Every parent will at one time or another face the impending doom of the late night, nap time or even the temper tantrum times of a child’s cry. Learning to define and respond appropriately makes all the difference. The constant cries of a child are a way to get what they need and most of all what they want. If their needs are met, taken care and not of a medical nature then the cries belong to the all too familiar category of the I want stage. Even as a newborn, they are infinitely aware of a cry means I get because I want.
The I Need Cry- Check their diaper, at times it may be just a bit wet but if they are trying to fall asleep that bit of wet may be uncomfortable. Change them, give them a last drink or feeding and reinforce the needs for bed time, quiet time.
The Medical Cry- Do they have colic, fever, rash or any of the other litanies of reasons for a medical reason of constant crying. They may need a bit of medical help such as fever medications but it should be given to them and then allow them to resume a sleep pattern.
The I Need Category- This is the most dangerous of the listed and really can make a difference. IF you run to them each and every time they cry, they will learn that they get faster attention and consoling that is they actually need something. During this stage, you are setting boundaries and responsibilities in your little one. Even at this young age, they are aware of how to get what they want versus what they need.
Every cry has a meaning. If you can hold off responding to the I want stage, they cries will serve an unintended purpose. The crying will act to build lung functions and create an understanding and need to learn patience. They will also begin to learn that not everything comes right away or is an emergency. By not responding to the immediate cries, you are giving them an opportunity to problem solve on their own. They will search their environment for ways to fulfill the want.
Every parent will do what is best for them. Not everyone’s success will fit another. If you are confident in your choices and action and that do not place your baby in harm’s way then you are being a responsible and attentive parent. At the end of the day our rewards as a parent are the smiles and chuckles that escape the mouths of babes.