A Guide For Parents

From the age of about three months, you may notice a real change in your baby. He's now much more aware of what goes on around him, he's responsive and interested in everything -- more of a person altogether. He'll still cry a lot, and will continue to do so for many months to come, but by now you may have a much better idea of why. Learn some reasons for tears in this excerpt from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Pregnancy & Baby Care.

Six reasons to consider
Hungeris still an obvious reason for your baby to cry. As his first year progresses and he becomes mobile and moves on to solid food, he will often get tired and cranky between meals--his life is a busy one. A snack and a drink may restore his energy and cheer him up.

Anxietywill be a new reason for crying from the age of seven or eight months, because then he's discovered his unshakable attachment to you. You are his "safe base"; he'll be happy to explore the world, provided he can keep you in sight. He may cry if you leave him or if he loses sight of you. Be patient with him and let him get used to new people and situations gradually.

Pain, from bumps as he becomes mobile, will be a frequent cause of tears. Often it will be the shock that makes him cry, rather than any injury, so a sympathetic cuddle and a distracting toy will usually help him forget it quickly.

Wanting to get his own waywill often be a cause of friction and tears, particularly from the age of two. It's worth asking yourself if you're frustrating him unnecessarily, or perhaps trying to assert your own will; but sometimes he will need to be held back for his safety. If he gets so angry that he throws a tantrum, don't shout at him, or try reasoning with him, or punish him afterward. It's best to ignore the tantrum completely. Wait until the fit of temper has passed and then continue with whatever you were going to do.

Frustration, as your baby tries to do things that are beyond his capabilities, will be a more and more common reason for crying. You can't avoid this although you can make life easier for him. For example, put his toys where he can reach them. Distraction is the best cure: introduce a new game or toy and his tears may soon be forgotten. Or help him if he's struggling, but don't take over completely.

Overtiredness will show itself in whininess, irritability, and finally tears. By the end of his first year your child's life is so full of new experience that he can run out of energy before he's run out of enthusiasm. He needs you to help him relax enough to get the sleep he needs. A quiet time sitting on your lap listening to a story may work, and a calming, enjoyable bedtime routine that you all stick to every evening will help, too. PregnancyAndBaby.com


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