OOh no, Christmas is coming! Too much food and drink, Jingle Bells, presents under the tree. And lots of unsettled, howling babies. Most babies loath Christmas. Too many turkeys (like old dear Uncle Tom), parties, noise and excitement with mother’s attention sadly diverted towards feeding everyone and what to buy Auntie Susan.
New babies have emerged from a calm, dark womb where on a particularly interesting day they will see the umbilical cord floating past, to a foetus that’s a big day! At birth they are suddenly ejected into a busy world of lights, faces, and strange objects; of sounds and noise; of hunger, thirst and separation from the body they know intimately from the inside. Some babies cope well, some take time to adjust. But for all, it is a time for calmness, nurturing, feeding, sleep and contact with that loving body, now from the outside.
After a week or two of stunned silence, babies usually start to wake up and get increasingly needy. If they become particularly noisy and unsettled at this time they are often accused of having ‘wind’ or the dreaded ‘colic’.
If you conducted a large study where you gave thousands of parents diaries to keep, in which to record how much and when their babies fussed, cried and were unsettled, you would end up with a chart like this, with hours of crying up the side and weeks of postnatal life along the bottom:
At about 2 weeks babies start getting