Crying is a part of normal human behaviour. Infants cry for a variety of reasons including the need for attention, hunger, discomfort, or pain. However, when the amount of crying is perceived to be excessive or without discernable cause, it can be the cause of much parental as well as physician anxiety. During the first 4 months of an infant’s life, excessive crying has been one of the problems most commonly reported by mothers. The prevalence of excessive crying in infants has been estimated to be between 1.5% and 40%. Among those 1 to 6 months of age, 1-month-old infants appear to have the highest prevalence. Crying in infants can have a strong impact on both the families and the medical system that supports them. Crying and irritability are among the most common reasons that families seek medical attention during a child’s first months of life and therefore it is a frequent presenting complaint for paediatricians and emergency physicians.
It is an important cause of maternal anxiety and stress, and is strongly associated with maternal depression. Infant crying has also contributed to the discontinuation of breast-feeding. Nevertheless organic diseases account for less than 5% of infants with excessive crying; however, the importance of distinguishing crying due to pathologic causes from non-pathological causes cannot be understated.
Moreover, not only is the relationship between a mother and infant often subjected to stress in such situations, the entire family dynamic including interactions between the infant and father and that between the two parents can be negatively affected. In the worst of cases, it has been implicated as one of the inciting factors in physical violence and even infant death.
If your child is an excessive cry-baby or if you know parents who have to cope with this behaviour please do not hesitate to contact me immediately. This situation is life threatening for the infant because of the high risk of being shaken roughly to keep quiet.
I will instantly intervene to help you.