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Crying

Number of hours your baby may cry in a day – one to three is usual, but some babies can cry for up to 12 hours.  

You may be lulled into false sense of security at the beginning of the week if your baby hardly cries but sleeps most of the time. This is nature’s way of giving you and your baby a chance to recover from the birth.

After a few days your baby will cry more and you’ll probably have no idea why. You won't yet know him well enough to distinguish his different cries but there's a good chance he's crying because he's hungry.

He's too young to cry from being over tired or because he's got a wet nappy. So whether you are breast or bottle feeding, offering him milk whenever he cries is your best chance of soothing him.

Non-stop crying

Some breastfed babies scream continually for hours on end any time from day two to day five because they can’t get enough milk.

Breastfeeding mothers produce colostrum for the first few days, a thick milk rich in antibodies and nutrients. The purpose of colostrum is to help protect your baby against infection. You only produce tiny amounts but this corresponds to your baby’s appetite as he won’t be especially hungry initially.

By about day three, colostrum is replaced by ‘real’ milk – which isn’t as thick, but there is far more of it so your baby feels full and satisfied after a feed.  

But nature frequently gets the timing wrong and your baby may be ready for the ‘real’ milk before your body has started producing it. The result is that you have a very placid baby while you are in hospital, but almost as soon as you get home he starts screaming non-stop.

This will go on until your milk starts flowing freely which can take up to day five.

Naturally it’s distressing not being able to satisfy a hungry baby but do let him suckle often as this speeds up your milk reflex because sucking makes prolactin, a hormone that triggers your milk supply. Sucking also calms babies, so will hopefully give you a little peace.

While you are waiting for your milk to come through, you may be tempted to give your baby some formula milk. The main advantage is that this will stop him crying from hunger. The big disadvantage is that if you don’t put your baby to your breast often enough, it could interfere with your milk production and delay your milk even more. But your baby won’t starve – your midwife can give reassurance when she weighs your baby.  

One compromise is to offer your baby a couple of ounces of formula when he seems especially distressed, then when he is calmer let him suck from the breast.