Infant Care

How to Stop a 2-Month-Old Baby From Crying Constantly

Talk to your baby’s physician to rule out any physical issues that could be the cause of your infant's crying. For example, acid reflux can afflict babies, causing pain and frequent spitting up, according to the AskDrSears website. If your baby has a physical condition that is causing the crying, follow professional recommendations for treating it to help your baby feel more comfortable.

Resolve any physical issues that could be causing your baby to cry. For instance, feed him, burp him, check his clothing to ensure he’s comfortable and change his diaper.

Provide a pacifier for extra sucking if your baby wants to suck but isn’t hungry. Babies are born with the need to suck -- and for some babies, sucking can have a soothing and calming effect, notes HealthyChildren.org, a website of American Academy of Pediatrics.

Hold your baby to comfort her when she cries. Try a variety of positions and methods for gentle bouncing and rocking to provide motion for your infant, advises the Children’s Physician Network. Walk and bounce while patting her back, rock in a rocking chair or sit with your baby lying face down on your lap while rubbing her back.

Play white background noise for your baby to provide comfort. Babies in the 2-month age range still find monotonous white noise comforting and they often settle if you play it. A dishwasher, fan, vacuum cleaner, blow dryer or a recording of white noise might be ideal.

Try a change of scenery to help calm your baby's cries. Walk outdoors, buckle him into the car seat and take a drive, or push him in the stroller.

Tip

According to an article on Seattle Children's Hospital website, the acronym PURPLE is used to help define the normal pattern of crying for infants. The "P" refers to the fact that at about age 2 months, the amount of crying your baby does will "Peak." The "U" refers to the "Unpredictably" of the crying, while the "R" indicates that your infant might "Resist" soothing no matter what you try. The second "P" refers to the fact that even when healthy babies cry, it will often look like they are in "Pain," while the "L" indicates that they will cry for "Long" periods of time. Finally, the "E" lets you know that your baby may tend to cry more in the late afternoon or "Evening." However, keep in mind that by age 3 months, you should notice a decrease in the amount of time your little one cries each day.

Crying is a baby’s way of communicating and expending excess energy, notes the KidsHealth website. As long as you're sure that your baby isn’t hungry or in pain, the only thing left is to provide as much comfort as possible.

Warning

Never shake your baby in response to excessive crying. Injuries caused by shaking could be permanent or even fatal. If you feel like you're losing your temper, place your baby in his crib and call a family member or friend for help immediately.

The Importance of Picking Up Babies When They Cry

Why Babies Cry

Babies cry to express their needs, such as a wet diaper, a feeling of discomfort or fatigue. It is important that parents learn how to translate their baby's cries to understand what need is being communicated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby's hungry cry is often short, low pitched and rises and falls, while a cry indicating pain is sudden and high pitched. Parents who respond immediately to their baby's cry learn quickly how to translate the meaning of that cry. All the baby's cries are communicating a need that requires meeting.

Nurturing Leads to Independence

According to an article in "Psychology Today" by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, babies who are picked up when crying become toddlers who are secure in exploring their environment, because they know they have security when they return to their parents. Responding to the baby's communication sends a clear message to the baby that his needs have been heard. Holding a crying baby gives them the nurturing, comfort and security they need in order to develop independence as toddlers.

Ignoring a Crying Baby

According to the Ask Dr. Sears website, the practice of allowing a baby to "cry it out" can cause damage to a baby's developing brain. Synapses -- the inter-connectors in the brain -- are damaged when babies cry for extended periods of time. Prolonged crying can create a lack of proper oxygen levels in a baby's brain. Dr. Sears asserts that ignoring a crying baby can have undesirable physical as well as emotional consequences.

Desensitized Parents and a Lack of Trust

According to world renowned expert in human development, Erik H. Erikson, babies develop a sense of trust or mistrust in the world in the first two years of life. When a baby is left to cry on their own, the caretakers are no longer in tune with the baby's communication. By tuning out, the responsible party is rejecting potentially serious cues to a problem. The baby could be crying because they have a trapped limb in their crib, for example. This increases the risk of physical danger to the baby and sends a signal that they are not safe and the world is not to be trusted.

How to Recognize the Types of Cries in Babies

Listen for escalation and rhythm. Cries of hunger often begin quietly, with a slow pace and a low pitch. A hungry baby's cry gets louder and louder, and as it gets louder, it tends to become more rhythmic.

Interpret intermittent, inconsistent cries as an indication of general fussiness. Although these cries, like hunger cries, may become louder as they go on, they generally lack consistent rhythm and pace. Fussy cries can communicate all kinds of things, including a desire to be held, a dirty diaper, fear, tiredness or even the need to let off some excess energy. Sometimes, fussy cries don't mean anything at all, especially during your baby's first three months.

Take soft cries as a sign of sleepiness. A rhythmic, soft cry with a regular cadence, even if it gets a little louder as it progresses, often means that your baby is trying to calm herself.

Respond quickly to loud, sharp cries. A sudden, high-pitched cry that sounds tense and doesn't have any continuous rhythm or melody may indicate that your baby is in pain. Cries of pain are typically short and sharp. After a loud shriek, wails often follow as a response to pain. These cries continue until your baby is no longer in pain.

Tip

Although it may sound obvious, the best way to stop your baby's crying is by meeting her needs. After feeding, burping or changing your baby, try calming techniques such as gentle rocking, stroking, swaddling, walking, singing or taking a warm bath to calm your little one down.

Warning

Don't play pediatrician. Although an accurate description of your baby's cries can help doctors make a diagnosis, leave it to the professionals to interpret your baby's cries on a medical level.

How to Hold a Colicky Baby

Do the "colic curl." Hold the baby facing you and encircle your arms under his diaper. Press the baby's feet against your chest.

Hold the baby in a "reverse curl," facing away from you. Stand in front of a large mirror so the baby can witness her own drama.

Score with the "football hold." Rest the baby's head in the crook of your arm and drape his tummy area along your forearm. Grasp the diaper area with your hand. Press your wrist into the baby's tummy.

Walk around with the baby. Keep up continuous motion while holding the baby, some infants respond favorably.

Make eye contact. Babies love to know that they have your undivided attention.

Tip

If you feel your patience waning ask for help or call someone for support.

Do Infants Get Bored?

Boredom

When parents or babysitters hear the baby crying, they usually first check to see whether she needs a change or is hungry. Once these possibilities are ruled out, they might give the baby a rattle or a toy to entertain her on the assumption that she is bored. Depending on how boredom is defined, she might indeed be bored, but her boredom might be caused more by not being able to move around than by needing a toy to play with.

Movement

If boredom is defined as uneasiness caused by a lack of adequate stimulation, then infants can certainly experience boredom. However, lack of stimulation is not the same sensation as the absence of entertainment. Infants don't necessarily need to be entertained constantly and it can even be bad for their brain development if they were. While it might seem as though a baby lying on her back and wiggling her arms is not doing much, she is working hard to learn how her body works and what she can do with it.

Learning

Caregivers sometimes keep babies contained in swings or baby jumpers to ensure their safety and distract them while the caregiver performs other tasks around the house. This can interrupt the baby's most important task, which is to learn how to move. When babies are born, they have so little control over their own bodies that they seem to twitch and shake involuntarily. During the ensuing weeks and months, they learn through trial and error how to move their arms and legs, open and close their hands and hold their heads up when they want to. This is essential for brain development and movement control.

Addressing Boredom

When a baby is prevented from working on his ability to move, he can become frustrated and start crying. Take the baby out of her swing or whatever else is restraining her movement, put a toy or a few toys nearby in case she wants them and place her down on her back. Once she can move around and work on her movement skills, she might not need any other entertainment. If she still seems bored, you can play with her for a while.

Why Babies Get Angry

Unmet Needs

A baby’s needs are simple: he needs to eat, sleep and stay clean. According to the Mayo Clinic’s article, “Crying Baby: What to Do when Your Newborn Cries,” when a baby feels hungry, he can get upset or even start to panic. Some babies like to sleep up to 16 hours a day. If a little one feels as though he can’t settle down for a snooze, he’ll get fussy. If your baby is sensitive to being in a wet or soiled diaper, he might become angry if you don’t clean him up fast enough.

Feelings of Discomfort

When you feel uncomfortable, you usually know how to fix the problem. The same isn’t true for a baby, and seemingly prolonged discomfort can make her feel upset. Colic, teething, and feeling too hot or too cold can trigger tears. If a baby is swaddled, but wants to move, loosen the blanket. According to the Mayo Clinic, a baby can also get upset if she feels lonely.

Frustration

The process of trying to reach developmental milestones such as crawling can make a baby feel frustrated and angry, according to the article “Steps toward Crawling” on the Zero to Three website. Wanting something that he can’t have can also upset a baby. For example, if your baby is in his car seat and can’t reach his bottle or a toy, he’ll let you know by crying.

Genetics and Neurobiological Fetal Development

Genetics and a baby’s fetal development can make a baby more likely to feel angry. In the "Scientific America" article, “Taming Baby Rage: Why Are Some Kids so Angry?” by Nikhil Swaminathan, professor Richard Tremblay of the University of Montreal said he believes a genetic signature predisposes a baby to feel more angry or act more aggressively than others. Tremblay also states that the neurobiological development of a fetus can be a good predictor of a baby’s temperament if the mother drinks, smokes, is stressed or has a poor diet while she’s pregnant. The professor’s studies show that a pregnant mother’s habits can negatively affect her unborn child’s genes, possibly making it harder for her baby to reach developmental milestones related to communication.