Behaviour in children under three years old
Baby and toddler behaviour can delight, amuse, frustrate and confuse you. Each different stage brings new behaviour to make sense of.
Taking the time to understand your child’s behaviour is the best way to tune into their feelings and help them find positive ways to tell you what they need.
Newborns and crying
Crying is your newborn’s way of telling you what he or she needs. Your baby will cry to tell you when they're hungry, uncomfortable, tired or unwell.
You can’t ‘spoil’ your newborn with too much attention. Every bit of attention you give your baby now helps them grow and develop.
It’s normal for babies to cry and fuss for about three hours a day. Some babies cry more at certain times of day, like the late afternoon or evening. This might be because they’re over-stimulated by all the sensations of the day. And some babies cry more than others, simply because all babies are different.
Your newborn might have long bouts of unexplainable crying — when you’ve ruled out all the reasons you can think of, and you just can’t comfort them. Some people put this down to wind, but many doctors now think this is just natural behaviour for some babies.
Try these ideas when your baby cries
, and you’ve ruled out hunger, discomfort, tiredness and illness:
- Reduce stimulation: try sitting with your baby in a quiet, dimmed room.
- Lie your baby on his side and rhythmically pat their back (turn them onto their back if they fall asleep).
- Put your baby in a pram or a baby sling and go for a walk. It’s sometimes easier to cope when you’re on the move.
- If you feel frustrated, angry, helpless or distressed, it’s okay to leave your baby to cry for a short time. Lie your baby on its back in a safe place, like a cot, while you take a five-minute break.
- Seek help if you feel that you can’t cope and you might hurt your child. Talk to your GP or child and family health nurse to start with.
The good news is crying peaks at about six weeks old
. As babies get older, their crying tends to be spread throughout the day, and it gets easier to work out what they’re trying to tell you.
For part two in the series, click here.
For part three in the series, click here.
This article was published courtesy of the Raising Children Network.