When Charlie was 5 weeks old, she started crying at the end of the day for no apparent reason. Intense crying. She would get all red and tense. She seemed inconsolable. This crying continued for several days and G and I began to worry. What was happening to our baby? In doing some research, I discovered that 10-30% of babies under 4 months of age experience periods of intense crying at the end of the day, called evening crying.
The information I was able to find helped me a lot in understanding and managing this crying and that is what I wanted to share with you through this article 😃
Evening crying: what is it?
Starting at 3-4 weeks of age, many babies experience long periods of crying at the end of the day. They are of such intensity that they worry young parents and tire them enormously (physically and emotionally).
This evening crying is often misinterpreted. It’s easy to think of it as a sign of hunger or pain, but no scientific study has confirmed either of these hypotheses.
These cries are in fact proof of the establishment of the baby’s biological clock, which will allow him over the weeks to distinguish between day and night.
The evening crying is in fact a normal phase of hyperactivity, where the baby is racing through his awakening phase and no longer knows how to stop it.
To break and stop these intensive crying cycles, babies need closeness and comfort. They also need to be in a calm and positive environment.
Here are my solutions to put this in place and soothe baby’s evening cries.
1: Isolate yourself and baby in a dark, quiet room
When a baby is in a period of evening crying, it is important not to stimulate him more. On the contrary, you must put in place means that will allow him to calm his awakening.
To do this, the first solution is to isolate yourself with your baby in a dark, calm and silent room. Get away from stimuli such as television, music, bright lights or other family members.
2: Use sounds to calm evening cries
Sounds help baby calm down and break the crying cycle. So, don’t hesitate to talk to him gently, calmly and quietly.
Whisper to him that “everything is fine”, that he is “safe”.
Make continuous, soothing sounds, such as the “ch, ch” or “OM” sound.
Imitate the sound of the sea and waves by forcing your breath.
And then, in case you lose your voice (yes, it can happen!) turn on the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner! They have been proven to be very effective in calming babies! (The neighbors will be happy… 🙈)
3: Practice skin to skin
To get out of the evening crying, a baby should not be handled or tossed around too much. Laying him skin-to-skin against his mom or dad’s belly (always in a dark, quiet room) is an excellent solution to soothe and calm him. This immobile position against his parent responds wonderfully to his need for closeness, which is particularly intense at these moments.
Skin-to-skin contact will provide babies with a great dose of comfort that will soothe their evening cries.
4: Practice babywearing
Babywearing is a second excellent way to promote parental closeness, a source of great comfort for baby. Babywearing allows the baby to rediscover in utero sensations that are reassuring and soothing for him. Knowing that when he is crying in the evening, a baby is generally tense and agitated, the installation in a sling can be a little delicate. But it is far from being impossible. Don’t hesitate to ask for help to install your baby.
To discover babywearing and its many benefits, I invite you to read this article and to listen to episode 8 of the podcast, dedicated to this subject.
5: Breathe at your own pace
Once we have settled baby in the heart-to-heart position against us, and the crying cycle is broken, we can secure baby’s soothing by breathing at his pace.
To do this, the author invites us to breathe in and out widely, voluntarily inflating our rib cage, and then to gradually accelerate our breathing to match that of the child. Once we breathe at the same rhythm, we slow down little by little our breathing: the baby’s will follow.
6 : Massage baby’s face
Two facial massages are particularly effective in calming and soothing baby (I speak from experience with Charlie!).
The first is to use your index finger, start in the middle of the forehead and work your way down to the tip of your baby’s nose.
For the second, use your index and middle fingers and slide them from right to left on your baby’s forehead.
In summary, to soothe evening crying, you should…
Remove all sources of stimulation by isolating yourself in a dark and quiet room.
Implement close parental care: skin-to-skin, babywearing, holding baby in your arms, facial massage.
Use sounds and breathing to soothe baby.
The hardest part of crying in the evening is staying positive when your nerves are on edge. A baby’s intense crying is very difficult for all parents who experience it for long periods of time. I invite you to read this article if you feel you are breaking down emotionally.
And then of course, trust yourself. The advice I give you here is universal and may not be appropriate for your baby. You have the resources and the ability to understand your child and find what will soothe him. Only you truly know what is best for your child.
If you need support in these moments, don’t hesitate to write me 🙏💛
Take care, see you soon!