old. She still cries nearly all the time, but now she is aggressive towards the family and breaks things. She has been inpatient three times and insensive outpatient once. Trying medicine to help her, nothing has really changed… I can only look at one day at a time. Some days it’s more than I can handle. But, I still love her with all my heart and refuse to give up. GOD HELP US!

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