Parents and caregivers of newborns often feel anxious when their babies are restless and agitated. But this is a common occurrence with most babies for the first few months of their lives. Whether your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed with formula, they will experience regular periods of fussing and crying. The standard infant fussiness starts when they are only 2 to 3 weeks old. The frequency of fussiness gradually increases and peaks during the 6-week mark and slowly decreases and fades away upon them reaching 3 to 4 months. It is easy to predict their fussy periods as they usually occur during the afternoon or evening. Most parents have learned to keep track of when and for how long their baby experiences fussiness to be better prepared to handle it. On average, it may last from 2 to 4 hours per day, but every baby is different. Assessing your baby’s fussy periods also helps you recognize and differentiate between a regular tantrum and a cry for help. This can be tricky as there is a wide variety of “normal.”
What Is Normal And What Is An Issue?
It is important to differentiate between normal fussiness and when your baby is actually in trouble and needs help. Identifying normal fussiness in your baby is easy as it normally occurs during the same time every day. Your baby employs approximately the same intensity with minute variations to respond to some of the same things and activities. For instance, if your baby is always fussy when they are held or in motion or are breastfed frequently. It is also common for babies to experience fussiness out of the blue when they should be asleep or have just woken up. Although it generally happens during that time of the day when the baby stays awake for long periods. This may be during the evening, right before your baby is put down for their longest stretch of sleep. But why is this happening?
What Could Be The Cause Behind Your Baby’s Fussiness?
If your baby is fussier than usual or not showing normal signs of fussing, it is best to consult a doctor to rule out any illness and any other discomfort. But there are several causes for your newborn baby getting fussy regularly. A few have been listed down below.
1. Foremilk-Hindmilk Imbalance
One of the most common causes for fussiness in babies is foremilk-hindmilk imbalance, also known as forceful letdown or oversupply syndrome. This is when your baby usually gags and gasps while breastfeeding, makes a clicking sound when nursing, spits up often, or experiences other milk ejection reflexes due to an oversupply of milk. This usually starts around 3 to 4 weeks after delivering the baby.
2. Food Sensitivity And Nipple Confusion
Sometimes your baby does not take to or is allergic to a new ingredient or food that you have included in your diet, causing them to avoid nursing as the food you eat has a huge influence on the components present in your breastmilk. This can easily be avoided by making a conscious effort to keep a record of what you eat and what does not agree with your baby so that you can avoid consuming it for as long as you are breastfeeding. Your baby may also be fussy because they have trouble latching onto your nipples or don’t find the desired shape and size for their palate’s arch or mouth’s size.
3. Other Situational Causes
If your baby is experiencing a diaper rash or has had trouble breastfeeding due to a low milk supply, this can also prompt fussiness. Weather changes are also a cause. Most babies don’t take well to hot weather and tend to be more agitated when not kept cool. Overstimulation, overtiredness, and growth spurts are also reasons for your baby expressing discomfort and fussiness.
How To Comfort Your Fussy Baby
Although there are multiple reasons for your baby to get fussy throughout the day, there are also numerous ways in which you can comfort and calm them. It is normal to experience feelings of discomfort when your baby cries. This is a hormonal reaction that ensures that you prioritize their needs. Here are some ways in which you can do just that:
1.Take Care Of Their Basic Needs
Nursing and burping your baby, changing their diaper, and routinely cleaning and changing their clothes help your baby be more comfortable and at ease.
2. Physical Touch
Most babies find physical touch to be soothing and comforting. Lifting them in a colic hold, giving them body massages, patting them on the back, and rubbing their tummy help them settle down quickly.
3. Reduce Stimulation Or Play Comforting Sounds
Dimming the lights and swaddling your baby is the best way to calm them. However, sometimes they settle down when you sing to them or play specific music that they find calming.
4. Rhythmic Motion
It seems movement has a positive effect on your baby if done right. Try to nurse your baby in motion. Rock them and give them baths. Put them in a stroller and take them out for a walk. Sometimes a change of scenery is just what they need.
Constantly caring for a fussy baby is tiring and stressful. So, be patient with yourself and with your baby. Your little one will eventually grow out of it. The key is to help them feel safe and loved during this transitional period.