Caring for a fussy baby can be challenging, especially when the crying goes on and on. Sometimes, no matter what you try, nothing seems to help.
But though you may feel frustrated at times, it's important to stay in control of your temper. And never, ever shake a baby.
Shaking can cause serious damage
Shaken-baby syndrome, a type of abusive head trauma, is a serious form of child abuse, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is caused by vigorously shaking a baby by the shoulders, arms or legs, usually out of frustration or anger.
Babies are especially vulnerable to the effects of shaking because:
The whiplash effect caused by shaking makes a baby's fragile brain bounce back and forth inside the skull. The consequences can be lifelong and life-threatening and may include:
Take a break
If your baby cries inconsolably and you feel your frustration mounting, the AAP and other expert sources suggest these coping tips:
If you know or suspect that your child was shaken, seek medical care immediately. Take your child to the doctor or emergency room without delay. Don't let personal feelings of embarrassment, guilt or fear stand in the way of your child's health or life, the AAP says.
Be prepared to give the doctor complete information. He or she will need the facts in order to treat your child properly.