By Vicki Thrasher Cronin
Licensed Parent Educator, Pre-K Teacher
A fussy baby is a condition that parents face any number of times each and every day! This frequency, however, does not reduce the stress produced each time a parent hears that cry that screams, “things are just not right with me, right now!” Babies fuss for any number of reasons. Just like you, babies get uncomfortable, too hot, chilly, itchy, over-stimulated and grumpy. And, like you, babies come with their own temperament and a predisposition for just how it is that they like what they like. Sometimes babies are fussy because of a medical condition like colic (see Colic in the topics list).
In the early months of life, babies are totally dependent on their adults to figure out what they need and when they need it! Babies have special ways, called cues, to let their parents know what they need. Learning to read the cues is a bit like a dance that develops between parents and babies. Over the weeks you will figure out which cries are “I’m hungry,” “I’m wet,” or “I need to be held.” Your baby’s sense of well-being and comfort will feed your “knowing” what it is that your baby needs. This is the dance of love between the newborn and parents that builds trust during the first year of life.
Babies fuss to let you know that they need you. They need you to interpret how they cry and coo, move and reach out, and satisfy their most basic needs. All the while each baby/parent twosome is learning the steps that make up a lifelong dance of intimacy: attachment.
Your baby learns from you. You will figure out just what it is that your baby needs.