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Early Infant Crying: What We Know and What Can Help. Marsha Baker, OTR/L, MA, M.Ed. Becoming a Parent. “It’s like getting on the fast track to personal growth and you can’t get off.”. (Als, 1983). (Als, 1983). All babies cry…. Crying is a Biological Alarm. Graded signal

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Presentation Transcript
becoming a parent
Becoming a Parent
  • “It’s like getting on the fast track to personal growth and you can’t get off.”
crying is a biological alarm
Crying is a Biological Alarm
  • Graded signal
  • Alerts parent/caregiver
  • Does not tell source of distress
  • Parents respond to level of emotion in cry and context of cry

(Barr, Hopkins, & Green, 2000;

Gustafson, Wood, & Green,2000)

importance of crying
Importance of Crying
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Increases motor activity
  • Generates heat & helps regulate temperature
  • Triggers social interaction
  • Ensures survival
    • “Acoustical umbilical cord”

(Lester, 2006)

early crying
Early Crying
  • Peaks at six to eight weeks
  • Wide variability in crying amounts across individuals and cultures
  • Parental responsiveness to early crying correlates with positive toddler behavior
normal crying curve
Normal Crying Curve
  • Peaks at 4-6 weeks
  • First documented in Brazelton’s practice
  • Replicated in 15 studies
  • Across cultures
  • True for preemies and full-terms

6 weeks

12 weeks

what is colic
What is Colic?

RULE OF 3’s

  • Crying in otherwise healthy infant that lasts:
  • More than 3 hours per day
  • More than 3 days per week
  • More than 3 weeks

(Wessel, 1954)

excessive crying plus
Excessive Crying Plus:
  • Sudden onset
    • Paroxysmal
    • Unpredictable
  • Cry quality
    • Higher pitch, reaches peak quickly
    • Like a pain cry
  • Physical signs
    • Clenched fists
    • Grimace/flushing
    • Gas/distention
  • Inconsolable

(Lester, Boukydis, Garcia-Coll, & Hole, 1990)

“Late afternoon fist-shaking rage”

colic is crying of infancy
Colic is Crying of Infancy
  • Begins early:
    • 100% by 3 weeks
  • End varies:
    • 50% by 2 months
    • 80% by 3 months
    • 90% by 4 months

(Weissbluth, 1998)

medical conditions to consider in infants with excessive crying
Medical Conditions to Consider in Infants with Excessive Crying
  • Medical conditions account for <5% of infants with excessive crying
  • But it’s important to identify them so they can be treated!
why there s nothing just about colic
Why There’s Nothing “Just” About Colic?
  • Excessive crying may be a risk factor for:
    • Parent/infant relationship distress
    • Child abuse
    • Developmental/behavioral concerns
    • Maternal depression
excessive crying and abusive head trauma
Excessive Crying andAbusive Head Trauma

2.75 hrs.

Age in Weeks

(Holliday-Hanson, Barr, & Trent, 2001)

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Crying of normal development

Reflux or

Milk Protein Allergy

Regulatory problems, neurological hyper- sensitivity

Immaturity of the digestive system Excessive gas

Over-Tired

Excessive Crying in Infancy

Underlying medical condition

Post Partum Depression

Environmental Stressors (Smoking)

Temperament

Colic

start with what you know
Start With What You Know
  • What is your baby’s day like?
  • How do you know when your baby is tired or stressed?
  • How is feeding going? Sleeping?
  • What helps soothe your baby?
  • What developmental changes is your baby experiencing?
  • What is your level of distress around your baby’s crying?
common soothing strategies
Common Soothing Strategies
  • Containment
  • Rhythmic back and forth movement
  • Rhythmic sounds
  • Sucking/feeding
  • Warm or neutral temperature
  • Reducing amount of stimulation
  • Natural light
  • Parent support
plan for stressful moments
Plan for Stressful Moments
  • Sometimes babies are unsoothable
  • When you’re at the end of your rope:
    • Put the baby down
    • Take a break
    • Connect with someone
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