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You knew, as you were going through your pregnancy class, that there was going to be a lot of newborn baby crying.
This seems excessive.
It feels like even when he’s not screaming, you can hear him screaming. Is this the new soundtrack to your life? A constant wail of unhappy frustration?
Fortunately, the answer to that is NO. This nonstop howl-a-thon isn’t going to continue forever. Someday he’ll scream words at you! (Okay, sorry, I realize it may be a bit early for that joke…)
As Certified Gentle Sleep Coaches (yes, that’s a thing), Amy and I have learned a LOT about newborn growth and development. One of the juicy tidbits we like to share with our newborn parents is something called habituation.
Trust me, that little word is going to explain a whole lot.
Why Is Your Newborn Baby Crying?
He Lost His Super Power
After your baby was born, he was given a special gift. You are actually very familiar with this gift, even though you may not realize it.
This super power is the reason that you could take your newborn anywhere when he was first born.
- You would take him to Olive Garden. He’d sleep.
- You would walk her through the streets of downtown Manhattan. She slept.
- You would prop her car seat in the corner of your sister’s house (the sister with six kids under the age of 8). She slept straight through all the chaos.
- You took him through the airpot and flew to Boston. He slept virtually the whole way through.
Sure, there are moments when he cries, is hungry, needs to be held…but once the room’s decibels picks up, it’s like he slips into a zone.
Actually, that’s exactly what he does. He slips into a zone called “Habituation”. It’s a magical zone. It makes you feel pretty good about this whole parenting then.
But then, as quickly as it arrives…somewhere around 8-12 weeks old, your Superman suddenly changes back to a very grumpy Clark Kent.
Let the meltdowns commence.
Habituation is disappearing and your baby doesn’t know how to handle it. Suddenly, this ability of retreating into his quiet zone of “fake sleep” (and it is fake sleep, not true sleep) has disappeared.
The sanctuary is no more, and he is at an absolute LOSS to know how to deal with the loud noises, bright lights, and constant action of the world around him. How does he handle this? By venting all that frustration, anger, confusion into finding a new range of whistle tones.
Yes, you can put him on a good daily rhythm to help decrease all this newborn baby crying, but sometimes it feels like scheduling just isn’t enough. I mean, what happens when you’re visiting Grandma for the day and the routine goes out the window?
The HUSH Hat:
Helping Him Habituate
As your baby is learning how to fall, and stay, asleep without his magic habituation skill, it makes sense that anything that helps him overcome extra stimulation would be an effective way to minimize all the newborn baby crying.
That’s exactly what HUSH Hat does.
It’s a handy superhero side-kick. Your baby may not be able to “turn off” and push all those extra noises aside, but with his trusty partner, HUSH Hat, the stimulus feels just a little less abrasive. (And in this stage, “a little less stimulus” means “a lot more restful sleep”.)
- It’s designed to add foam insulation around your baby’s ears, softening sounds that constantly wake them up.
- This tool doesn’t remove ALL the noise, since you don’t want your newborn expecting complete silence when he sleeps, but mutes it effectively to promote quiet sleep.
- It protects his developing eardrums from noises over 80 decibels that are hazardous to tiny ears.
- The hat is soft and comfortable for your newborn to wear. You won’t see any lines on his precious face indicating it was too tight!
Other Reasons Your Newborn Baby
Is Screaming His Lungs Out
Before I send you out back into the world, though, I do want to make sure I cover other reasons your newborn baby may be crying. Yes, the loss of habituation is a big reason babies ages 8-14 weeks can struggle, but there are other possible causes as well. Ones you may want to mention to your doctor at your next well-baby visit.
It Could be Colic
If he’s crying for hours, colic may be at play. New studies are linking colicky symptoms with digestive issues, so this would be a good time to take a hard look at baby probiotics.
It Could be Acid Reflux
If he is arching his back and seems to be spitting up or screaming consistently about 20-30 minutes after a feeding, acid reflux could be the cause. For breastfeeders, try dropping dairy from your diet. Formula feeders should try one of these.
It Could be the Crib
That crib looks pretty innocent to YOU, but it can feel like a scary wasteland to your newborn. Read tips on how to overcome crib terror in my article here along with a few extra good tips from Mr. Storkey.
It Could a Missed Sleep Window
Besides habituation, the second most common Cry Culprit is a missed sleep window. At this age, your newborn can only stay awake for about an HOUR before his brain gets overtired and he needs to rest.
Start by jotting down your day, marking when he wakes, sleeps, and eats. Then subtract the time between naps to determine how long he awake. If it’s more than an hour, that’s a red flag. His little brain is getting overtired. (This can often build up to a total meltdown at the same time every night.)
Guess what will help you get him down for his nap on time by minimizing the exciting distractions that make his brain want to stay up and play? (Despite the fact that his body is close to exhaustion.)
A dark room and a cute little HUSH Hat.
It’s comfortable. Portable. Serviceable. Adorable. And, considering how much use you’re going to get out of it, it’s affordable.
If your newborn baby seems to be crying a whole lot more than normal, don’t grit your teeth and try to get through another month. Pick up something that will help him transition past the loss of his super power and settle his brain down to sleep.
It’s either that or purchase another case of ear plugs. (For you, not him.)
Go with the hat.
Have You Read These Yet?
- 15 Newborn Toys Your Baby Will Find Fascinating
- You Need to Try These Surprisingly Fun Newborn Activities
- What You Need to Know About Bathing a Newborn
- How to Rock Out a Newborn Schedule
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs to Know About Baby Care
This article was sponsored by HUSH Hat, who provided me with a sample and lots of really good information about how their product helps tone down the sharper sounds around your house. Since I’ve been trained and already knew about habituation, I could see right away this is a product that could really help struggling parents of newborns!
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.