What to do When Your Baby Cries and Won’t Sleep

baby cries and won't sleep

I’m feeling reflective today and wanted to share some thoughts on what we’ve been going through these past couple of months. First of all, I want to say that I am super thankful to have a beautiful healthy baby girl, and in writing this, I want to share with other parents that may be going through something similar. These past two months have been hard…REALLY hard. Our baby cries and won’t sleep during the day – our sweet girl is a handful.

The first 3 weeks of her life she was peaceful and slept pretty much anywhere. Around 4-5 weeks, it was like she woke up to the world and something changed. She has an extremely difficult time shutting things out when it’s time to rest. I’m not sure if it’s “colic” or something else, but she’s been crying all day long for close to 8 weeks. Her cries are loud and strong – her face turns red and her mouth is wide open, but sometimes she is crying so hard that no sound comes out.

She’s gone several hour stretches without sleeping, and would just cry and cry from over-tiredness. It became worse as the day went on. My husband had to take time off of work, because it was just too much to handle on my own, while also caring for our two year old. We’ve tried so many things to help our sweet baby girl sleep – we’ve reduced her awake time, perfected the “5 S’s”, bought almost every swing contraption to sleep in, carriers, etc.

She has always slept well at night from the time we brought her home from the hospital, waking up only 1-2 times, and for that I am extremely thankful. It’s been a time of solace and rest for all of us. But it’s also been confusing in trying to figure out what is wrong.

Around Thanksgiving a friend told us about a homeopathic remedy, Tummy Calm. We started giving it to her 3-4 times a day, and it seems to have helped her get the rest she needed. I truly believe that babies cry to communicate, and our sweet baby girl was trying to tell us that she was hurting.

We’ve tried a combination of natural remedies including tummy calm, gripe water (for her constant hiccups), calming tablets and colic tablets from Hyland’s.

Since using these things, Nyah has started to settle down, and we’ve seen her first smile, heard her first laugh, and she has started to enjoy playing with toys. It’s been beautiful to watch, and as her Mama I am finally able to relax a bit and enjoy just being with her and holding her.

We are all starting to see through the fog we’ve been in, and look forward to getting to know her even more over the coming weeks and months.

After writing this a couple of weeks ago, right before we were traveling for Christmas vacation, I tried cutting dairy out of my diet to see if it was causing Nyah pain and discomfort. Since then, she has been the happiest we’ve ever seen her – smiling, giggling, and so much easier to settle into sleep. Being a vegetarian (and from Wisconsin), I really didn’t want to stop eating dairy as it was such a huge part of my diet, but I am so glad that I gave it a try for the sake of our sweet girl and my sanity!

If you are breastfeeding, and your baby suffers from gas, is hard to settle, or has colic, it may be a reaction to something in your diet. I definitely recommend using the natural remedies I mentioned above, especially tummy calm, as you begin to eliminate some “sensitive foods” from your diet. Every baby is unique, and a majority do not have food sensitivities like our baby does. But, if you are suffering with an extremely fussy, crying baby who won’t sleep, you might want to consider eliminating Cow’s milk products from your diet – they are the most common problem foods and the only foods conclusively linked by research to fussiness/gassiness in babies.

If a breastfed baby is sensitive to a particular food, then he/she may be fussy after feedings, cry inconsolably for long periods, or sleep little and wake suddenly with obvious discomfort. This is exactly what Nyah would do – we would have to bounce her to sleep for 15-30 minutes for her to sleep for 7-15 minutes and suddenly wake up screaming. She also had signs of colic, and green stools (which I originally thought were due to an oversupply of breastmilk or her getting too much foremilk).

Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in mom’s diet are sensitive to specific cow’s milk antibodies, in the form of proteins (not lactose), which pass into the mother’s milk. Cow’s milk (either in the mother’s diet or engineered into formula) is a common source of food sensitivity in babies. Cow’s milk sensitivity or allergy can cause colic-like symptoms, eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose.

If you think that your baby may be sensitive to dairy products in your diet, remember that it can take 10 days to 3 weeks to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your system—allow a full 2-3 weeks of dairy elimination before evaluating the results. – Kellymom.com

It’s now been 2 full weeks since I eliminated dairy products from my diet, and we’ve noticed a huge difference. I feel like we have a totally different baby. Her stools are mustard yellow, she seems to breathe easier, smiles, coos, and giggles when we talk to her. I am falling more in love with her every day and I hope the same for you if you are struggling with a fussy baby.

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