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My baby cries as soon as night falls

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For a while now my baby is inconsolable at the same time every day, in the evening. Are they scared of the dark? Are they in pain? Is it a tantrum? A friend said that it may be "evening anxiety", what is it?

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

To begin with we don't really pay attention but little by little worry sets in… The most frustrating thing is the feeling of helplessness faced with a baby that seems completely inconsolable. Explanations and tips to help your little one through this period of transition.

Why so much grief?

Crying related to evening anxiety is easily recognizable and is nothing like crying when a baby is hungry or in pain. Baby appears to be full of anger and can cry from around ten minutes or so to an hour or more. These episodes always occur at the end of the day, generally just before nightfall.

You should not worry more than is necessary as such episodes are not usually serious. Crying in such a way does not mean your baby is having a tantrum. It indicates that they were used to a specific rythm in the womb and that early evening was the time at which they were the most awake and the most restless. Your baby is probably also finding it difficult to tell the difference between day and night, and crying is a way for your baby to get used to their new sleep-waking cycle.

Some paediatricians believe that such episodes enable babies to unload any anxiety and frustration accumulated during the day and to release tensions after a day full of new adventures and emotions. Crying is the only means of communication available to baby.

This phase is temporary and should cease rapidly.

Adopting the right attitude

There is no miracle solution suited to all babies! Each baby is different and it is up to you to find the best solution for your child. One thing is sure, your baby needs you so it is unadvisable to leave them to cry thinking that they will stop on their own when they have had enough. Your baby needs to express themselves in this way to be able to adapt, so don't try and stop them crying at all costs!

One solution is to take your baby in your arms while whispering to them gently. Some babies also like being walked around for a while, rocked in the baby sling, or being given a bath or massage. Do this then put your baby to bed after a few minutes. If your baby is still a little restless then this is only natural as babies often begin their night in a restless state. They will soon nod off to sleep…

It is tempting at first to leave baby to fall asleep in your arms. However, after the first few weeks you should put your baby to bed in their room while they are still awake. They will fall asleep on their own, comforted by sucking their thumb or cuddling their favourite toy…

Try to remain calm during this stage, otherwise your baby may sense your tension and this will only enhance their feeling of unease. Be patient too as some children take longer than others to adjust to the new routine, from a few weeks to several months!

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