Whole Parenting Family

When Your Infant Screams and Screams and You Do Too (Inside)

Do you have a newish baby? Is this your first? Are you finding that after about 2 weeks, suddenly your little angel finds a screaming tone, a crying hue, a little bit of the ability to drive you to despair? I had forgotten this phase, but certainly remembered and rediscovered it with SweetPea. She’s a remarkably calm and easy going baby, way more so than SuperBoy at her age (and I thought he was easy). But every now and then she SCREAMS and it is terrifying.

Run through the list: Hungry? (remember babies can cluster feed so if you feel like you just nursed or gave a bottle, she could be hungry again) Burp? (see here for my post on how to get those burps out {Burp Up}) Diaper? (these also happen more frequently than one would think)–if these are all checked off the list, go for the big one:

Baby is tired.

This is the number one reason I’ve found infants go bah-zurk. I mean like screaming like you’re cutting them. I mean like the neighbors think you ARE cutting them. Small babies have limited communication tools. Pretty much, their voice is it. Your baby can be hit with the fatigue bomb anytime during the day–this isn’t just a night fussy thing. (We generally don’t start shaping sleep patterns until after three months, as babies just nap in the sling, or swing, and snuggle up anywhere to take a snooze when they’re little.)

Try to watch for the signs–fussing, red rimmed eyes, rooting but not wanting to actually EAT, just to suck, rubbing eyes, in order to get in front of the screaming. If you see these signs, rock, nurse, and dance your baby to sleep.

If you miss these signs and you’re looking at a hysterical baby, the most effective way for us to get her to calm down and sleep is to do the crazy dance–meaning: bouncing, rocking, shhhshhhshhing near her ear (sounds like womb noises for them), dancing all around, swinging hips, swooping side to side, moving gently but continuously as though you’re try to get the baby to forget her fatigue and clue into the crazy moves you’ve got. Continual motion in the same repetitive manner does not work (aka rocking in a glider or rocking chair). It has to change frequently.

Nota bene: don’t SHAKE your baby. Ever. 

It took us about 8 days to figure out SweetPea’s freakouts. She would do this between 7 and 9 pm. She needed the crazy dance while nursing. She’s not a pacifier babe. So I would have to ensure I’m somewhere (preferably at home!) where I cannot be seen by the neighbors. It could take 10-20 minutes to get her to calm down.

When it happens, I remind myself to not react emotionally– I can stick it out because I know at some point she will fall asleep. When SuperBoy used to do this, I would freak out, freak out that he wouldn’t nurse, freak out that he was freaking out, and freak out when I couldn’t find anything on google about how to help him. Now I’m convinced it’s fatigue based. So help your baby find sleep, and don’t waste time and energy freaking out.

If you are freaking out, put your baby down in a safe place, come and read this post, call your mother, and drink some water. Then go back, and try to dance your child to sleep.



  1. […] he was probably just fatigued and letting us know about it. See post on incessant screaming here. {When Your Infant Screams and Screams and You Do Too […]