Protecting your Baby
Taking care of an infant or young child can be very stressful. All parents and caregivers are at risk for frustration. This is especially true if the infant won't stop crying. Sometimes babies cry for no reason and won't stop no matter what you do. Parents and caregivers need to learn how to deal with this stress, because when a parent or caregiver loses control the results can be harmful.
Your baby's crying
- Crying is normal for babies.
- Increased crying is a normal between 2 and 4 months of age.
- Most babies who cry a lot are healthy.
- You are not a bad parent if you have tried to calm your crying baby but nothing seems to work.
What to do when a baby cries
- Check for signs of discomfort like a dirty diaper, tight clothing, or being too hot or cold.
- Assess whether the baby is hungry or needs to be burped.
- Offer your baby a pacifier.
- Rub your baby's back.
- Rock your baby gently.
- Sing or talk smoothly to your baby or play soft music.
- Take a walk or ride in the car.
- Call the doctor if you think your child is ill.
- Remember you are not a bad parent or caregiver if your baby continues to cry after you have done all you can to calm him or her.
Take a break!
When you feel frustrated or stressed while caring for your baby, take a break.
- Call a friend, relative, or neighbor for support.
- Put your baby in a safe place, leave the room, and check on him or her every 5-10 minutes.
- Ask a trusted person to come over for a while to give you a break.
- Call your provider if you need help.
- CALL 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk to a hotline counselor. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
An important reminder for all caregivers
- Never shake a baby. Even a brief moment can cause serious damage.
- Make sure everyone who takes care of your child knows the dangers of shaking. Share this information with family members, friends, babysitters, and day care providers.
What is abusive head trauma?
Abusive head trauma, including shaken baby syndrome, is a serious type of head injury. Shaking, throwing, hitting, impact, or jerking causes it. Babies are not able to support their heavy heads. As a result, shaking causes a baby's brain to be injured. Abusive head trauma often occurs when a parent or caregiver reacts impulsively or in anger or frustration, often because the baby will not stop crying. Abusive head trauma is a serious form of child abuse and can lead to death. It can also lead to:
- Bleeding around the brain
- Hearing loss
- Learning and behavior problems
- Cerebral Palsy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Guide for Health Departments and Community-Based Organizations. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from www.cdc.gov/injury
The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010). Protecting Your Baby From Abuse. Retrieved November 10, 2010, from www.aap.org
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/18/2011
Copyright © 03/10/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7152
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